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This programme is designed for students who wish to specialise in performance while studying for an academic degree. Students have the unique opportunity to develop performance in specific Asian and African music traditions to professional standard. They acquire expert knowledge about performance and the geographical or stylistic region of their performance specialism.

The performance component of the programme, in which students choose an Asian or African performance tradition, includes practice-based research. Students study the music of a particular region alongside performance theory training. Through a range of optional modules they pursue additional interests as well. 

The programme is particularly suited to performing musicians who wish to deepen and broaden their theoretical perspectives and musical horizons. Many former students have found their performance careers enhanced, while others have gone on to engage with their performance from more critical, academic perspectives, including MPhil/PhD research.

Structure

Students are required to take a total of 120 credits modules in addition to Performance as Research (60 credits).30 credits modules being two-terms in duration, while 15 credits modules are taught in one term only. In addition to these formal elements, students may attend postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities. 

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.

  • The part-time MMus may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
  • Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

Teaching & Learning

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

Employment

A postgraduate degree in Music Performance from SOAS gives students improved competency in performance and a better understanding of global music which will enable them to continue in the field of research or engage in related work. Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, team work, passion and dedication. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Specific Graduate Destinations

  • Helen Evans is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit.
  • Jo Shaw (née Hoskin) was gamelan co-ordinator for the London Symphony Orchestra’s educational Discovery programme, but is moving on to set up her own Indonesian music and dance programme in southwest England.
  • Sarah Hall has worked as India regional director for two different charities.
  • Jon Kertzer directed the Smithsonian Global Sound Network and is now working on the business development of the Microsoft MSN Music Service.
  • Hélène Rammant is a Producer for BBC Radio 3, specialising in World Music.
  • Megan Jones is a Producer in the Music Department of BBC Cymru Wales.
  • Katie Vickers (née Hall) is a music Marketing Officer for the South Bank Centre, London.
  • Sally Pomme Clayton is a storyteller and lecturer on world oral traditions at Middlesex University.
  • Rachel Ireland first served as executive assistant at the Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation and is now Executive Officer, Operations for the London-based charity Youth Music.
  • Chua Siew Ling is a music officer in the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
  • Louise Taylor was an administrator for Folkworks at the Sage Gateshead music centre, and has now moved on to a related community post in Newcastle.
  • Elie Gussman is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit. London.
  • Nobuko Miyazaki is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit, London.
  • Many other MMus graduates continue on to do MPhil/PhD research. Others return, enhanced, to their previous careers. For example, Belinda Sykes is Professor of Medieval Song at Trinity College of Music and singer and director of the Arabic and European medieval song ensemble Joglaresa.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.


Visit the Performance - MMUs page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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