Frequently Asked Questions
Prospective students often ask us questions about studying at York and about the Music Department. Below are some common questions and answers, according to our admissions tutor Dr. Jonathan Eato.
What makes York special?
At York, you will be part of a vibrant musical community. Our courses are taught by active professionals - what you learn at York (even as an undergraduate) stems directly from current research. The course is flexible and challenging. It allows you to specialise and develop your own musical interests whilst retaining a solid, broad-based education. We value all forms of musical activity: performing, composing, analysis and musicology are all available for you to study.
Do I have to pay for instrumental lessons?
The Department contributes to your lessons on your first instrument by means of a teaching allowance. In your 1st & 2nd years you may claim up to a maximum of £525 per year. This will cover approximately 15 lessons from a Department teacher. York has a register of approved specialist teachers but it is possible for you to have tuition from other sources. You decide how your allowance is to be spent in terms of the times and number of lessons, allowing you to work at your own pace. It is also possible to switch your funding to your second instrument, particularly if you play two or more instruments to an equal standard.
In your 3rd year of the undergraduate course, if you choose to take the Recital option, your allowance from the Department will be £630 for that year.
If you are not intending performance to be part of your musical future (i.e. you are not offering a recital as part of your degree), you may claim a reduced allowance of £210 in your 3rd year.
Are there outlets for my compositions?
The department ensembles include a new music group. This is dedicated towards bringing all forms of new music to an audience. You can submit pieces to the new music group programme committee (this is run by students). We also encourage you to submit your work for national and international opportunities, and keep you up-to-date by means of a notice board of current events. The primary aim of our composition teaching is to help you develop your own individual 'voice'.
I'm not a composer; do I have to compose?
The structure of our degree is modular. No module is compulsory. You may prefer to perform, to study world music, or early music, or musicological or analytical study. You do have to show some balance in your choice of components, but by and large you decide what to do in consultation with your personal supervisor.
Can I work with technology?
The department possesses a small state-of-the-art electroacoustic studio. This is used mainly for creative work (training is provided in the form of a course module in Electroacoustic composition), and also for recording concerts. This course, like all courses at the York music department, is open to any student.
Will I be interviewed or auditioned?
Yes. We interview and audition throughout the year. On the day you visit York, there will be a chance to talk to current students and see the department in action.
What will my interview and audition consist of?
At the audition, you perform a piece of about five minutes on your first instrument. Afterwards, you will have an interview: we ask you questions about your musical interests. There are also some short aural tests and some sight reading on the piano. The audition and interview take about half an hour.
Any tips for filling out my UCAS form?
Be clear about your own achievements. Keep a sense of focus. We like to see what qualities set you apart from the next candidate. For example: have you accomplished something that is (in any way) musically innovative or unusual? Don't forget to tell us about orchestras or ensembles you belong to. If you have conducting or composing skills, then be sure to indicate that too. In general, try and make sure that your UCAS form is well presented and that your personal statement is well-written and clear (word process it if you can). Don't include any irrelevant information and check your form (for example, the qualifications sections) carefully before sending it off.
Which A levels are not eligible?
General Studies are ignored as entry requirements as part of your UCAS entry. You may not offer Practical Music or Music Technology as your main A-grade paper.
Do you accept mature students?
Very much so - the Music Department welcomes mature students, and in our experience, you make a huge contribution to the Department. Our course is not 'year group based', so you will quickly become part of a community of active musicians. The course is flexible regarding submissions and academic choices.
To apply for music at York, you should fill out a UCAS form. If you don't have the qualifications as indicated by UCAS, do make sure that your references and personal statement reflect your ability. Please note that it is not possible to undertake the undergraduate course on a part-time basis.
What standard of performance is required?
We request that all candidates have a good mark in grade 8 on their main instrument by the start of the course. For many candidates, this is a distinction. It is to your advantage to possess keyboard skills to the standard of approximately grade 5. If you have not taken the exam yet, don't worry.
Can I come and see the department?
The University organizes Open Days, where you can come and see the department. The admissions tutor will also be on hand to answer your admissions questions. Further information and online booking can be found at the University's Admissions Office