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Course overview

Technology has always had an impact on the sounds we make and how we hear them. 

All students will get a solid grounding in key repertoire and historical context. You'll also develop the skills and knowledge to compose, collaborate, share and showcase music.

You will get practical experience in:

  • studio and location recording
  • composing with digital audio workstations
  • music production
  • sound to picture
  • synthesis
  • sampling
  • sound design
  • collaboration
  • performance

Our facilities support your choices. We have purpose-built spaces to compose, rehearse, record, perform and experiment!

The opportunities to perform are almost endless - student ensembles, on-course collaboration, university-wide orchestra and choir, the city's dynamic music scene. Check out the full range of possibilities.

Video overview

Dr Hannah Robbins and recent graduate Amber give you an overview of what the course is like and answer questions from applicants. Watch now

Your department

Why choose this course?

  • Combine practical skills with a depth of academic understanding
  • Study with experienced musicians, producers and technicians
  • Get an insight into current professional working practices
  • Paid-for tuition with experienced professionals for performance modules
  • Work Placement module that is carefully designed to help you look beyond your degree
  • 9th in the UK for Music in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer BBB including music or music technology. Alternatives to A level music accepted.
Required subjects

B in music or music technology.

Grade 8 Performance and Grade 5 Theory ABRSM, LCM, Trinity or Rockschool may be accepted in place of A level music.

We also accept many alternative qualifications including DDD in the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music.

We are always happy to discuss different qualifications as suitable entrance requirements.

IB score 32 (5 in music at Higher Level)

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

You can also access this course through a Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

Depending on the modules you take you might be assessed through recital performances and composition portfolio.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one - 12 hours
  • Year two - 10 hours
  • Year three - 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.

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. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

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 tutors are happy to provide additional paid-for support.

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).

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre
  • Students studying abroad for a semester pay reduced fees (Home/EU students - £6,480, International - 75% of the relevant international fee)
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

Placements

We are one of very few UK music departments to offer a curricular, credit-bearing Work Placement module. Placement providers include professional orchestras and venues, promoters, record labels and recording studios.

You can also apply for paid part-time traineeships with Nottingham Lakeside Arts and the Denis Arnold Music Library.

We offer voluntary mentoring placements at local primary schools in conjunction with Nottingham Music Hub.

You have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Impact of the coronavirus on work placements, field trips and volunteering

We work with a range of organisations to provide work placements, field trips and volunteer opportunities. As you'll appreciate they are all disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

We expect opportunities to run as usual from the academic year 2021/22 but this cannot be guaranteed. We will do our best to arrange suitable activities as previous students always tell us how much they appreciate these opportunities.

Our Careers and Employment Service have arranged "virtual placements" with some employers and provide other advice on work experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

Modules

You will take up to 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (70 credits) – combine knowledge of theory, and performance with the aesthetics and application of technology
  • Optional modules (40-60 credits) – start exploring your special interests
  • Optional modules in other subjects (0-20 credits) – an opportunity to approach a music topic from another angle, learn a language or explore an unrelated passion

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

Elements of Music 1
This module will consolidate your knowledge of the fundamental building blocks of music across all periods and genres. Topics will include notation, mode, chord, time and texture. 
Elements of Music 2
This module continues the survey of fundamental building blocks of music undertaken in Elements of Music I. It introduces a variety of analytical theories and interpretative methods, applied to a broad range of genres and styles. The precise content may vary from year to year, depending upon available staff expertise, but typical topics include partimento, jazz harmony, and approaches to form. 
Aesthetics of Electronic and Computer Music
Investigates technological shifts in recording and performance and assesses impact on the perception of music. Explores how cultural changes and advances in technology have shaped existing genres and created new movements, and asks how society and laws have adapted to the democratisation of music creation and distribution which technology has enabled.

Topics include:

  • Examining recording technologies; e.g. digital and analogue workflows; their respective advantages and limitations
  • Sampling and tape loops, plunderphonics • programming, development of computer technology, MIDI
  • Rights and ownership and relation to creativity
  • Recording spaces; acoustics
  • Performance technology, haptics
Applied Digital Musicianship

Seminars and practical workshops in which students explore a variety of performance technologies. An assessed performance will showcase the possibilities of technological adaptation of pre-existing repertoire.

This involves:

  • developing performance skills whilst working with a variety of music technology equipment to realise a coherent and engaging performance
  • working collaboratively
  • developing communicative skills in the joint creation of new projects.
Repertoire Studies 1: Music Before the 20th Century
This module offers an introduction to the principal genres, stylistic trends and cultural contexts of a wide range of European music from the Renaissance to the turn of the twentieth century. Topics covered will include: the impact of the Reformation and Counter-reformation; early opera and oratorio; key composers of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras; historical instruments and period performance; chamber music and art-song; choral music; programme music; symphonic forms. Some seminars in the first half of the module will give an introduction to academic writing. They will develop the skills required to research and write essays effectively.
Repertoire Studies 2: 20th-Century Music
This module offers an introduction to the principal genres, stylistic trends and cultural contexts of a wide range of music from the 'long' twentieth century (i.e. from the late nineteenth century to the present day). Topics covered may include: impressionism; modernism; neo-classicism; atonality and its consequences; nationalism; film music; jazz; cross-cultural influences; minimalism.

Optional modules

Global Music Studies

This module offers an introduction to the fields of ethnomusicology and popular music studies. Students will study a range of musical cultures beyond the traditional canon of Western art music. The module examines different meanings, practices, and theories of musics from a diverse range of cultures, surveying traditions from Asia, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific. It incorporates an introduction to ethnomusicological theory and method and an overview of key studies in Anglophone popular music.

Performance 1
Students receive instrumental or vocal lessons (including guidance on programming and performance-related issues).
The recital should usually include items on selected from the appropriate syllabus of professionally recognised diploma lists, including ABRSM, Trinity, and Rockschool. Instrumental recital: one item at DipABRSM level or equivalent. Vocal recital: two items at DipABRSM level or equivalent. 
Skills in Composition
 The module explores the relationship between musical raw materials and the realisation of their creative potential by examining a wide range of compositional techniques and musical styles. Topics include melody, scales and modes, and contrasting harmonic idioms.
Ensemble Performance
This module is based upon participation in and preparation for rehearsals and performances of the University Choir or the University Philharmonia. Through intensive preparation of demanding repertoire with a professional conductor, students will develop their understanding of the demands and pleasures of large ensemble performance and their knowledge of the repertoire concerned, and be encouraged to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of individual performers within the group. Conducting workshops will give them initiation and insight into the role (especially the practical tasks) of the conductor. They will also be required to attend a professional ensemble concert or concerts in the Djanogly Recital Hall, which they will review and on which they will prepare a report. 
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

You will take up to 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (20 credits) – focus on digital music theory and how the latest technology can help you compose, create and manipulate audio
  • Optional modules (60-80 credits) – build on existing interests or explore new ones. Gain professional experience with our Work Placement module.
  • Optional modules in other subjects (0-20 credits)

Many year two modules are also offered as year three options.

You must pass year two which counts one third towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

Digital Composition

This module develops core skills in professional digital composition, using Logic Pro software. Topics addressed may include:

  • Analysis/study of genres/examples of digital composition techniques
  • Completion of Industry specific composition briefs
  • Creation of sounds using synthesis
  • Recording and Sampling Techniques in EXS24
  • Audio and MIDI programming and editing
  • Scoring using Logic (and exporting to Sibelius)
  • Exploring professional mix techniques: e.g. dynamic processing, Time-based effects (reverb, modulation), Equalisation and Automation to attain width, height, space and depth
  • Understanding audio files and industry standard export formats
  • Mastering audio: Metering, loudness, monitor calibration

Optional modules

Approaches to Popular Music
The module aims to provide a ground in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music critically, with some theoretical and musicological background in musical, historical, and cultural issues. It will cover a variety of general approaches and perspectives, as well as exploring key issues in relation to featured songs, videos, and case studies. More broadly, it aims (i) to give students a sense of the richness and diversity of the theoretical approaches to popular music of the Anglophone world, while exploring common links and themes; (ii) to ask fundamental questions about the social location of popular musics and their role in forming and responding to social practices; and (iii) to explore, where appropriate, connections with other cultural traditions and artistic media.
Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image

This module will introduce students to approaches to composing music that responds to and interacts with work by non-musical artists. Students will compose choral works on poetic texts and scores for short films.

Conducting
This module provides an introduction to some fundamental techniques and practical skills of instrumental/orchestral and choral conducting. It addresses the various problems and challenges from a variety of angles, and will include practical work both in class and in front of an ensemble. Rehearsal techniques, score literacy, interpretation, and the practical psychology of conducting will be examined in plenary meetings (thorough preparation and independent work on all aspects of the module will be required). Technical issues (including stance, movement, beating patterns and other relevant gestures, as well as knowledge and preparation of scores) will be explored in workshops. Students will practise conducting specific pieces (with the rest of the group singing/playing), and will gain feedback both from group discussion and from the tutor.
Creative Orchestration
This module will introduce students to the art of writing for orchestral instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and keyboard with some coverage of writing for popular instruments.
Electroacoustic Composition
In this course, students will compose a portfolio of original electro-acoustic compositions for soloist and electronics that will be performed towards the conclusion of the module. The course will cover a range of contemporary music in the creation of a series of etudes in compositional areas that will encourage the development of current practice and an understanding of electroacoustic compositional ideas and related performance practice. It will establish a thorough technical base for future compositional output in a wide range of areas within fixed and live electroacoustic music that includes aspects synthesis, sampling, and computer music. The final submission will be judged on both technical merit and creativity. The goal of the module is for each student to develop a body of work expressive of their individual creative voice.
Jazz: Origins and Styles
This module investigates the origins of jazz in ragtime and the blues, and the development of contrasting jazz styles from 1917 to the present day. Topics include: New Orleans and Chicago ensemble jazz; Harlem stride piano; swing bands; be-bop and hard bop; the ‘cool’ school; modal jazz; free jazz; symphonic jazz; jazz-rock fusion. and other jazz-related fusion styles; and jazz film scores.
Performance 2
This module offers opportunity for intensive development of performing skills. Students receive regular individual lessons with their assigned practical music teacher, with whom they agree a corpus of works to be studied. Performers may elect at the start of the module (and with the agreement of their teachers and the module convener) to be examined as duos, trios or quartets rather than as individual candidates.
Analysing Early Music

This module introduces students to the analysis of European music to circa 1700, from the Ancient Greeks to the beginnings of the Baroque.

With the help of the latest scholarly conversations our classes will consider the challenges and possibilities of assessing style, structure and meaning in pre-modern musical repertories.

In particular, we will be thinking about:

  • musical traditions built upon different systems of pitch, tonality and rhythm
  • repertories that are partially notated, improvised or inherently variable in their transmission
  • the relationship between repertories and the writings of contemporary theorists
  • whether or not analysis can disclose musical meanings (hermeneutics).

Although Western Europe is our focus, the issues encountered in this course also readily pertain to popular repertories, and to musical cultures worldwide.

The Social Life of Scores

This module looks at musical scores as material (or virtual) objects, from the earliest medieval songbooks to IMSLP and the PDF, via five centuries of music printing.

With attention to objects in the Nottingham library collections, as well as famous items online and in facsimile, we will be asking what do scores tell us about their makers, their owners and their users?

Classes will think about matters including literacy, musical interpretation and cultural memory, as well as intersections between music books and race, gender, power and social class.

Race and Music Theatre

This module interrogates the role of race in “music as drama”.

Using examples from:

  • opera (Aida and Madama Butterfly)
  • musical theatre (Kiss Me, Kate, Hamilton, The Lion King)
  • plays with music (Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia)

it explores critical race theory as it relates to representation, agency, and identity.

Music and Health

This module will address issues relevant for professional performing musicians including:

  • injury prevention and treatment
  • nutrition
  • exercise
  • integrative medicinal approaches.

We will explore research on topics such as:

  • healthy movement for musicians (including Tai Chi / Qi Gongand Yoga)
  • therapeutic approaches such as physiotherapy and Alexander Technique
  • the latest directions in working with performance anxiety and stage fright such as visualisation, mindfulness and “smart practice” methods as well as time and stress management.

Seminars will introduce readings on these topics supplemented by occasional guest lectures and practical activities, discussion and student presentations.

Music and Environmentalism - Research Seminar

How does music reflect our changing relationship with nature, and how can musicians and musicologists make meaningful contributions to debates on environmentalism and climate change?

We will explore ways of making and writing about music that can work towards positive environmental change. Students will be introduced to the latest developments in the field of ecomusicology, which examines the relationship between music, culture and nature.

We will analyse music and sound-based examples from a wide variety of genres and styles that include commentary on environmental topics and critically debate readings that sit at the intersection of musicology, environmental anthropology and ecocriticism.

Drawing on these analyses and readings, students will carry out independent research on a topic of their own choice. Potential areas of research include but are not limited to:

  • sound art
  • acoustic ecology
  • critical analysis of protest music
  • music in the age of the anthropocene
  • related areas of applied musicology.
The Art of 18th-Century Performance Improvisation - Research Seminar

In the eighteenth century all professional musicians had to undergo an apprenticeship of up to 10 years, either with a family member or within a church school or orphanage (conservatoire). The first three years of training involved singing and imparted essential skills in performance, improvisation, and composition. After that, apprentices would specialize in either singing, composing,or playing an instrument. If they chose to play, then they would repeat the entire three years of rudiments upon their instrument (unless they chose the keyboard, which involved a different system called partimento). They learned to create music on the spot. They did not need scores.

In this module, we will undertake the same real lessons of an eighteenth-century apprentice, both sung and played. Students should expect to participate in improvisations and sing or play in class. By the end students will be able to read 84 different staves fluently (7 clefs multiplied by 12 key signatures), improvise a stylish and correct melodic composition instantaneously, and perform scores in a novel yet historically authentic way.

The Hollywood Musical

This module surveys the development of the Hollywood musical from the invention of “talkies”to the present day.

Through a series of case study films ranging from The Jazz Singer (1927) to The Greatest Showman (2017), it considers the specific issues associated with staging a musical in screen.

Topics will include:

  • theatricality and “backstage narratives”
  • star casting
  • dance on screen
  • the role of animation in developing the form.
Aesthetics of Music

Discussions of music have a long-established history of engaging with philosophical issues, while music has often challenged and shaped philosophical thought. This module introduces the student to relationships between the two disciplines and examines some of the crucial issues at stake.

The first half of the module will explore the foundations of modern aesthetics in the writings of enlightenment and nineteenth-century philosophers, including Kant, Hegel,Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

The second half will explore key twentieth-century contributions from thinkers including Adorno, Barthes and Lydia Goehr.

The module offers a variety of conceptual tools that will enable the student to develop critical and philosophical skills relevant for the historical and theoretical study of music.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

You will take up to 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (40 credits) – develop specialised knowledge and skills in production and recording
  • Optional modules (60-80 credits) – choose from a wide range of modules including the opportunity to write a dissertation on a subject of your choice. 
  • Optional modules in other subjects (0-20 credits)

You must pass year three which counts two thirds towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

Studio Recording
Learners will explore applications of microphones and their placement within a variety of acoustic spaces in order to record performances of traditional instrumentation integrated into a digital production workflow. Mixing techniques will be practiced with reference to current standards and will result in file-types applicable to recent trends in musical consumption. Subject material disseminated in studio sub-groups of 6 to allow for specialisms (such as chamber music recording, jazz ensemble, rock or ethno-music groups etc.)
Music Production

Having defined production in terms of the creation, performance, recording, mix and delivery of music, the module investigates current production processes (within historical contexts); explores communication of artistic expression via musical direction and arrangements (linear and vertical) and factors affecting performance (such as acoustic environment); develops communication and time management skills in working with artists, and skills in effective digital file management. Topics include:

  • Production: definition and exploration. Musical examples and discussion will assess the impact of the role of Producer and its application within various genres and fields of practice
  • Arrangement (linear and vertical)
  • Sonic, stylistic and artistic considerations
  • Microphones: types, polar patterns, theory and practical application of techniques
  • Recording media and considerations of their respective workflows
  • Signal path (transferable skills)
  • Multi-track recording technique
  • Mixing: dynamics, EQ and FX; ITB and OTB
  • Mastering, files and formats: recording and delivery

Optional

The modules listed below are only available in year three. However, many year two modules are also offered as year three options.

Composition Portfolio
In this module, students will compose at least 15 minutes of original music and organise a performance of their work. The submitted compositions will be judged on technical merit and originality. The goal of the module is for each student to begin to build a body of work expressive of his or her individual creative voice.
Dissertation or Editorial/Analytical Project

You have the opportunity to pursue an extended individual project of 10,000 -- 12,000 words or equivalent, in the areas of musicology, analysis, or transcribing and editing.

Topics are proposed by the student, and agreed in advance with the Director of Teaching/ Module Convenor.

Performance 3 (Year-Long)
This module offers opportunity for intensive development of performing skills. Students receive regular individual lessons across the year with their assigned practical music teacher, with whom they agree a corpus of works to be studied. Students are required to perform one work (to be agreed in advance with the module convenor and instrument/voice tutor, and to differ from the repertoire chosen for the final recital) at a Performance Festival to be held mid-year, at which informal feedback will be offered. Students are also required to attend workshops and specific concerts throughout the year. The final recital (see assessment) should usually include items selected from the appropriate syllabus of professionally recognised diploma lists, including ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool. Instrumental recital: two items at LRSM level or equivalent. Vocal recital: three items at LRSM level or equivalent. Further details can be found in the module handbook.
Jazz: Origins and Styles
This module investigates the origins of jazz in ragtime and the blues, and the development of contrasting jazz styles from 1917 to the present day. Topics include: New Orleans and Chicago ensemble jazz; Harlem stride piano; swing bands; be-bop and hard bop; the ‘cool’ school; modal jazz; free jazz; symphonic jazz; jazz-rock fusion. and other jazz-related fusion styles; and jazz film scores.
Aesthetics of Music

Discussions of music have a long-established history of engaging with philosophical issues, while music has often challenged and shaped philosophical thought. This module introduces the student to relationships between the two disciplines and examines some of the crucial issues at stake.

The first half of the module will explore the foundations of modern aesthetics in the writings of enlightenment and nineteenth-century philosophers, including Kant, Hegel,Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

The second half will explore key twentieth-century contributions from thinkers including Adorno, Barthes and Lydia Goehr.

The module offers a variety of conceptual tools that will enable the student to develop critical and philosophical skills relevant for the historical and theoretical study of music.

Creative Orchestration
This module will introduce students to the art of writing for orchestral instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and keyboard with some coverage of writing for popular instruments.
The Art of 18th-Century Performance Improvisation - Research Seminar

In the eighteenth century all professional musicians had to undergo an apprenticeship of up to 10 years, either with a family member or within a church school or orphanage (conservatoire). The first three years of training involved singing and imparted essential skills in performance, improvisation, and composition. After that, apprentices would specialize in either singing, composing,or playing an instrument. If they chose to play, then they would repeat the entire three years of rudiments upon their instrument (unless they chose the keyboard, which involved a different system called partimento). They learned to create music on the spot. They did not need scores.

In this module, we will undertake the same real lessons of an eighteenth-century apprentice, both sung and played. Students should expect to participate in improvisations and sing or play in class. By the end students will be able to read 84 different staves fluently (7 clefs multiplied by 12 key signatures), improvise a stylish and correct melodic composition instantaneously, and perform scores in a novel yet historically authentic way.

Music and Environmentalism - Research Seminar

How does music reflect our changing relationship with nature, and how can musicians and musicologists make meaningful contributions to debates on environmentalism and climate change?

We will explore ways of making and writing about music that can work towards positive environmental change. Students will be introduced to the latest developments in the field of ecomusicology, which examines the relationship between music, culture and nature.

We will analyse music and sound-based examples from a wide variety of genres and styles that include commentary on environmental topics and critically debate readings that sit at the intersection of musicology, environmental anthropology and ecocriticism.

Drawing on these analyses and readings, students will carry out independent research on a topic of their own choice. Potential areas of research include but are not limited to:

  • sound art
  • acoustic ecology
  • critical analysis of protest music
  • music in the age of the anthropocene
  • related areas of applied musicology.
The Hollywood Musical

This module surveys the development of the Hollywood musical from the invention of “talkies”to the present day.

Through a series of case study films ranging from The Jazz Singer (1927) to The Greatest Showman (2017), it considers the specific issues associated with staging a musical in screen.

Topics will include:

  • theatricality and “backstage narratives”
  • star casting
  • dance on screen
  • the role of animation in developing the form.
Electroacoustic Composition
In this course, students will compose a portfolio of original electro-acoustic compositions for soloist and electronics that will be performed towards the conclusion of the module. The course will cover a range of contemporary music in the creation of a series of etudes in compositional areas that will encourage the development of current practice and an understanding of electroacoustic compositional ideas and related performance practice. It will establish a thorough technical base for future compositional output in a wide range of areas within fixed and live electroacoustic music that includes aspects synthesis, sampling, and computer music. The final submission will be judged on both technical merit and creativity. The goal of the module is for each student to develop a body of work expressive of their individual creative voice.
Music and Health

This module will address issues relevant for professional performing musicians including:

  • injury prevention and treatment
  • nutrition
  • exercise
  • integrative medicinal approaches.

We will explore research on topics such as:

  • healthy movement for musicians (including Tai Chi / Qi Gongand Yoga)
  • therapeutic approaches such as physiotherapy and Alexander Technique
  • the latest directions in working with performance anxiety and stage fright such as visualisation, mindfulness and “smart practice” methods as well as time and stress management.

Seminars will introduce readings on these topics supplemented by occasional guest lectures and practical activities, discussion and student presentations.

Approaches to Popular Music
The module aims to provide a ground in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music critically, with some theoretical and musicological background in musical, historical, and cultural issues. It will cover a variety of general approaches and perspectives, as well as exploring key issues in relation to featured songs, videos, and case studies. More broadly, it aims (i) to give students a sense of the richness and diversity of the theoretical approaches to popular music of the Anglophone world, while exploring common links and themes; (ii) to ask fundamental questions about the social location of popular musics and their role in forming and responding to social practices; and (iii) to explore, where appropriate, connections with other cultural traditions and artistic media.
Composing for Words, Theatre and Moving Image

This module will introduce students to approaches to composing music that responds to and interacts with work by non-musical artists. Students will compose choral works on poetic texts and scores for short films.

Race and Music Theatre

This module interrogates the role of race in “music as drama”.

Using examples from:

  • opera (Aida and Madama Butterfly)
  • musical theatre (Kiss Me, Kate, Hamilton, The Lion King)
  • plays with music (Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia)

it explores critical race theory as it relates to representation, agency, and identity.

Analysing Early Music

This module introduces students to the analysis of European music to circa 1700, from the Ancient Greeks to the beginnings of the Baroque.

With the help of the latest scholarly conversations our classes will consider the challenges and possibilities of assessing style, structure and meaning in pre-modern musical repertories.

In particular, we will be thinking about:

  • musical traditions built upon different systems of pitch, tonality and rhythm
  • repertories that are partially notated, improvised or inherently variable in their transmission
  • the relationship between repertories and the writings of contemporary theorists
  • whether or not analysis can disclose musical meanings (hermeneutics).

Although Western Europe is our focus, the issues encountered in this course also readily pertain to popular repertories, and to musical cultures worldwide.

The Social Life of Scores

This module looks at musical scores as material (or virtual) objects, from the earliest medieval songbooks to IMSLP and the PDF, via five centuries of music printing.

With attention to objects in the Nottingham library collections, as well as famous items online and in facsimile, we will be asking what do scores tell us about their makers, their owners and their users?

Classes will think about matters including literacy, musical interpretation and cultural memory, as well as intersections between music books and race, gender, power and social class.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£23,000*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid as part of your course beyond your standard tuition fees. Essential course materials are supplied and recommended reading is available from our libraries.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you may need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Scholarships and bursaries

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

Scholarships from local churches are available to some students who sing in choirs or play the organ.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

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

Find out more about opportunities for our Music students.

Average starting salary and career progression

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived 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).

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" As soon as I stepped through these doors I felt a huge sense of community here in the department. My lecturers have supported me all the way and have pushed me to try out modules I was interested in but slightly scared of. I’m happy to have Nottingham as a home and the Department of Music as a family! "
Amber Frost, BA Music and Music Technology

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.