The flexible modular structure of our taught MA programme allows you to focus on a chosen area of specialism but simultaneously facilitates exploration of a wide range of research areas relating to music. It will provide an excellent foundation for undertaking postgraduate research at doctoral level, but will also benefit the professional development of musicians intending to pursue careers in teaching, arts administration, broadcasting, and other domains.
Students on the taught MA programme join a vibrant international postgraduate community and study with scholars, composers, and performers who have achieved international recognition in their fields. The Music Department was ranked #1 in The Sunday Times University League Table 2016, and was in the top three music departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the Complete University Guide 2017.
The MA Music programme supports study of the following areas of specialism:
In addition, other options typically available have included:
You will choose modules from sections A, B, C, and D below:
A. Major project, weighted at 60 credits (a dissertation, a public recital, or a portfolio of compositions/orchestrations and arrangements – depending on your chosen area of specialism)
B. A 30-credit module linked to your chosen area of specialism
C. Two compulsory core 30-credit modules embedding research training and engaging with major intellectual issues attendant on all subject areas
D. An additional 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B, subject to approval of the Board of Studies in Music.
Example: MA with specialism in Musicology
A. A 12,000-word dissertation on a musicological topic weighted at 60 credits
B. 30-credit module ‘Contemporary Musicology’
C. Compulsory core 30-credit modules, ‘Core Research Seminars’ and ‘Research Methods and Resources’
D. 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B
the following specialism-specific modules will be offered every year:
Optional modules in previous years have included:
The programme is delivered through a mixture of seminars, practical sessions and one-to-one supervision. Seminars provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues, and to present your own original work, informed by the knowledge that you have gained through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practical sessions in areas such as studio or field recording techniques help to prepare you for your own independent work. All students must undertake an independent project (dissertation, composition portfolio, or performance), which is developed with the help of one-to-one expert supervision. Finally, optional modules can be drawn from the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of Music or of other departments –these free-choice modules may involve other forms of staff-student contact, depending on the subject area. The Department actively promotes interdisciplinary approaches to the study of music and you are encouraged to engage with other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.
The contact hours experienced by each individual student will vary considerably, given a high degree of flexibility in the programme. You will typically attend between 2 and 4 hours of seminars per week in term time, as well as additional practical sessions as appropriate. Individual supervision of dissertations, performance projects and composition portfolios amounts to an average of 6 hours spread over the second and third terms.
Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to attend research seminars, both student-led and those involving staff or guest academic speakers (typically 1-2 hrs each week). You must also undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and assessments, to broaden your subject knowledge and to prepare your dissertations or portfolios. You are encouraged, as an integral part of your studies, to take advantage of other opportunities including participating in performance opportunities (including staff-led ensembles) and attending research and composition seminars, some of which are organised in conjunction with University research institutes.
There is a busy programme of musical performance, both within and outside the Music department, which complements your academic programme by providing opportunities both to listen to and to perform a wide variety of music. The many musical ensembles to which you can contribute includes both independent societies (including orchestras, choirs, opera and musical theatre as well as a Javanese gamelan) and department-run ensembles such as the New Music Ensemble and Korean percussion group.
This course is for performers interested in live or recorded performance within classical or jazz styles. Throughout you’ll receive one-to-one instrumental or vocal tuition from our team of experienced tutors as part of a series of performance modules. The course culminates with a final project, where you’ll prepare a performance, normally a high-profile public recital. Alongside your solo work you’ll develop your research, collaborative, ensemble and publicity skills.
This course gives you, as a instrumental/vocal performer, the skills and opportunities to develop your individual and ensemble skills to a high level. You’ll undertake four modules over two trimesters and a double module in your third trimester.
You may explore areas of your own interest, which may relate to staff specialisms, such as opera (Garth Bardsley), early music and music of the Georgian period (Dr Matthew Spring), and romantic and early twentieth-century music (Dr Charles Wiffen), piano skills and improvisation (Thomas Whorley).
In Performance 1, you’ll develop your performance skills and technique, and extend your repertoire. Alongside this the Research Methodologies and Context module gives you a thorough grounding in research methodology. Your development as a performer is supported by regular one-to-one lessons with a specialist teacher.
The Performance 2 module develops performance skills and repertoire while furthering your understanding of performance history and practice. You’ll also explore strategies for marketing yourself. You’ll have a choice of modules at this stage and the opportunity to work with peers and across subject boundaries.
You’ll have a choice of modules at this stage: Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Practice, Intercultural Musicology and Opera Studies.
The third trimester involves a Major Project for which you'll prepare a programme for a substantial public performance. The content and structure of this project is to be negotiated with course tutors.
For more information on modules, please go to: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-music-performance/
Modules are normally taught through one-to-one lessons, seminars and practical workshops. These are supported by individual tutorials and online activity within the Virtual Learning Environment.
The Major Project involves student-directed work, with supporting tutorials and instrumental/vocal lessons. We encourage you to make full use of library and IT resources, and time will be scheduled in studios and workstations labs for independent study, as appropriate.
You’ll complete individual assignments for each module. Performance based modules (Performance 1, Opera Studies and Major Project) are assessed through performance on your instrument or voice, reflective commentaries on your process, or a lecture recital in the case of Performance 2. Intercultural Musicology and Research Methodologies and Context modules will be be assessed on written submissions.
For more information on assessment, please view the course handbook via the website: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-music-performance/
Previous graduate destinations include:
• Doctoral studies at Durham University
• Freelance repetiteur and keyboard/continuo specialist
• Choir Director and Piano/Vocal Tutor
• Marines Conductor
• Opera Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
• Freelance classical and early music singer
Our graduates work in a wide range of performance-related areas such as:
• Orchestral performance
• Choral direction
• Chamber music
• Session work
• Music promotion
• Record labels
• Broadcast media
• Instrumental teaching
• Group teaching
• Community music projects
• University lecturing