Academics / B.A. Pop Music Design / Application

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The application period for starting in winter semester begins in January of that year. The deadline for submitting application materials is 30 April. This year, approx. 30 new students will be admitted to the Pop Music Design programme. The programme always begins in winter semester.

Those who wish to apply to participate in an entrance exam, usually in June of the same year, must submit the following application materials by 30 April:

  • Completed application for admission
  • Proof of general, subject-specific or technical qualification for university entrance, which entitles you to enrol at state universities of arts and music in Baden-Württemberg, or (for those without such qualification) an indication that you intend to take an additional exam in order to gain acceptance
  • USB stick containing three songs (for instrumentalists, one of which should be a solo; for producers, three self-produced songs). For the concentration in composition/songwriting and instrumentalists, at least one of the titles should be a live video (either solo or with a band, max. 200 MB). CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays and diskettes will not be accepted.
  • CV in tabular form

Additional information for international applicants
  • Proof of required level of German language, at least level C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. DSH exam level 2. This is not necessary for German citizens graduated from German schools, those who have been educated in Germany or those who have a university entrance qualification from a foreign institution with German as the language of instruction.
  • A valid visa/residence permit must be submitted at the latest by the start of the programme.
  • International applicants must attach a certificate to their university qualification stating that it is equivalent to the German Abitur (A-levels) or university degree. Stuttgart Academy of Art and Design (ABK Stuttgart) is currently in charge of examining university qualifications. Click here to apply to have your degree recognised.

    Hr. Rummel
    Studiensekretariat der Akademie der Bildenden Künste
    Am Weißenhof 1
    70191 Stuttgart

    Note: A degree obtained in Germany also serves as a certificate of equivalence for a foreign secondary school diploma.

  • Please note: For German citizens with foreign secondary school degrees, please contact: Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Abt. 7 Schule und Bildung, Anerkennungsstelle, Postfach 103642, 70031 Stuttgart, Tel.: 0711/9 04 40-700.

General information about applications and entrance exams can be found in our FAQs. Here is some specific information for each department:

Singing and Songwriting
Entrance Exam
Three songs, your own compositions if possible, must be presented. These can be performed with up to three accompanying musicians or a play-along. Then, improvisational elements will be tested in terms of lyrics and vocal flexibility and quality. A colloquium follows at the end
Three songs, your own compositions if possible, with music that suits you best. There are no stylistic limitations. We are the first audience that you have to win over with your guitar skills. You must also show that you are curious and open to other styles of music. You also have to be interested in exploring other genres.

Entrance Exam
The entrance exam consists of a live performance of max. 3 songs with a band of max. 3 accompanying musicians (not necessarily the same songs from your application CD) or with playback. Then there is an ad-hoc exam, in which we test your degree of sensitivity to different branches of the music world.

Expected technical prerequisites:
  • Rhythm guitar: Knowledge of simple chords (major, minor, Min7, Maj7, Dom7)
  • Solo guitar: Pentatonic (in several positions = different fingerings), scales (major in several layers = different fingerings)
  • Good sound in music (and behaviour), sensitivity, enjoyment of playing, good timing, flexibility and spontaneity
For the application, please send an audio CD and a video. The CD should contain three tracks: one should show audibly the bassline in a band performance, another should be a solo piece and the third is your choice. If you are singing lead or backup vocals, please also note that. The video should be a short live clip (approx. 2-3 minutes long), which can be recorded with a mobile phone camera and should not be edited. The quality of the recording will not be a deciding factor.
Entrance Exam
  • Special emphasis is on originality (unique style), timing, groove, sound and technical skills.
  • Examining of simple rudiments at the difficulty level of All American Drummer, Ch. Wilcoxon.
  • Playbacks can be recordings of your own band without drums or commercially available play-alongs.
Entrance Exam
The practical part of the exam consists of you performing three songs, if possible your own compositions. Optional accompaniment can be done by max. 3 musicians or playback.

Natural musicality is important: enjoyment, timing, style, melodic playing, use of sounds, versatility. Versatility can range from a solo piano performance to playing in a band or with playback, from solo to tasteful accompaniment and from traditional to unusual sounds. A stage piano Korg "SV1" and a Workstation Korg "Kronos" are available. You are welcome to bring your own equipment.

Then you will be invited to play along to spontaneous playbacks, accompanying simple harmonies or soloing. The audition ends with a conversation between the applicant and examining commission.

More information can be found in the preparation tips for keyboard applicants (in German).
Applicants must provide evidence of the ability to produce music for audio playback by presenting sound carriers, phonograms, if applicable, additional sheet material and through live performance. Self-produced tracks/songs/film music must be played and explained in terms of genesis and intention.

In this context, self-produced means that the applicant was the main person responsible for the result and has significantly influenced and planned the process to get there. You do not have to have carried out every single step, but you should have directed the process. Simply mixing a track or recording the drums is not considered an independent producer's performance. Versatility and wide range in terms of stylistics, production methods and tools as well as special skills are beneficial. Regular production of music over a longer period of time is a prerequisite.
Music Theory and Composition
Entrance Exam
The theoretical entrance exam consists of two sections: a music theory section and an essay.

For the essay, you can choose from three topics, generally from history of popular music, pop culture or music business.

The music theory section contains the following tasks:
  • Notating chords by chord symbols (four-notes)
  • Point dictation (recognising 10 pitches from one key/root pitch is given)
  • Single and two-voice melodic dictation
  • Recognising chords (three- and four-voice)
  • Recognising pop-typical chord connections
  • Notating a rhythmic example, e.g. a drum pattern/drum groove
  • Hearing a formal structure and naming the parts of the form (excerpts from a pop song)
  • Questions on terms in music theory, e.g. explain the term “cadence”


Student Office
Fon: +49 621 53397200  E-Mail: bewerbungbachelor@popakademie.de


Please send application materials to the following address:

Popakademie Baden-Württemberg
Bewerbung Popmusikdesign
Hafenstraße 33
68159 Mannheim

We hope you’ll understand that we are unable to return your application materials upon completion of the application process.