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MMus Performance

Course Description

This course is aimed at performers with a strong interest in live or recorded performance within jazz or classical styles, wishing to develop and extend their repertoire and experience. There is an emphasis on developing high-level solo performance skills alongside ensemble and collaborative activities. As with the other MMus pathways, there are modules which involve producing a collaborative project, developing research skills and academic writing, and a final project, which will normally culminate in a public performance.


In full-time mode, the course runs over three trimesters, September to September. The first trimester gives a thorough grounding in research methodology in the Context and Methodology module, while Performance 1 is designed to develop your performance skills and technique, and to extend your repertoire. Your development as a performer is supported by regular one-to-one lessons with a specialist teacher. The module is assessed through a recital on your instrument or voice and through reflective commentary on your process.

The second trimester further extends your development as a performer. The performance module develops performance skills and repertoire whilst also furthering your understanding of performance history and practice. Students also explore strategies for marketing themselves in this module. All students also take the Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Practice module, which gives you an opportunity to work with peers and across subject boundaries, as well as to take part in ensemble activities of different kinds.

The third trimester is research-based, with students undertaking an individual Major Project which allows them to explore a chosen area in depth. This project will usually culminate in a substantial public performance.

The course may also be taken part-time over two years. In this case, the first year comprises Performance 1, followed by Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Practice. The second year comprises Context and Methodology and Performance 2, and concludes with the Major Project over the summer. We welcome applications for part-time study, and anticipate grouping teaching on a single day each week to facilitate this.


Trimester 1

• Performance 1 - this module gives you an opportunity to develop your performance skills and technique, and to extend your repertoire. Your development is supported by regular one-to-one lessons with a specialist teacher. The module is assessed through a recital on your instrument or voice and through a reflective commentary on your process.

• Context and Methodology - this module is intended to fulfil the requirements of a research methodology module. However, since a large part of the this programme is practice-based, and the methodology for this aspect of students’ work will be covered by other modules in the programme, it is intended to combine a study of research methodology with a study of context in terms of the student’s own practice – specifically of a set of paradigms that characterise the field’s current, creative boundaries.

Trimester 2

• Performance 2 - this module is designed to extend your performing skills and repertoire as well as to explore performance practice and performance history. Through a weekly seminar, you will be introduced to a wide range of performance-related issues and techniques, which will extend and enhance your current practice. In the seminars you will analyse repertoire, recorded and live performances, there will be set reading and listening, group discussion and presentation of research and performance. Students also explore strategies for marketing themselves in this module.

• Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Practice - this module encourages students to collaborate with other students on the Experimental Music pathway, with students taking our other MMus courses, or indeed with creative individuals outside of the course. Delivery will centre around small-group seminars (focused on particular interest areas), and assessment will be based on a portfolio of creative work and a self-evaluation/collaborative process document.

Trimester 3

• Major Project - this double module represents the culmination of the MMus, and a chance for students to work in a research-oriented environment dependent largely on personal direction and working methods. Students will use the skills acquired in their undergraduate work and the first two trimesters to produce a substantial portfolio of practical creative work. The practical portfolio will be supported by a dissertation of 5-8000 words. It is envisaged that this dissertation will be used to contextualise the practical work in terms of existing ‘repertoire’ and current practice, and to discuss any issues raised through the creative process. The module will be largely student-led, with most of the work centred around individual practice. Students will receive tutorial support at the beginning and end of the module.


Modules are normally taught via one-to-one lessons, seminars and practical workshops, supported by individual tutorials and online activity within the university's Virtual Learning Environment. The Major Project is research-based and student-led, with supporting tutorials. Visiting speakers, masterclasses and other activities are arranged as appropriate.

Performers are encouraged to collaborate with each other and with other students within the School of Music and Performing Arts (whether in music or in other disciplines). Students are also required to participate in two ensembles of their choice within the Department of Music.

The Music Department currently runs a wide range of ensemble activity, all of which will be relevant to MMus Performance students. Such ensembles include those in the western classical tradition (such as orchestra and Georgian Band) and jazz (BB1 and BB2) as well as in other areas (such as Gamelan and experimental music). BSU Music Department has developed close links with high-profile promoters of live music (including Bath International Music Festival, Bath Philharmonia, Bath Mozart Fest, Pump Room Series, Iford Arts) and these links will enable some significant performance-related opportunities for MMus Performance students.


Assessment takes the form of individual assignments for each module. These generally consist of a portfolio of practical work with supporting written documentation. Context and Methodology and the Major Project also involve small-scale dissertations.

Visit the MMus Performance page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

We offer places on the basis of our assessment of the student’s quality, potential and commitment, and their ability to benefit from the course. Normally, but not invariably, a student will have a first degree. Applications are invited from candidates with a range of academic disciplines and from a variety of national backgrounds. Applicants should submit a DVD recording with their application, comprising two contrasting works. Applicants should also submit an example of written work, particularly where this relates to your own practice, focusing on technical and/or aesthetic concerns.

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