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MA in Music

Course Description

MA in Music

Our MA in Music develops your research and analytical skills while exploring the latest contemporary thinking and debates about performance and repertoire.

You will be introduced to the methods and materials used for music research, particularly in the context of using computers and the internet. You will encounter a number of musical topics, themes and repertories from different periods and styles, as you engage with western, non-western and popular music. It is accessible and relevant to those who have a vocational or leisure interest in music.

Compulsory modules

Part 1 (A873) (60 credits)

is the first part of the MA in Music, which is taught and assessed entirely online. It introduces a wide range of music research skills in the context of the ‘digital humanities’ (the use of computers and the internet for research and study). Several topics and themes are included in the programme that will help you think in new ways about written documents about music; musical criticism; musical performances; and ethnographical approaches to music. Music databases contained in the Open University’s online library (one of the largest in the world) are central to this module. This module has a wide cultural and thematic breadth: all students engage with a range of western, non-western and popular music.

Part 2 (A874) (120 credits)

explores three main areas of study of current interest to musicology (music and politics; music and identity; music notation and performance) prior to exploring a number of research projects. This will lead to your writing of a dissertation or digital humanities project.

Career relevance

If you wish to pursue a career in academia or research, this qualification will provide a route towards a higher level research degree (e.g. PhD), which is an essential prerequisite for such a career. A masters degree can help to enhance your career prospects as a teacher in secondary and higher education. If your aim is to enter professions associated with the media, culture or knowledge industries, or if you already have a career in one of these areas and are seeking a further qualification as a means of career development, then a masters degree, supplemented by relevant skills and experience, can be useful.

Visit the MA in Music page on the Open University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Nicholas Logie

2945.jpg I played the viola from the age of six and went to a specialist music school where I was very laid back about anything academic. I left with just four O-levels, as they were then, and not very good ones at that. I then spent my working life playing in orchestras. But around my thirties I started to think that maybe I should get some academic qualifications. I remembered The Open University starting in the late Sixties as my parents were very socially minded and keen advocates of it.

When I enrolled for a BA I took a wide variety of courses. It was a bit of a struggle but I did pass. Then ten years later I decided to apply to do the Masters in Music as it looked like an absolutely brilliant course.

However when I first applied I was rejected because my marks weren’t very good in my BA. So I appealed and sent some attachments with my CV and research proposals for the MA. Two weeks later I was accepted onto the course. I was then told that given my levels of professional and relevant experience, I was very welcome onto the MA course. They were right to accept me - I got a distinction! And then I decided to progress onto a PhD, also with the OU.

What I like most about The OU though, and what leads me to really recommend it, is the complete lack of discrimination. When I applied to do my PhD I didn’t just apply to the OU but also to the Royal College of Music. Both places accepted me. I chose The OU partly because of the amazing online library and academic journals which I could access from home. But the bigger reason was that I knew I would not be a fish out of water due to my age, whereas at the RCM I’d be among much younger people and, whilst that might not be a problem for them, I thought I’d feel uncomfortable at times and out of place. At the OU that’s simply not an issue. Which meant I could just concentrate on my studies and not worry about anything else.

To those worried about the costs, I would say it’s all about investing in your life.


Entry Requirements

You should normally hold an honours degree or its equivalent to be accepted for the MA in Music. Your degree need not be in music but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. Part 1 will bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in the subject, but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree and inadequate experience.

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