University undergraduate students studying in the Monica Partridge Building Digital Hub. Friday November 5th 2021.Khaqan Khan (red jumper); Megan Mahoney (blue top); Cole Pearce and Sara Bintey Kabir (yellow top).

Music BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Music surrounds us. It has a profound effect on us as individuals and shapes wider society. It's used for personal pleasure, intellectual stimulation, celebration, mourning, and political propaganda.At Nottingham you’ll explore both how music does this and how your creativity can produce music that people will remember.

 

Choose your own path

All of our students get a common introduction to the basic building blocks of music across styles, genres, cultures and traditions.

You'll then have the freedom to choose. If you want to specialise in musicology, performance, composition or technology you can. Alternatively, explore widely across our diverse mix of modules. Combine Early Music with Race and Musical Theatre or Conducting with Studio Recording. You can build your degree to suit your interests.

We encourage collaboration between students, joining up work across modules and getting involved in staff projects. Recent examples of student projects.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Elements of Music 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Elements of Music 2

Mandatory

Year 1

Ensemble Performance

Mandatory

Year 1

Repertoire Studies 1: Music Before the 20th Century

Mandatory

Year 1

Repertoire Studies 2: 20th-Century Music

Mandatory

Year 1

Global Music Studies

Optional

Year 1

Aesthetics of Electronic and Computer Music

Optional

Year 1

Performance 1

Optional

Year 1

Skills in Composition

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary Approaches to Music Education

Optional

Year 2

Sound Design and Synthesis

Optional

Year 2

Performance 2

Optional

Year 2

Jazz: Origins and Styles

Optional

Year 2

Aesthetics of Music

Optional

Year 2

Music and War

Optional

Year 2

The Hollywood Musical

Optional

Year 2

Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image

Optional

Year 2

The Social Life of Scores

Optional

Year 2

Conducting

Optional

Year 2

Employing the Arts

Optional

Year 2

Arts Work Placement Module

Optional

Year 2

Digital Composition

Optional

Year 3

Digital Composition

Optional

Year 3

Performance 3

Optional

Year 3

Recording Studio Practice

Optional

Year 3

Sound Design and Synthesis

Optional

Year 3

Music and Mixed Reality

Optional

Year 3

Music Production

Optional

Year 3

Contemporary Approaches to Music Education

Optional

Year 3

Jazz: Origins and Styles

Optional

Year 3

Aesthetics of Music

Optional

Year 3

Music and War

Optional

Year 3

The Hollywood Musical

Optional

Year 3

Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image

Optional

Year 3

The Social Life of Scores

Optional

Year 3

Analysing Early Music

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Monday 12 February 2024.

As you you'd expect from a music degree there's so much more than lectures and seminars.

Our workshops with professional musicians and composers give you industry insights, practical experience and networking opportunities. These workshops are usually professionally recorded and can be added to your portfolio.

Collaboration is encouraged. Groups of students often work together across modules - one composes, a second performs while a third produces a recording. This helps you to work on real projects and demonstrates strong team working skills to employers.

We record all of our lectures. This allows you to catch important points again, review your notes and catch up if life means you can't attend in person.

Teaching quality and support

We work hard to provide meaningful and stimulating teaching:

  • 100% of students agree that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey 2023)
  • all of our teaching staff have nationally recognised teaching qualifications

If you have worries abut your work we won't wait for them to become problems.

You'll have a personal tutor who will support your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

A combination of essays and exams are the norm for most modules. Weekly reading summaries, presentations and online quizzes and tests may also be used by individual lecturers.


Depending on the modules you take you will also be assessed through:

  • recital performances
  • composition portfolio
  • sound recordings
  • conducting performances

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Coursework essays
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one - at least 12 hours
  • Year two - at least 10 hours
  • Year three - at least 8 hours

Weekly tutorial support, ensemble rehearsals and the accredited Nottingham Advantage Award provide further optional learning activities, on top of these class contact hours.

Your lecturers can be available outside your scheduled contact time to discuss issues and develop your understanding. This can be in person and online.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive self-study. This will include course reading, seminar preparation and music practice. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A popular lecture may have up to 50 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Your lecturers will usually be from our academic staff many of whom are internationally recognised in their fields.

Performance tuition

All students taking solo performance modules will receive fully-paid tuition with one of our experienced instrument and vocal tutors. The allocations are generous:

  • Year one - 16 hours
  • Year two - 18 hours
  • Year three - 20 hours

Additionally, for each assessed recital performance, students will receive a bursary to support practice with an approved accompanist.

Many of our performance tutors are happy to provide additional paid-for support.

Our music graduates progress to a wide range of successful careers both within and outside the music industry.


Recent graduates have gone to work at:

  • the BBC
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Boosey and Hawkes
  • Harrison Parrott Artist Management
  • Oxford University Press Music
  • Blackheath Halls

 

Many have also gained employment in:

  • businesses such as KPMG, Deloitte UK, PwC, Deutsche Bank, Charles Russell LLP, Citigroup, Christie's
  • education and other public sector organisations including King’s College London, Arts Council England, Royal College of Music and schools across the country

Graduate profiles

See what some of our recent graduates say about the skills they gained and how the degree has helped their careers.


Specialist careers support

Our Careers and Employability Service has specialised information and support for music students.


Key fact

Only 14% of employers state that specific degree subjects are a selection criterion. (Institute of Student Employers recruitment survey 2019)

Average starting salary and career progression

78.8% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £23,974.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017 to 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Trent Building in sunshine  June 2nd 2020 by Lisa Gilligan-Lee

In your first year, where you’ve got a lot of your modules all together, it’s a really tight knit community. Then you meet so many more people in your second and third year as well, you have the opportunity to get to know everyone in the department. You also have the wider music community with all the societies. 

Kyle Campbell

Music BA

Course data