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Masters Degrees (Composition)

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Study areas currently offered. Composition; Electroacoustic Composition; Composing Film Music. The course (Special Track) allows students to specialise in any one of area of composition, including Electro-acoustic Composition, Sonic Art and Composing for Film. Read more
Study areas currently offered:

Composition; Electroacoustic Composition; Composing Film Music
The course (Special Track) allows students to specialise in any one of area of composition, including Electro-acoustic Composition, Sonic Art and Composing for Film.

All the training will be centred on the student’s main area, aided by a broader look at compositional techniques and approaches as a whole (through the core module in Composition).

The programme is divided into two parts: two semesters of taught study (Part 1, 120 credits) and a substantial independent piece of work in the main area, produced over the summer (Part 2, 60 credits).

Part 1 is centred on the Principal Subject module (WMM4045, 60 credits) in a chosen area of composition. Another aspect of the same area or a different approach to composition will be explored in the Independent Special Study (WMP4049, 20 credits).

WMP4052 Preparing for the Part 2 project (10 credits) acts as a bridge between Parts 1 and 2.

Additionally students will attend a core module in composition (WMP4042 Contexts and Concepts in Composition, 30 credits). During these modules students will became familiar with up-to-date research and creative techniques and methodologies in the selected disciplines.

Subject-specific teaching is provided through a combination of individual tuition and seminar session in small groups. Within each of the chosen subject areas, students can identify their own projects, for which they will receive expert supervision.

Course Structure
Part 1 (Diploma):

Focuses on studies in composition and/or electroacoustic composition and/or sonic art.

(Total of 120 credits)

Part 2 (MMus):

Consists of a portfolio comprising at least one substantial composition (with or without electroacoustics) or work of sonic art.

(Total of 60 credits)

Compulsory modules:

Principal Subject Module: either Composition, Electroacoustic Composition / Sonic Arts or Composing for Film (60 credits)
Compulsory Core Module: Concepts of Composition (30 credits)
Preparing for the Part Two Project (10 credits)
(Total 120 credits)

Optional modules:

Independent Special Study in either Composition, Composing for Film or Electroacoustic Composition / Sonic Arts (20 credits)

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The MMus in Composition fosters your ability to compose and notate music, and to develop your own personal musical language. . Read more

The MMus in Composition fosters your ability to compose and notate music, and to develop your own personal musical language. 

You explore a wide range of technical procedures for contemporary composition and engage intellectually and critically with related theories and concepts.

There are many practical opportunities to work with performers, including the Department of Music's ensemble-in-residence, and other artistic collaborators.

The composition pathway appeals to composers interested in a wide range of contemporary music including Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle, Carter, Xenakis, spectral music and improvised music.

There's a focus on fundamental issues concerning pitch, time and pulse, and covers topics such as orchestration, advanced instrumental techniques, large-scale structure.

Composers taking this pathway may elect to take options in studio-based composition, providing they have the requisite prior experience.

There are also opportunities to work with visiting professional musicians and meet visiting composers, which have included Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Finnissy, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey.

Modules & structure

Core modules

Option modules

Creative project

Skills 

You'll develop strategies and methodologies for creative practice, critical reflection and evaluation and skills in the contextualisation of creative work.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.



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Who is it for?. The programme provides ideal training for those wishing to enter the professional world of composition and/or proceed to a research degree. Read more

Who is it for?

The programme provides ideal training for those wishing to enter the professional world of composition and/or proceed to a research degree.

We welcome students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds.

Objectives

The MA Composition develops skills in the broad field of contemporary composition, encompassing notated and digital music, sound art, improvisation and interdisciplinary practices.

The course provides a critical context for exploring key topics and issues in contemporary composition as well as a platform for presenting your own work to an audience of peers.

Engagement with professional creative practice is at the core of the MA Composition. Students have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department. There are also opportunities to work with City’s professional ensembles-in-residence, Plus Minus and EXAUDI.

We have an outstanding reputation for dynamic, inspring and rigorous postgraduate eduation and offer exceptional support to our students

Our students come from all over the world and benefit from our location in the heart of London, one of the world’s greatest cultural hubs.

Academic facilities

Department facilities include advanced recording and composition studios, a professional performance space, computer laboratories, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms and world music instruments.

Our composition studios include three surround (8.1/ 5.1) studios, one of which is dedicated to film and live electronics work, and three stereo composition studios. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete.

The recording studio is equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard.

Teaching and learning

Teaching delivery is through a combination of lectures, group seminars, interactive sessions, practical workshops, one-to-one tutorials and a high level of individual learning. Students also have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department.

The Department of Music provides a stimulating environment with abundant opportunities for composers and sound artists and there are also plenty of opportunities for involvement in our many ensembles. The department’s concert series features contemporary classical music, world music, electronic music and multimedia work and an annual music festival in May and June provides opportunities for students to receive public performances of their work.

In addition to our many ensembles at City, MA students are also eligible to audition for the University of London Symphony Orchestra.

Assessment

We use a range of assessment methods, including projects, portfolio submissions and extended creative tasks and accompanying commentary.

Modules

On City's MA Composition, you will take three core modules (30 credits each) in which you will enhance your understanding of creative practice and engage critically with compositional techniques, theoretical concepts and current issues in contemporary composition. You will also submit a major 90-credit Composition Portfolio, which allows you to develop and display your creative compositional practice in a variety of ways.

Core modules

Term one

  • Compositional Materials and Technique (30 credits)
  • Contexts of Composition (30 credits)

Term two

  • Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Process (30 credits)

You will also take a 90-credit Composition Portfolio, which runs through terms two and three.

Career prospects

Our MA programmes have excellent employment statistics. Students have gone on to teach, compose and perform in a wide variety of settings, and are also employed in areas such as music publishing, broadcasting, music management, arts administration and further musical study at MPhil or PhD level.

100% of our graduates are in employment 6 months after graduation, and graduates are mostly working as Freelance composers.

Our alumni include award-winning composers such as film sound designer Chris Reading and Nico Casal, composer for the winner of the Best Short Film at the 2016 Oscars.



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This course provides an in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge compositional techniques, methodologies and associated aesthetics in creative work that intersects with technology and other artistic or scientific forms. Read more

This course provides an in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge compositional techniques, methodologies and associated aesthetics in creative work that intersects with technology and other artistic or scientific forms. It serves as excellent preparation for a career as a composer working with technology and audio-media, and it provides all the training necessary for embarking on and envisioning novel strands for a PhD in electroacoustic composition, including those informed by other scientific and arts form.

All teaching, research and compositional work is carried out in the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound Art with its state-of-the-art £2.5 million electroacoustic studios. Opportunities for the performance of new works are offered using the 55-loudspeaker sound diffusion system of MANTIS (Manchester Theatre in Sound) and through events such as the Locativeaudio Festival (locativeaudio.org) and Sines and Squares Festival for Analogue Electronics and Modular Synthesis (sines-squares.org). Acousmatic, mixed, live electronic and multimedia works are all possible, with composers able to incorporate the spatialisation of sound and interactive new game-audio media into the presentation of their work.

In addition to the final portfolio, all electroacoustic music and interactive media composition students take the compulsory course unit Composition Project and the further compulsory taught course unit,Fixed Media and Interactive Music . Optional course units normally include Aesthetics and Analysis of Organised Sound, Interactive Tools and Engines, Contemporary Music Studies, Advanced Orchestration, and Historical or Contemporary Performance. There are also choices outside the MusM Composition (subject to course director approval), such as Computer Vision, Mobile Systems, Mobile Communications, Ethno/Musicology in Action: Fieldwork and Ethnography , and Work Placement (Institute of Cultural Practices).

For more information visit the NOVARS website .

SALC Placement offers students the opportunity to spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider. Placements will be established in Semester 1 to take place early in semester 2; they will be supervised by a work-based mentor and overseen by an academic staff member. The placement may take the form of an investigation of a specific business idea, development strategy or management proposition to resolve a problem or particular issue, and will result in a placement report, proposal or essay.

Aims

This programme aims to:

  • Build on undergraduate studies, developing skills in electroacoustic composition to Master's level.
  • Increase knowledge and a systematic understanding of electroacoustic music.
  • Foster the particular creative talents of each individual student.
  • Provide all the training necessary for embarking on a PhD in electroacoustic composition.
  • Prepare students for a career as a composer and in the wider music industry where critical judgement and developed powers of communication are needed.

Special features

The NOVARS studio complex supports a broad range of activities in the fields of electroacoustic composition and new media. The studios incorporate the newest generation of Apple computers, Genelec, PMC and ATC monitoring (up to 37-channel studios) and state-of-the art licensed software (including Pro Tools HD, Max MSP, GRM Tools, Waves, Ircam's Audiosculpt and Reaper and, for Interactive Media work, Oculus Rift, Unreal Engine 4, Unity Pro and open-source Blender3D). Location and performance work is also supported by a new 64-channel diffusion system.

Postgraduate students at the NOVARS Research Centre play an active role in the planning, organisation and execution of performance events such as the Sines & Squares Festival and MANTIS Festival (over 20 editions since 2004), and projects such as LocativeAudio and our regular Matinée presentations. Relevant training, including rigging and de-rigging the MANTIS system, health and safety, sound diffusion workshops, organisation of Calls for Works when needed, etc., is an important part of the course.

There are a number of internal composition opportunities offered to MusM students, allowing them to compose for our world-leading ensembles in residence and association. For more information, see ourComposition at Manchester site .

Teaching and learning

The MusM degree consists of 180 credits in total, made up of four 30-credit taught course units and a 60-credit portfolio. Full-time students take two course units per semester; part-time students take two course units but across the two semesters. Most course units are delivered via regular seminars and/or tutorials, supported where appropriate by practical workshops. The portfolio is supported by one-to-one supervision and is submitted at the beginning of September. (Part-time students may submit in either September or December following their second year of study.) Members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultation during designated office hours.

Alongside their taught units, students have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the university.

Coursework and assessment

There are no formal examinations. Taught course units - all of which must be satisfactorily completed - are assessed by compositions or other coursework tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May). Assessments may involve the premiere of new compositions, oral presentations of repertoire, musical analysis or essay topics in the field. The portfolio is created over the entire duration of study and is submitted at the end of the academic year (after the summer vacation). Topics and focus are to be discussed with project supervisors and can include compositions involving fixed or interactive media, locative and game-audio technologies. All work is double-marked internally and moderated by the External Examiner.



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This course offers you the opportunity to specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology and is taught in the heart of London with access to major arts centres. Read more

This course offers you the opportunity to specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology and is taught in the heart of London with access to major arts centres. It covers a wide range of subjects: the Composition pathway enables you to work closely with your lecturers to study a variety of musical genres and styles and,if you choose Musicology, you will benefit from seminars with leaders in the field covering the evolution of different musical forms and their role in and expression of the cultures in which they developed.

You can specialise in either Composition or Musicology and Ethnomusicology by selecting from a wide range of modulesacross Arts and Humanities. 

Key benefits

  • Intensively taught programme covering a wide range of specialised topics.
  • Provides a foundation for further research focusing on current approaches and advanced techniques.
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology students choose from historical, sociocultural and theoretical modules taught by distinguished staff (including two fellows of the British Academy).
  • Composition students benefit from one-to-one lessons and participation in composition seminars and have the opportunity to hear their works performed by resident ensemble Lontano.
  • Option to take modules in other Arts and Humanities departments at King's, or at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
  • Located in the heart of London's music scene, with two major opera companies (Royal Opera Covent Garden and English National Opera) and two major arts centres (South Bank Centre—location of the Royal Festival Hall—and Barbican) within short walking distance.

Description

On this course you may specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology. Please note, we do not offer a Performance pathway. If you follow the Composition pathway, you will work closely with your teachers and study a variety of musical genres and styles. If you choose Musicology, you will benefit from seminars with leaders in the field covering the evolution of different musical forms and their role in and expression of the cultures in which they developed. We encourage you to choose modules that reflect your particular interests, and up to a third of your choices may be from other Arts & Humanities departments, meaning you can build a broad and truly individual study pathway.

Our specialist modules will teach you current approaches to academic writing on music as well as advanced techniques for research and composition. At the end of your course, you will submit a special study – either a dissertation or a substantial work of 8-15 minutes in duration (the composition must be notated in a conventional manner) – for which we will give you one-to-one supervision.

Our aim is to nurture leaders in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition. If you intend go on to research or composition at doctoral level, or if you want to build on your existing skills, this course will be ideal for you.

Course purpose

For students intending to go on to research or composition at doctoral level, or wishing to build upon their existing skills. To provide training beyond undergraduate level in current techniques of music research and composition. To nurture leaders in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition.

Course format and assessment

Course credits 

Modules worth 120 credits, plus a special study (dissertation or portfolio) worth 60 credits.

Teaching 

If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, we will give you six hours of teaching each week (if you are a part-time student, this is two to four in your first year, and one to two in your second) through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 24 hours (12 hours for part-time) of self-study.

If you are studying the Composition Pathway, we will give you four hours of teaching each week (one to two hours if you are a part-time student) through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 26 hours of self-study (13 hours for part-time).

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Assessment

We will assess you entirely through coursework. If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, you will write a 12,000-word dissertation or critical edition. If you are studying the Composition Pathway, you will compose a substational work lasting 8-15 minutes. 

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Develop your creativity and technical fluency with this specialised programme, which allows you to specialise in composition while maintaining an interest in different aspects of music. Read more

Develop your creativity and technical fluency with this specialised programme, which allows you to specialise in composition while maintaining an interest in different aspects of music.

Core modules will allow you to create your own portfolio of original compositions – which can include electro-acoustic work – underpinned by your study of the principles of composition and aesthetic theory. You’ll look at orchestration, arrangement and remix. Then you’ll choose from optional modules allowing you to explore different aspects of music – you could choose electronic and computer music, musicology, performance, editing and source studies, psychology of music or more to inform your own creative work.

Guided by expert researchers and experienced composers and performers, you’ll have access to a wide range of facilities to explore your own ideas. You could even have some of your work performed by our ensemble, LS2, or benefit from the many opportunities you’ll find in the city’s vibrant live music scene.

We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.

Course content

You’ll work on your own compositions throughout the year, developing a portfolio of original work supported and informed by a range of learning opportunities, from tutorials and lectures through to workshops with guest artists.

Throughout the year you’ll take a combination of core modules that allow you to develop your skills as a musician and composer. You’ll develop your academic skills, including research and presentation skills, as well as studying the principles of composition and different professional contexts.

You’ll develop an awareness of broader topics in the study of music to help inform your practice. Central to this is the core module in Semester Two that introduces you to aesthetic theory.

In addition, you’ll choose from the range of optional modules on offer across the School of Music depending on your individual interests and experience: options include performance, editing and archival studies, musicology, computer music, psychology of music and more.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

  • Professional Studies 30 credits
  • Composition Studies 30 credits
  • Portfolio of Original Composition 60 credits
  • Aesthetic Theory 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Individual Project 30 credits
  • Short Dissertation 30 credits
  • Instrumental or Vocal Recital 30 credits
  • Concerto/Song-Cycle/Extended Work 30 credits
  • Applied Performance Studies 30 credits
  • Editing and Archival Studies 30 credits
  • Issues in Critical Musicology 30 credits
  • Electronic & Computer Music Practice 30 credits
  • Electronic & Computer Music Contexts 30 credits
  • Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music 30 credits
  • Audience Engagement and Impact 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Experimental Composition MMus Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Experimental Composition MMus Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of our taught modules will use seminars and tutorials, as well as lectures and instrumental or vocal lessons, depending on the modules you choose. However, independent study is the backbone of this programme, allowing you to build your skills and express your own creativity.

Assessment

Obviously, you’ll submit original compositions as an important part of your assessment. You will also write commentaries on your own work — drawing on musical/theoretical contexts — and more theoretical modules are likely to make use of written tasks such as essays and reports. Optional modules may also involve assessment through recitals, transcriptions or critical editions, presentations or other forms of assessment.

Career opportunities

Composition tutors have connections with performers, ensembles, and festivals in all corners of the globe. These relationships can be useful for your professional development, giving you an insight into issues such as funding, publicity and other aspects of working life for professional freelance composers.

Many of our graduates choose to continue and refine their research by applying for PhD level study. Several of our existing PhD students also completed their Masters programmes here at Leeds.

We have other resources to support you as you develop your career plans too – the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where you can be supported by past students as you plan your next steps.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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The Master of Music in Theory is a 30 credit master’s degree preparing the student for a career in the field of music theory and for further graduate studies at the doctoral level. Read more
The Master of Music in Theory is a 30 credit master’s degree preparing the student for a career in the field of music theory and for further graduate studies at the doctoral level.

Learning Outcomes

Composition technique: students will compose music that is expressive, demonstrating the proper techniques in, and related to, the production of a professional-level composition.

Presentation of live compositions: students will present new works for live performers that are well-prepared, demonstrating a high level of individual preparation through engaging in proper rehearsal and performance techniques with collaborating performers.

Electro-acoustic composition technique: students will create new electro-acoustic works that demonstrate skill at executing works that rely on technology.

Score preparation: students will produce musical scores that are professionally notated, and should in all cases be clear, complete, free of errors, and should show attention to detail, including an informative program note for the audience.

Writing about music: students will write analytic papers that are clear and compelling, with proper use of terminology and conventions of musical writing; analysis will display critical listening and thinking skills, and demonstrate knowledge of diverse approaches to music theory and analysis.

Curriculum

Master of Music in Music Theory/Composition students are required to take:

• Composition
• Computer Music
• Form
• Orchestration
• Counterpoint
• Electives in Music History and Music Theory/Composition

Depending on their area of concentration, MM students prepare either a masters thesis (advanced research paper) or a large-scale composition under the supervision of their advisor. Recent MM thesis papers have studied the works of Stravinsky and Bernstein. Recent MM thesis compositions have been written and given their world premieres at WCU, scored for large percussion ensemble, orchestra, and concert band. Graduates from the MM in Theory/Composition program have gone on for more advanced study in composition and/or theory at the doctoral level. Most students from these programs aspire to become college-level instructors, while others have gone on to become freelance composers and arrangers.

All degree requirements must be completed within six years. A single one-year extension may be granted for cause.

Candidates must demonstrate sufficient pianistic ability, sight singing, and aural perception to meet demands of program.

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Why Surrey?. Our MMus programme is distinctive in its range of musicological, compositional and performance-based elements. Read more

Why Surrey?

Our MMus programme is distinctive in its range of musicological, compositional and performance-based elements.

You will benefit from the diversity of our research strengths, numerous ensemble performance opportunities and expertise in a range of musical fields, including contemporary music for the concert hall, popular music, film music, opera, acoustic, electronic and computer-generated music.

The Composition pathway of the MMus Music programme is designed to develop your individual compositional style and technique through tutorial guidance and opportunities for performances, workshops and recordings.

Various stylistic and generic strands can be pursued individually or in combination, including jazz, music for screen and multimedia, contemporary music for the concert hall and computer sound design.

You will take two compulsory research training modules followed by a combination of composition-related options. Having completed the Postgraduate Diploma stage of the programme, you will progress to Masters stage and submit a composition folio.

The programme provides ideal preparation for future research work at PhD level.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Short-course opportunities

The School welcomes applications from students who wish to undertake one module of study from the Masters programme.

Selection process

Potential applicants may make an appointment for an informal interview with the Programme Director if practicable. All applicants will be asked either to submit a sample of written work, a DVD of their performance, or samples of their compositional work, or to sit an audition depending on their chosen specialism.

Research

Our work achieves wide international circulation, both through established scholarly channels and, distinctively, through broadcast media (such as BBC TV, Channel 4, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and National Public Radio in the USA).

School staff are much in demand for pre-concert talks at venues such as London’s South Bank and Barbican centres. The research environment at Surrey is sustained by open discussion and debate, and through the regular airing of work-in-progress.

Our work is strengthened by the ready input of our peers and research students at various stages allowing collective engagement to foster innovation.

Educational aims of the programme

The MMus (Composition) programme aims to provide students with a high quality education in the creative, re-creative, technical, critical, vocational and academic areas of the subject. It aims to provide students with the necessary skills, techniques and methodologies to work at an advanced level with a critical awareness of the discipline.

The programme aims to reflect current developments within the theory and practice of music composition and, in so doing, to educate students so that they may work confidently and constructively within the musical culture of the present.

The programme aims to offer the necessary preparation for students wishing to undertake doctoral level study in practice-based areas.

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Research methods and resources and how these may be used to interpret knowledge
  • Interdisciplinarity within music and arts research
  • The broad range of approaches to the present day theory and practice of music to the level necessary for their original application

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • Frame research questions
  • Critically assess, respond to and operate in current areas of musical research and practice
  • Reflect critically on and contextualise personal practice

Professional practical skills

  • Produce stylistically original and technically professional compositions

Key / transferable skills

  • Communicate subject knowledge clearly
  • Self-direction and autonomy
  • Originality in problem solving
  • Work in and manage groups
  • Efficient time management

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.



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The MA Music Composition shares delivery of core curriculum regarding practice-led research methodology with parallel MA degrees in Applied Theatre, Theatre & Performance and Fine Arts. Read more

The MA Music Composition shares delivery of core curriculum regarding practice-led research methodology with parallel MA degrees in Applied Theatre, Theatre & Performance and Fine Arts. Whilst your focus will be on Music Composition, there will also be opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and collaborative practice.

The programme will provide you with the opportunity to develop your compositional practice and thinking, and provide you with a platform from which to disseminate your work.

Course structure

The curriculum, which also supports awards at Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels, is uniquely designed and focused on developing artists' abilities and capacities for professional and academic innovation. We emphasise relationships between composition, reflection, practice and dissemination. Teaching, learning and research on the programme will enable discovery of the variety of ways in which composition, creation and dissemination in music composition has evolved into its present media and forms.

This degree enables students who already have some experience of music composition to expand their artistic horizons, develop their reflective abilities and expand their portfolio as thinking practitioners.

Modules

Practice, Reflection, Dissemination

This strand, consisting of two 40-credit modules, is designed to enhance your abilities as a self-reflective practitioner. It recognises the deep interrelationship between composition, reflection and dissemination, in terms of the development of an artist's work and its function and operation within critical and public domains. You will be introduced to the variety of ways in which composition, creation, dissemination has evolved into its present media and forms. These modules will be primarily focused around your own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or theories.

Creativity & Knowledge

This strand, consisting of two 20 credit modules, is designed to deepen your understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

  • Creativity and Knowledge 1 invites you to interrogate a range of key themes relating to the relationship between art and the wider cultural, social, economic circumstances of its production and reception.
  • Creativity and Knowledge 2 consists of investigation into concepts of practice-based research in the arts and the examination of the epistemological and ideological implications of the widening of traditional concepts of research that such developments entail.

This strand of modules is taught cross-disciplinarily with students on the MA programmes within Creative Practice.

Masters Independent Project

Together these taught elements lead MA candidates into the final Independent Project module, where you will undertake an extended period of supervised practice-based research which is expected to draw together and implement the resources provided earlier in the programme.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.



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The course is available in Standard Track and in Special Track. Course Structure. Part 1 (Diploma). In addition to the Principal Subject, in which the student specialises; up to three additional subjects can be studied. Read more
The course is available in Standard Track and in Special Track

Course Structure
Part 1 (Diploma):

In addition to the Principal Subject, in which the student specialises; up to three additional subjects can be studied. Total of 120 credits.

Part 2 (MA):

Normally consists of a dissertation, composition portfolio, or critical edition (in the area of the Principal Subject). Total of 60 credits.

Course description
Standard Track:

The course combines specialisation in one area (including Historical Musicology, Editorial Musicology, Composition, Solo Performance) with further training in up to three complimentary areas.

The range of choice on this course makes it one of the most flexible MA programmes in the UK. Students can make their education as broad or narrow as they wish. For those with a single-minded interest in one area specialised degrees are available.

The programme is divided into two parts: two semesters of taught study (Part I, 120 credits) and a substantial independent piece of work in the main area, produced over the summer (Part II, 60 credits).

Part 1 is centred on the Principal Subject module (WMM4044, 40 credits) in the student’s main area of interest. It lays the foundations of a Part 2 project in the same area. The following subjects are available:

Historical Musicology
Editorial Musicology
Ethnomusicology
Celtic Traditional Music
Music in Wales
Music and the Christian Church
Composition
Electroacoustic Composition
Composing Film Music
Studying Film Music
Solo Performance
Sacred Music Studies
Early Music
20th-/21st-century Music
WMP4052 Preparing for the Part 2 project (10 credits) acts as a bridge between Parts 1 and 2.

An additional 40 credits will be gained through submissions in other fields through either one Major Open Submission (WXM4046, 40 credits) or two Minor Open Submissions (WMP4047 and WMP4048, 20 credits each). Students can select from a number of subject areas, including, but not restricted to, those listed above. Additional offerings include modules in Arts Administration, Music in the Community, Ethnomusicology and Analysis.

Depending on the main area of specialism, students will attend a core module in musicology (WMP4041 Current Musicology, 30 credits) or composition (WMP4042 Contexts and Concepts in Composition, 30 credits). During these modules students will became familiar with up-to-date research and creative techniques and methodologies in the selected disciplines.

Subject-specific teaching is provided through a combination of individual tuition and seminar session in small groups. Within each of the chosen subject areas, students can identify their own projects, for which they will receive expert supervision.

Special Track:

The MA in Music (Special Track) allows students to specialise in any one of the following areas: Historical Musicology, Editorial Musicology, Celtic Traditional Music, Music in Wales, Studying Film Music.

All the training will be centred on the student’s main area, aided by a broader look at the methodological foundation of the discipline as a whole (through the core module in musicology).

The programme is divided into two parts: two semesters of taught study (Part 1, 120 credits) and a substantial independent piece of work in the main area, produced over the summer (Part 2, 60 credits).

Part 1 is centred on the Principal Subject module (WMM4045, 60 credits) in the student’s area of specialism. Another aspect of the same area will be explored in the Independent Special Study (WMP4049, 20 credits).

WMP4052 Preparing for the Part 2 project (10 credits) acts as a bridge between Parts 1 and 2.

Depending on the main area of specialism, students will attend a core module in musicology (WMP4041 Current Musicology, 30 credits) or composition (WMP4042 Contexts and Concepts in Composition, 30 credits). During these modules students will became familiar with up-to-date research and creative techniques and methodologies in the selected disciplines.

Subject-specific teaching is provided through a combination of individual tuition and seminar session in small groups. Within each of the chosen subject areas, students can identify their own projects, for which they will receive expert supervision.

Compulsory modules:

Standard Track

Principal Subject, to be chosen from the published list for that Academic Year (40 Credits). Study areas currently offered are: Historical Musicology, Editorial Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Celtic Traditional Music, Music in Wales, Music and the Christian Church, Composition, Electroacoustic composition / Sonic arts, Composing Film Music, Studying Film Music, Solo Performance, Music in the Community, Sacred Music Studies, Early Music, 20th-/21st-century Music.
Compulsory Core Module: either Current Musicology (for musicologists) or Concepts of Composition (for composers) (depending on the Principal Subject) (30 Credits).
Open submissions: to be chosen from the optional modules (40 credits).
Preparing for the Part Two Project (10 credits).
(Total of 120 credits)

Special Track

Principal Subject, to be chosen from the published list for that Academic Year (60 Credits). Study areas currently offered: Historical Musicology; Editorial Musicology; Music in the Christian Church; Celtic Traditional Music; Music in Wales; Studying Film Music).
Compulsory Core Module: either Current Musicology (for musicologists) or Concepts of Composition (for composers) (depending on the Principal Subject) (30 Credits).
Independent Special Study (must be in the same area as the Principal Subject) (20 credits)
Preparing for the Part Two Project (10 credits)
(Total of 120 credits)

Optional modules:

Standard Track

Open Submissions (40 or 20 credits) may be chosen in any of the following study areas (but have to be different from the Principal Subject): Historical Musicology; Editorial Musicology; Ethnomusicology; Celtic Traditional Music; Music in Wales; Music and the Christian Church; Composition; Electroacoustic Composition / Sonic Arts; Composing Film Music; Studying Film Music; Solo Performance; Sacred Music Studies; Early Music; 20th-/21st-century Music; Analysis, Arts Administration, Music Studio Techniques, Popular Music Studies, Techniques and Practice of Instrumental or Vocal Teaching (20 credits only), Performance Practice (20 credits only), Music for Instruments and Electronics (20 credits only), Supporting Studies (20 credits only), ELCOS Language Skills (20 credits, international students only.ded study (e.g. portfolio of compositions, performance recital).

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This programme provides professional training in composition for screen media. Taught by staff and guest composers from the professional world, you will develop a strong technological foundation in the subject, along with specialist understanding of television and screen scoring. Read more
This programme provides professional training in composition for screen media. Taught by staff and guest composers from the professional world, you will develop a strong technological foundation in the subject, along with specialist understanding of television and screen scoring.

The MA is taught within our high-specification composition and recording studios, which have full-time technical support. Students are actively encouraged to build opportunities and networks, within and beyond the University, for projects in film, animation, documentary and more.

In the first semester, you will study Professional Techniques, an introduction to working and recording in studios, and Media Composition, focusing on TV and documentary work. You will also take one elective unit. In the second semester, the programme moves on to Critical Analysis of Media Music and Film Scoring, with an emphasis on longer-term projects for film and TV work. This work feeds into original collaborations that you may choose to include in your final portfolio.

The vibrant musical life of the Department of Music provides opportunities for student and professional performance, and we are located at the heart of one of the UK’s leading cities for broadcast, commercial and creative screen media.

Programme structure

Core units
-Media Composition
-Professional Techniques
-Critical Analysis of Media Music
-Film Scoring

Optional units
Optional units can vary each year. You will be able to choose two units from a wide spectrum that address further compositional skills - such as orchestration, sound design or pastiche composition - research skills for musicians, writing and directing for film and television, and how film and television programmes work.

Media composition portfolio/dissertation
-Either a substantial portfolio of original music for new collaborative films and/or extracts (music totalling 15-25 minutes).
-Or music to one new collaborative film of 10-12 minutes and a critical dissertation of 10,000 words on an agreed film or topic.

Careers

Students who completed the MA programme in Composition of Music for Film and Television have taken up careers as music composers, recording managers and compositing supervisors within animation studios.

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This course offers intensive training for composers and provides excellent preparation for doctoral work or a career in the professional world. Read more

This course offers intensive training for composers and provides excellent preparation for doctoral work or a career in the professional world. With a strong focus on practical music making and supported by an outstanding programme of workshops and performances by professional musicians, it offers an invaluable opportunity for composers to hone their skills and develop their personal voice.

What makes us distinctive?

  • Links to ensembles as an integral part of the course.
  • Interaction with the music profession, including the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.
  • Opportunities to develop professional skills, for example through collaborating, rehearsing and networking with professional musicians; learning to arrange/orchestrate; undertaking outreach opportunities; and collaborating in the creation of performances.
  • Flexibility to develop your own compositional and research interests.
  • Close ties with electroacoustic composers in NOVARS, and the flexibility to combine electroacoustic course units with those for instrumental and vocal composition.
  • Integration into the active research culture of the University of Manchester, through research seminars, performance workshops and concerts.

In addition to the submission of a final Portfolio of Compositions , all instrumental and vocal composition students take the core course unit Composition Project and the further compulsory taught course unit, Compositional Etudes. Optional course units normally include Contemporary Music Studies , Advanced Orchestration , Fixed Media and Interactive Music , Aesthetics and Analysis of Organised Sound , Historical or Contemporary Performance (subject to audition). For further information about the content of individual course units, see Course Unit Details below.

SALC Placement offers students the opportunity to spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider. Placements will be established in Semester 1 to take place early in semester 2; they will be supervised by a work-based mentor and overseen by an academic staff member. The placement may take the form of an investigation of a specific business idea, development strategy or management proposition to resolve a problem or particular issue, and will result in a placement report, proposal or essay.

Aims

This programme aims to:

  • Enable students to develop compositional techniques and professional skills appropriate to their creative needs.
  • Enable students to work with both student and professional performers toward the performance of recently composed prices.
  • Develop awareness of aesthetic, analytical and technical issues relating to contemporary Western art music.
  • Encourage students to discuss with clarity and conviction issues relating to contemporary music.
  • Enable students to compose several works worthy of public performance.
  • Equip students with skills appropriate to the development of further postgraduate study on MPhil and PhD programmes.

Special features

Our close links with in-house and Manchester-based ensembles allow us to guarantee that every student taking the MusM Composition programme will have their music performed and/or workshopped by professional ensembles, including the Quatuor Danel, Psappha, Trio Atem and the Manchester Camerata.

  • The Quatuor Danel enjoys a huge international reputation and their repertoire seemingly knows no limits. From early Haydn through Beethoven and Schubert, to neglected masterpieces from the Soviet Union, to white-knuckle rides through Ligeti, Xenakis and Lachenmann and premieres of new works by Manchester composers, our intrepid String Quartet-in-Residence regularly scales the summits of chamber music. Their visits to Manchester form a backbone of the university's concert series.
  • Psappha is one of this country's leading contemporary music ensembles, specialising in the performance of music by living composers and that of the 20th and 21st centuries . The ensemble has an extensive repertoire and a reputation for technical assurance and interpretive flair. Psappha has commissioned and premiered works by a wide range of composers, achieving particular notoriety for their performances of music by Peter Maxwell Davies.

In addition, MusM students frequently have their work performed by   the University of Manchester's new music ensemble.

Teaching and learning

The MusM degree consists of 180 credits in total, made up of four 30-credit taught course units and a 60-credit portfolio. Full-time students take two course units per semester; part-time students take one. Most course units are delivered via regular seminars and/or tutorials, supported where appropriate by practical workshops. The composition portfolio is supported by one-to-one supervision and is submitted at the beginning of September. (Part-time students may submit in either September or December following their second year of study.)

Each student meets regularly with their supervisor (for full-time students usually on a weekly basis during term-time, less frequently during vacations), allowing for in-depth exploration of ideas and intensive support for the various course units offered. Other members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultation during designated office hours.

Alongside their taught units, students have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the university.

Coursework and assessment

There are no formal examinations. Taught course units - all of which must be satisfactorily completed - are assessed by submission of compositions, coursework essays or other tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May). The Composition Portfolio is created over the entire duration of study and is submitted at the end of the academic year (after the summer vacation). All work is double-marked internally and moderated by the External Examiner.



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Studying Composition at Bath Spa University will develop your skills as a composer and deepen your understanding of current new music contexts, both artistically and professionally. Read more
Studying Composition at Bath Spa University will develop your skills as a composer and deepen your understanding of current new music contexts, both artistically and professionally.

Through weekly seminars and tutorials, supported by workshops with musicians, you’ll work on your creative and technical skills, commenting critically on your own and others’ work.

For information on interview guidance, please visit the course webpage: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-composition/

OVERVIEW

You’ll graduate as a skilled composer with a deep understanding of contemporary music context. You’ll develop creative and technical skills, throughout the course, alongside the ability to think critically about composition.

You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with other creative artists, such as choreographers, filmmakers, and theatre practitioners through joint projects and seminar discussion. These developments in your creative practice are supported by practical consideration of your professional and academic skills.

COURSE STRUCTURE

We aim to provide a foundation for your work as a composer. We’ll help you improve the way you promote your work and plan projects, as well as understand the academic disciplines to which it relates.

We’ll meet with you on a one-to-one basis through weekly tutorials to help develop your work. This support focuses on technical and aesthetic development, and we’ll work with you on specific questions arising from your current project and its wider context.

We’ll discuss broader issues with you and the other MMus composers through weekly seminar sessions. These can include case studies of particular composers or approaches, technical work in relation to specific compositional problems, or exploration of professional contexts.

For specific composition projects we organise rehearsals and workshops with visiting professional musicians and fellow students.


For information on modules, please view the course handbook via our website: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-composition/

TEACHING METHODS

Each module has a weekly seminar which is either specific to the MA Composition or, for core skills, shared with the other courses. You’ll also have a weekly tutorial during teaching weeks. Throughout the year we bring in visitors to talk about their work, and a professional ensemble join us to play one of your compositions.

ASSESSMENT

The majority of the assessment is based on your creative work, including compositions for specified visiting musicians and projects where you decide what to write.You’ll also produce work that assesses your professional and academic skills, including making a website, preparing a funding application, and research into an area of practice that links to your work.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

You’ll develop a broad range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills. We’ll help you develop a portfolio career built around your creative practice, drawing in other related areas of work such as:
• Teaching
• Editing
• Performing
• Work in other areas of the creative industries

On graduation from the programme, we aim for you to develop core problem-solving, analytical and critical skills to support you in the changeable and unpredictable work environment.

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The Master of Music in Composition and Creative Practice is designed to enable students to develop their compositional practice in a dynamic, rigorous and supportive creative environment. Read more

The Master of Music in Composition and Creative Practice is designed to enable students to develop their compositional practice in a dynamic, rigorous and supportive creative environment. It aims to provide training in a range of approaches, introducing tools and techniques relevant to today’s music making, and encouraging exploration, innovation and experimentation.

Why this programme

  • Students undertake a major portfolio of creative practice with an accompanying critical commentary, preparing them for compositional and musical careers.
  • Students have the opportunity of a placement with a musical or arts organisation, when available, and up-to-date research skills provision in digital arts.
  • We offer the opportunity to have your work performed by a professional ensemble, including an annual showcase of postgraduate work SoundThought.
  • Our facilities include a Concert Hall, three studios, an audio lab, and practice rooms. 
  • Provision of specialist tuition in creative industries and cultural policy at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research.
  • We have a range of modern and historical keyboard instruments including two Steinway Model D grand pianos, an 1840s Broadwood grand piano, a Classical forte-piano, and two harpsichords.
  • Other instruments owned by the School include a selection of percussion instruments, a consort of viols, Baroque strings, recorders, crumhorns and other wind instruments. 
  • The Concert Hall is equipped with a diffusion system for the performance of electroacoustic music. 
  • As a UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow has thriving music, performance and contemporary arts scenes. It is home to numerous orchestras and ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, making it an outstanding place for compostional study.

Programme structure

The programme is comprised of three core courses (Composition, Digital and Creative Skills, Individual Creative Practice, and Composition Portfolio) as well as a series of optional courses to allow you to tailor our own bespoke structure. Options will include:

  • Creating with technology
  • Historically Informed Performance Practice
  • Introduction to Popular Music
  • Sonic Arts Aesthetics and Criticism
  • Music, Sound and Screen

There will also be opportunities to engage with interdisciplinary study, with courses available from other subjects within the School:

  • Creative Industries and Cultural Policy (Centre for Cultural Policy Research)
  • Festivals (Film and Television Studies)
  • Making Time: performing and thinking temporalities in the creative arts (History of Art)

Core teaching will be delivered during semesters 1 and 2. Over the summer months you will complete the core Composition Portfolio, to be submitted at the end of August.

A variety of teaching methods will be used, including seminars, one-to-one tutorials, and project work. 

Career prospects

This programme prepares students for careers in composition as well as equipping students more generally with skills necessary for careers in cultural industries (eg. arts administration and management). Additionally, this programme provides the necessary foundation for pursuing further research in composition in the form of a PhD.  



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Music as a creative art form in the 21st century can combine both tradition and innovation, bringing together instruments (some new, some with centuries of history) and the latest in high technology. Read more

Music as a creative art form in the 21st century can combine both tradition and innovation, bringing together instruments (some new, some with centuries of history) and the latest in high technology.

As a composer today, all of these resources are available to you, and the Mixed Composition pathway aims to foster your skills as you navigate this exciting new world. By studying this pathway you can create works which combine electroacoustics and computer technology with more traditional instrumental and vocal composition, or explore each of those elements separately. Works for interactive systems, multimedia, and sound installations are also welcome.

Course details

You will study one core module:

  • Composition Tutorials

You will also choose three optional modules. This must include at least one of:

  • Advanced Studies in Electroacoustic Composition
  • Advanced Studies in Instrumental/Vocal Composition

Your remaining optional module(s) will be chosen from a range which typically includes:

  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Contemporary Music Studies
  • Laptop Ensemble
  • Music, Place and Identity
  • Sound in Society
  • Special Study in Music

Full descriptions are available below.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by a combination of practical and written assignments. You will also produce a composition portfolio of new musical works.

Learning and teaching

Your learning will be enhanced by our extensive facilities, including the Bramall Music Buildingand the Electroacoustic Music Studios and Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST).

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Music

Birmingham's Music postgraduates work in a wide range of careers within and beyond the music world. A postgraduate degree in Music develops a broad base of skills including general skills such as communication, problem solving and research, and also specific skills developed by practice and performance such as self-management, team work and presentation.

Over the past four years, 91% of Music postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Whilst some graduates pursue music-related careers, or go on to teaching and lecturing roles, others choose to use their transferable skills to follow career paths in fields including finance and the public sector.



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