Based at Tregye Campus or Truro Campus

Music is a flourishing area of study at Truro and Penwith College. There is a vibrant, colourful environment with students encouraged to be fluent in many areas of music, to mix, experiment and create to move music forward. Students are encouraged to work in their own bands in addition to the course playing.

You will become an accomplished musician with a rounded background, focusing on the study of Jazz performance techniques and styles through this course. The course features a study of music idioms from around the world and incorporates cultural musical elements performed through contemporary Jazz techniques.

The first two stages of the course stress musicianship in terms of aural transcription, harmony and arrangement and Jazz techniques both in composition and performance. There is an exploration of contemporary Jazz movements on a world stage.

In Stage One, modules are designed to provide any remedial preparation as may be necessary while preparing you for more specialised studies in Stage Two and Three. Credit values are divided equally between Improvisers, Aural Perception, World Jazz and Composition modules. Included in Composition Studies are harmony and arranging while the transcription of Jazz solos is treated as an element of Aural Training.

In Stage Two you begin an exploration of contemporary music on a world stage with harmonic understanding enhanced through the use of the keyboard.

In Stage Three you focus your studies on either Performance or Composition. Alternatively, you can prepare a dissertation which can take a historical or analytical approach to specific Jazz styles.


Three years full-time
Six years part-time

Entry Requirements

GCSE Level: Normally English and Maths at Grade C or above.
Together with one of the following:
GCE / VCE A Level: 160 tariff points including A Level Music or A Level Music Technology. Plus Grade 6 Associated Board or equivalent.
National Diploma: 160 tariff points in a relevant subject plus Grade 6 Associated Board or equivalent.
Other: Applications from mature students without these qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.
All applicants will be expected to take an audition and aural perception test.

Awarding Body

Plymouth University

Apply Notes

For full-time study apply online at
Click here to download the part-time application form

UCAS Institution: TRURO
UCAS Institution Code: T85
UCAS Course Code: W341
UCAS Course Title:BA/CWJazz


The modules reflect the emphasis on Music Skills and Jazz Technique enabling the student to take part in individual Stage Three work.

Stage One

  • Performance Practice
  • Improvisation Techniques
  • Contemporary Musicianship
  • Composition and Arrangement
  • Contextual Understanding and Listening 1
  • Jazz and Contemporary World Music in Context

Stage Two

  • Performance Styles
  • Improvisation Styles
  • Keyboard Harmony and Theory
  • Contemporary Composition
  • Contextual Understanding and Listening 2
  • Contemporary World Jazz and the Individual

Stage Three

  • Performance Project
  • Composition Project
  • Contextual Investigation plus elective credits on each of these modules

Stage Two and Three see a gradual stress on the fusion of Contemporary Jazz and World Music through Jazz techniques.

Methods of Study

A mixture of practical and theory work.


A mixture of practical and theory exams and assignment work.


This programme includes:

  • Visiting guest lecturers from all areas of the music spectrum
  • Tutors with practical experience of the music arena
  • Focus on performance in a wide variety of venues both national and international
  • Free one hour instrumental tuition in addition to course hours.
  • Every year the Truro and Penwith College Jazz Orchestra takes part in Europe’s largest Jazz Festival: Jazz à Vienne. Vienne is an ancient Roman town, south of Lyons, Southern France. For a fortnight between the end of June and the middle of July, Vienne’s 8000+ seater open amphitheatre plays host to the world’s top Jazz stars (Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsallis, the Brecker Brothers, Dianne Reeves, etc.) in addition to top names from the worlds of Brazilian, Gospel, Blues and Soul music.

What our students say

Kate Blackmore:  

I started the BA (Hons) Contemporary World Jazz Degree in September 2008 on Alto saxophone having previously played in some jazz settings and keen to further my passion. It became a quick realisation that I knew little to nothing about the world of jazz, and had a very long journey ahead of me. However, instead of feeling intimidated I felt supported and encouraged by the modesty and genuine efforts from all tutors. Throughout my first year, I was introduced to the world of jazz scales, modes, composition and performance and began to find my feet. However, it wasn’t until my second year where encouraged by the course leader, I switched to playing jazz flute which improved my grades dramatically. Throughout this time, all of the modules (performance, improvisation, composition and history) became incredibly relevant to my development; all tutors (including my one to one tutor) remaining outstanding sources of knowledge and support. The third year was a challenge but after electing performance and practicing religiously I achieved a 2.1 which I was ecstatic with. After graduating, I returned to Tregye to complete my Post Graduate Certificate in Education under the watchful eye of Vivian Rodd (Jazz Course Leader) once more. I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching and time with the jazz students which I felt furthered my confidence and development as a performer. Currently I am studying a MEd in Special Educational Needs, I hope to intertwine this with music and finally become involved with Music Therapy. I would recommend the Jazz Degree to anyone, not just for fantastic playing/performance and music experience but also for practical, realistic options for the future.


Harry Rowland:

Yorkshire born songwriter, guitarist and singer, Harry draws a lot of influences from Jazz, Folk, Blues and Classical. Harry studied jazz at Leeds College of Music and has performed with a wide range of acts from afro-beat projects, through to jazz combos, folk trios and various duos. Harry has worked on several albums, and released two solo projects, one on his own label, and the other on Red Moon Records. His recorded material has had airplay on BFBS radio, BBC Radio Leeds, Humberside, Celtic FM, amongst other smaller stations.

Harry has gigged regularly, as both a headlining act, but also in support for acts such as Toots and the Maytals, The Undertones and Joan Armatrading. In 2011, Harry moved down to Truro, to further his studies in Jazz, on the Plymouth University Contemporary World Jazz Course, hosted at Truro College. He now sings with the College Big Band, amongst various other projects which have stemmed from it.

“I wanted to go somewhere that would not only provide a substantial education, but also somewhere that I could enjoy life! Cornwall seemed like the perfect place to be! It’s been an inspiration living in such a remarkably beautiful part of the world, whilst being able to study on such a high quality course. At first I was a little worried that there may not have been as many opportunities to gig down here, but I soon realised that the Cornish and south westerly music scene, is as rich, and alive as anywhere else! “

“One thing for sure, is that the skills, and such diverse range of knowledge and information that I’ve been able to access through the Jazz degree, has already had a remarkable effect on my level of performance and musicianship.
Although the course is small, I have everything I could possibly want from it! Fantastic tutors, great facilities, and an atmosphere that beats anywhere else I have lived, or studied.”

‘Harry Rowland has one of those voices that you think shouldn’t be allowed in someone so young. Rarely will you see a performer with such power and emotion that he is able to captivate an audience and stun them into silence. Coupled with some of the finest and sensitive guitar playing around, he is certainly someone to watch and envy’.
                             – Tom Besford, The Sage, Gateshead

Extra Information

In Jazz studies, performance skills are combined with abilities in other areas of music, such as Improvisation, Composition and Music Theory. The Jazz Musician creates new melodic ideas instantly – in real time – utilising the harmonies of a given piece. This skill requires a theoretical knowledge that goes well beyond the written notation. Also, Aural Perception skills are directly applied to the transaction of jazz solos and arrangements. In short, Jazz Improvisors need to be able to play, compose, transcribe and arrange their own music.

As the world shrinks around us due to elements like satellite televisual programming and the internet etc, this course recognises that the kind of Jazz played throughout the world today is a result of hitherto untapped global and ethnic influences. Contemporary Jazz Improvisers – for example – now dip into Far Eastern harmonic structures to convey a new message. Also, the various ethnic rhythms of this modern world provide an excitingly fresh foundation for artistic expression. Combine these two elements and the result is pure musical stimulation.

The student completing the course will be a modern musician able to perform in a variety of styles. They will have had the fusion of existing styles, ethnic and contemporary world music. The solo performer will be a versatile and technically advanced musician with an individual voice.

Higher Education Department

Telephone: 01872 267122

Truro College
College Road

Key Information Set data is set up on a statistical basis and courses with less than 23 students are not represented by their own data. The average class size at Truro and Penwith College for Higher Education is around 15 students, thus the majority of the data on the KIS widgets for College does not reflect who we are or what we do.