About the course
Theis distance learning course combines annual residential weeks in Sheffield with longer periods of internet-supported study which means students can be anywhere in the world. Traditional and world musics and their associated cultures are studied through practical methods such as fieldwork and direct participation in music-making as well as library research and theoretical interpretation. Students gain both a deeper knowledge of the music and a set of skills for discovering and communicating new knowledge about music. The courses are intended for musicians, educators and enthusiasts who want to know more about traditional and world musics and about ways of studying and understanding music in its social and cultural context.
The course shares various modules with the World Music Studies MA, while allowing students to specialise in an area of their choice. Traditional Music of the British Isles takes advantage of Sheffield’s position as a major hub of both English and ‘Celtic’ musical activity to pursue in-depth studies on British and Irish traditional musics.
Music at Sheffield attracts world-leading academics and musicians working in a wide range of specialist fields. This is reflected in the diversity of the MA programmes we offer, both on campus and by distance learning. Our courses are taught by experts and backed by world-class research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) 84 per cent of our work was rated internationally excellent or world-leading.
We are influential in composition, ethnomusicology, musicology, performance, music technology, music management and psychology of music. Our MA programmes allow students to take advantage of the department’s distinctive interdisciplinary research environment and to be part of a strong postgraduate community by taking modules from other specialist areas. Our three research centres, Music, Mind, Machine; Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre, and Music and Wellbeing provide a hub for research collaborations in music psychology and audience research.
Performance is an important part of our work. You will have the chance to participate in orchestras, music theatre, contemporary music, folk and world traditions. We have strong links with the community, giving you the chance to volunteer with local arts organisations.
Our graduates are employed by universities, colleges, concert agencies and music promoters. Many work in education; others are performers in various genres, in the UK and abroad. Some work in recording studios.
Studios and equipment
We have a postgraduate research suite and several studios for advanced compositional work, software development, sound recording, laboratory and field experimentation, transcription, music notation and other research applications. You will have access to scores, books, periodicals, recordings and online resources.
Through a series of graduate study days you will be able to use the tools for digital recording, video and film. We also have excellent practice facilities and collections of historical and world music instruments.
Our team of professional musicians bring performance expertise to the department – including clarinettist Sarah Watts, pianist Inja Davidovic, jazz guitarist Ronan McCullagh and North Indian tabla and santoor performer John Ball.
University and faculty funding is available each year. The closing date for applications is mid-January. The department has a number of studentships available for our strongest candidates. The closing date for these is the end of April. You can also apply for a small grant to support your postgraduate research project.
This course is taught by qualified ethnomusicologists who have both scholarly and practical expertise in traditional and world musics: Fay Hield, Simon Keegan-Phipps and Andrew Killick.
Teaching and assessment
Lectures, seminars, world music performance workshops and email tutorials with supporting course texts and guidance notes. Assessments take a variety of forms such as reports and essays, fieldnotes and recordings, and a final dissertation or folio.
A 2:1 in music or a combined degree with a substantial music component. Other qualifications may be acceptable depending on your background, for instance a degree in drama, psychology or another subject, equivalent life experience or a performance diploma from a conservatoire or academy. English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.