Master of Music
- Programme length
- Full-time: 12 months, Part-time: 24 months
- Programme start date
- September 2013
A programme designed to prepare you for a variety of careers including performance, composition, teaching, arts administration and music journalism.
The purpose of the MMus degree is to train students to advanced levels in the academic, practical and technical areas of music.
The programme is distinctive in its range of musicological, vocational and practice-based elements. You will benefit from the diversity of the Department’s research strengths and its reputation for excellent teaching. You will take two compulsory research training modules which develop academic, writing and presentational skills, as well as providing an introduction to contemporary developments in musical practice and research.
You will then take a combination of compulsory pathway-related modules and options. Having completed the Postgraduate Diploma stage of the programme, you will progress to Masters stage and submit a folio of work in your chosen specialism.
The MMus can help prepare you for a variety of careers including performance, composition, teaching, arts administration and music journalism. The programme also provides ideal preparation for future research work at PhD level.
Normally a first or 2.1 honours degree, with music being a prominent part. Approved equivalent qualifications or experience will be considered, particularly in the case of overseas students and candidates with less conventional educational backgrounds.
English language requirements
IELTS minimum overall: 6.5
IELTS minimum by component:
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Fees and funding
All fees are subject to increase or review for subsequent academic years. Please note that not all visa routes permit part-time study and overseas students entering the UK on a Tier 4 visa will not be permitted to study on a part-time basis.
|Programme name||Study mode||Start date||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
|MMus Master of Music||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,400||£12,460|
|MMus Master of Music||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
|MMus Composition||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,400||£12,460|
|MMus Composition||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
|MMus Conducting||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
|MMus Creative Practice||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,400||£12,460|
|MMus Creative Practice||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
|MMus Musicology||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,400||£12,460|
|MMus Musicology||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
|MMus Performance||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,400||£12,460|
|MMus Performance||Part-time||Sept 2013||£3,200||£6,230|
Funded Postgraduate Opportunities
As part of the AHRC Block Grant Partnership Scheme between the Universities of Oxford Brookes, Hertfordshire and Surrey, we are pleased to invite applications to study at the University of Surrey for scholarships covering both fees and stipend. Awards are available in the following subject areas.
Professional Preparation Masters
One year fully funded studentships (full-time) in the following subject areas at University of Surrey: Music
Including pathways in
- Creative Practice
The deadline for applications is 19 April 2013
Applicants must have applied for a place on and hold an offer of admission to the MMus Programme. Normal AHRC eligibility criteria apply.
If you have any queries about this application process, please contact Charmian Hearne, Research Student Administrator, Oxford Brookes University, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MMus offers the following specialist pathways:
- Creative Practice
The Composition pathway is designed to develop your individual compositional style and technique through tutorial guidance and opportunities for performances, workshops and recordings in the Department. Various stylistic and generic strands can be taken up either individually or in combination, including concert music, popular music, jazz, music for screen and multimedia, and computer sound design.
The Performance pathway enables you to develop professional expertise on your instrument/voice, within the context of the range of departmental opportunities for performance. You will be tutored and assessed on one instrument (or voice) by visiting professionals of national and international standing in their fields who will guide you in consolidating and developing your technique, repertoire knowledge and interpretative insight.
The Conducting pathway is only available part-time and is designed to develop conducting techniques to a professional level and to enhance the understanding of relevant theoretical principles. You will attend conducting classes (score analysis and preparation, rehearsal techniques, gestural techniques, critical analysis of recordings, and so on) and contribute to rehearsals with the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, ensembles and Chamber Choir.
The Creative Practice pathway is designed for creative musicians who cannot easily separate performance and composition in their work, for example, musicians working in improvised musics, singer-songwriters, those interested in live electronics, and so on. Teaching and study progress from closely taught modules designed to secure and extend technique to more autonomous project-based learning opportunities. Your final portfolio will likely feature a combination of live performance and composition.
The Musicology pathway is structured in order to accommodate a flexible approach that reflects developing staff research interests, students’ own specialisations and the increasingly polyglot nature of the discipline. Art and popular musics are both catered for within the pathway, drawing on the expertise of staff across these areas. A dissertation of either 60 or 90 credits may be offered.
Your choice of pathway will be reflected in the title of your final award, for example Master of Music (Composition).
Research Training for Practitioners A and B
The first of these modules introduces methodology relevant to understanding and undertaking practice as research, ensuring, as part of this process, that students’ bibliographic and writing skills are developed and strengthened. Bringing together all students on practice-based pathways, a context is provided that allows for the exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas and experiences. By incorporating the diverse skills of the module cohort, the second module is based around a collaborative practical project, developed and performed as a means of developing critical insight into the nature of practice-based research methods.
Research Training A and B (Musicology pathway only)
The Research Training modules (one in each semester) seek to provide you with the skills necessary to undertake master’s level musicological work, so that by the end of the module you will be able to summarise accurately and analyse critically the strengths and weaknesses of musicological debates, identify appropriate methodologies for particular issues, identify what constitutes effective musicological writing and show an understanding of what constitutes musicological evidence.
Composition A and B and Composition Folio
The Composition modules build from exercise-based and small ensemble work through to autonomously produced portfolios. There are no stylistic or generic restrictions on the programme and staff expertise caters for a variety of approaches to the discipline, ranging from score-based instrumental music, through improvisation, popular and jazz compositions, to works involving electronics. The music you produce may be for the concert hall or a multimedia environment such as film and TV.
Performance A and B and Advanced Performance.
All students taking Performance modules receive individual tuition from one of our highly experienced team of tutors, all of whom are also professional performers. The intention of the modules is to help you develop your technical skills, musicianship and performance experience to the point where you can perform with assurance in any context and across a wide variety of styles.
Conducting A and B and Advanced Conducting
You will learn essential skills of score preparation and develop technical and gestural skills to enable you to work with confidence when rehearsing and performing with a range of ensembles. You may anticipate contributing to rehearsals of and performing with some of the University ensembles such as Choir, Orchestra or Chamber Choir, as well as contributing to the wide range of student-led ensembles. Conducting tuition is given by our Director of Conducting, Russell Keable.
Creative Practice A and B and Creative Practice Folio
The first of these modules introduces the theory and practice of free improvisation (both acoustic and digital) as a means of enhancing and developing creative practice. It explores key repertoire and history, theories concerning musical creativity and improvisation, and the practical application of group and solo improvisation. The second module is practice-led and facilitates work that hybridises across traditional divisions of practice and realisation. A portfolio of work is developed that may include any combination of creative practice including, for example, composition, performance, improvisation, musical arrangement, studio and live-electronic performance or mixed/multimedia production. Such work is further developed in the Creative Practice Folio.
Readings in Musicology A and B (Musicology pathway only)
While a key aim of master’s-level study is to enhance your understanding of music, such an aim is strengthened by developing your understanding of the understanding of music. That understanding is found in a variety of areas of music discourse. The purpose of these two modules is to help you orient yourself within this discourse, exploring your own understanding of music within this context and, in all likelihood, changing it. Most of the time will be spent reading, discussing and critiquing a range of (largely academic) contemporary writing on a range of musics – jazz, classical, popular, film music, and so on.
Case Studies A and B (Musicology pathway only)
These modules allow you to develop, prepare and present a case study in musicology in a small group (typically of two or three students). You will develop your skills in musicology (analytical, historical, critical, theoretical) and develop your intellectual awareness of how to select and apply musicological methods. You will present your findings orally as a group and submit an accompanying abstract and bibliography.
Dissertation (Musicology pathway only)
This module affords you the opportunity to build on the knowledge and skills acquired in Research Training, Readings in Musicology, and Case Studies in researching, planning and executing an extended piece of writing. The length of the dissertation varies according to the credit weighing (60 or 90 credits). You will be assigned a supervisor with research interests relevant to your chosen topic.
Composition A and B*
(Optional for students on Performance or Conducting pathways.)
Conducting A and B*
(Optional for students on Composition or Performance pathways.)
Orchestral Management 1 and 2
While UK orchestras lead the world, there is a lack of coherent orchestral management training and professional development in the UK. Music at Surrey has long-established relationships with several symphony orchestras, especially those based in London; in association with the Association of British Orchestras, we have developed two new, innovative modules in orchestral management. You will gain insight and understanding of the major factors and key issues governing orchestral management and development through a taught module with input from managers and practitioners associated with the UK’s leading orchestras, and by a module of situated study with an orchestra allowing you to observe, shadow, interview and engage in professional dialogue with orchestral managers, administrators and players. You will also be introduced to Action Learning facilitation and be part of an Action Learning set.
Performance A and B*
(Optional for students on Composition or Conducting pathways.)
Screen Music Studies
This module explores the latest issues in the history, aesthetics and techniques of scoring the moving image. Challenging established frameworks, it looks at diegetics, narrative, temporality, ‘visual music’, surrealism, the avant garde, pre-existent music, Hollywood and non-Hollywood practice, and genre studies, as well as giving an opportunity to score a film/TV excerpt.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop and refine skills in recording and manipulating acoustic sound using a ‘home studio’ set-up. The module facilitates a wide range of approaches including producing a seamlessly edited recording, assembling separately recorded tracks and the creative use of sampling, synthesis and other computer audio techniques. The possible applications of this module range from producing a demo CD/showreel of performances to studio-based instrumental compositions and entirely electro-acoustic works.
Level 3 Undergraduate Modules
Up to two modules may be chosen from the final-year undergraduate programmes in Music and Creative Music Technology, including African American Music, 19th Century Aesthetics, Pluralism in Western Music, Rock Track Poetics and Jazz Studies 2. The MMus Programme Director should be consulted for confirmation of the modules on offer in any given year.
*Enrolment on these modules is subject to a satisfactory audition or portfolio of work.
Surrey postgraduate music students have entered a wide variety of careers and further study:
- Doctoral research (Surrey, Oxford, Royal Holloway and elsewhere)
- Professional conducting and performance (Bath Philharmonic, Guildford Opera)
- University lecturing (Durham, Keele, Liverpool, Surrey)
- Teaching (Winchester College, Yeovil Sixth Form College)
- Arts administration
- Journalism (Classical Guitar magazine)
- Record production (Signum Classics)
Postgraduate music programmes at Surrey are designed in recognition of the changing profiles and needs of advanced musical practice and research, both inside and outside the academy. Our programmes have the flexibility necessary for you to fully develop your individual interests in the practical or academic study of music. Our aim is to train you to the highest level in the creative, re-creative, technical, critical, academic and vocational areas of the subject.
Potential applicants may make an appointment for an informal interview with the Programme Director if practicable. All applicants will be asked either to submit a sample of written work, a DVD of their performance, or samples of their compositional work, or to sit an audition depending on their chosen specialism.
The Department welcomes applications from students who wish to undertake one module of study from the master’s programme.
Music at Surrey
Music activities at Surrey are characterised by two qualities: integration and breadth. We have a bias towards the music of modernity; consequently, the majority of our taught modules and research addresses music since the mid-nineteenth century. However, your interests will be encouraged and developed, whether your interests lie in composing, performance, sound design or musicology. Each pathway permits flexibility in what you study and no musical activity you might want to engage in is regarded as of less intrinsic value than any other.
The Department boasts expertise in a range of musical fields, including concert music, popular music, film music, opera, acoustic, electronic and computer-generated music. This expertise is extended to musical techniques, historical study, analysis, aesthetics and cultural study. We also oversee a range of ensembles, including symphony and pops orchestras, jazz choirs and big bands, chamber ensembles and ad hoc groups, all of which enable your focus to be as narrow, or as wide, as you wish.
This breadth is reinforced by our approaches to research, and the questions we address. In short, music within the Department is vibrant, forward-looking and distinctive. And, as our performance activities are very much the public face of the University, we play a valued role in making music accessible to a wide range of people.
Music research at Surrey
Our work achieves wide international circulation, both through established scholarly channels and, distinctively, through broadcast media (such as BBC TV, Channel 4, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and National Public Radio in the USA). Departmental staff are much in demand for pre-concert talks at venues such as London’s South Bank and Barbican centres. The research environment at Surrey is sustained by open discussion and debate, and through the regular airing of work-in-progress. Our work is strengthened by the ready input of our peers and research students at various stages allowing collective engagement to foster innovation. Recent examples of work include:
- Establishment of the Processes in Music Making Research Group (PiMMReG) to conduct practice-led research exploring the nature and practice of collaborative processes in music-making. The Group has hosted a Palatine Study Day and forged links with the Belgium-based Orpheus Institute for Advanced Studies and Research in Music. A symposium held at Surrey in July 2012 explored the role of notation in facilitating composer/performer interaction, with participants including singer and scholar Richard Wistreich, composer David Gorton, pianist Philip Williams and saxophonist Tim Garland.
- Tom Armstrong’s recent work includes a ‘community cantata’, The Cathedral on the Marshes, funded by organisations including Arts Council England and the Performing Rights Society Foundation. His operatic scene Do the Right Thing was recently featured in the Royal Opera House’s ‘Exposure’ series. He is currently writing a piano piece for Nicola Meecham and developing a large-scale multimedia work with harpsichordist Jane Chapman and singer Melanie Pappenheim. Through his composition, Tom also conducts research into collaboration and the composer–performer relationship.
- Jeremy Barham researches in three areas: the music of early European modernism (monograph Mahler, Music, Culture: Discourses of Meaning for Indiana University Press, forthcoming); screen music (monograph Music, Time and the Moving Image for Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); and jazz (series editor of Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz).
- Steve Downes’ Music and Decadence in European Modernism: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe (CUP, 2010) is the first full-length musicological study of decadence, considering the music of Wagner, Strauss, Mahler, Bartok, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Szymanowski, Wolf, Berg and Schoenberg. He has also published a monograph study of Hans Werne Henze’s Tristan (Ashgate, 2011).
- Stephen Goss’ recent commissions include a guitar concerto for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, works for guitarists John Williams, Craig Ogden and Milos Karadaglic, violinist Nicola Benedetti, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and a piano concerto for Emmanuel Despax. Recent CD releases include titles for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Virgin Classics and Naxos. He will shortly be taking up a post as composer-in-residence for the Orpheus Sinfonia. In 2013–14 John Williams will be touring Steve’s Guitar Concerto in Australia, the UK and the US – including a Carnegie Hall performance in New York.
- Russell Keable performs with orchestras and choirs throughout the British Isles, including the London Mozart Players, Manchester Camerata, the Northern Ballet Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Viva and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a regular guest conductor for the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra. For almost three decades he has been associated with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, one of the UK’s finest non-professional orchestras, with whom he has led first performances of works by many British composers, including Maxwell Davies, Knussen, Woolrich, Holloway, Colin and David Matthews, Joby Talbot and John McCabe.
- Allan Moore has recently completed two AHRC-funded projects on spatialisation in popular song recordings, and a number of articles have been recently published. His study of the hermeneutics of popular song, Song Means, was published in 2012. He is series editor for Ashgate’s eight-volume Library of Essays on Popular Music, published in 2011–12, and is currently working on other projects: a re-examination of the history of progressive rock; a study of the history of English folk song; and the third edition of his Rock: The Primary Text.
- Matthew Sansom has recently started work on an AHRC-funded collaborative and practice-led research project, exploring the creative possibilities and philosophical implications of working in direct dialogue with the natural environment. His commissions have included major sculptural and sound-based installations for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2007, 2008) and Liverpool City Council (2011).
- Clive Williamson’s One-Minute Wonders performance project, which has already been contributed to by over 60 composers, continues to stimulate new work and performances in an expanding range of styles and media. Clive is in considerable demand as a soloist and works regularly throughout the world in chamber music with such ensembles as the London Sinfonietta, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and with the main London orchestras.
- Dr Tom Armstrong – Lecturer in Composition and MMus Programme Director
- Dr Jeremy Barham – Senior Lecturer in Musicology
- Professor Steve Downes – Subject Leader for Music and School Director of Research
- Professor Stephen Goss – Head of Composition
- Dr Tim Hughes – Lecturer in Popular Music
- Pauline Johnson – Senior Tutor in Music and Arts Administration
- Russell Keable – Tutor in Conducting
- Dr Chris Mark – Senior Lecturer in Musicology
- Dr Milton Mermikides – Lecturer in Music
- Professor Allan Moore – Professor of Popular Music
- Pete Morris – Senior Tutor in Creative Music Technology
- Dr Matthew Sansom – Lecturer in Composition
- Clive Williamson – Senior Tutor in Performance