MA in Community Music‌

Course summary

York was the first university to introduce a Community Music module to its undergraduate course and is now the first to establish a programme at a postgraduate level. This MA is intended for students who wish to develop their skills and interests in a range of community settings and it draws upon many department specialisms including developments in education and disability arts, world music, theatre and technology.

Staff contact

If you have any further questions about the course, or would like to discuss your application, please contact the pathway leader:

About 'Community Music'

MA Community Music students running a Gamelan session with residents of a local care home.

The term ‘community music’ covers a wide range of activities.

It covers musicians working outside formal settings like the concert-hall in, for example, schools, prisons or hospitals; it covers the development of music in under-resourced areas and with disadvantaged people, and it covers the development of creative partnerships between people of different skills and cultures.

It is now a growing career option. Many orchestras and arts organisations are seeking to extend their audience base into the community. Many young musicians, in response to changing employment patterns, are developing multi-skilled ‘portfolio’ careers or are simply expressing a personal preference for more participatory forms of work.

Course structure

MA in Community Music students demonstrating home-made instruments

The MA is based on short course modules, a seminar series and a placement and related dissertation.

The short course modules are offered as a five-day block, two per term, starting on a Wednesday or Thursday and finishing the following week. This five-day structure has proved ideal for mature students and those wishing to fit the course around work commitments. All students are expected to have attended all six short course modules by the end of their course.

Weekly 1½ hour seminars on ‘Issues of Professional Development’ are held during the Autumn and Spring Terms. These seminars carry credits but no marks. Two of these per term will be included in the short course modules, to accommodate part time students. The seminar in week 7, Spring Term will take the form of a course review.

The placement comprises ten days contact with an outside agency by arrangement. The dissertation is 10,000-12,000 words (or an equivalent package including recordings and video). Together they form a research project.


Graduates from this programme have gone on to a wide variety of community music-based employment, including:

  • Lecturer in Community Arts at York St John University
  • Lecturer in Education at the University of Rethymnon, Crete
  • Community Outreach Officer at the University of Cambridge
  • Research Associate at the National Foundation for Education Research
  • Participation Producer at Southbank Centre, London
  • Education Manager at London Mozart Players
  • Education Officer at Opera North
  • Education Manager at the Royal Opera
  • Music Officer at Hong Kong Government (GovHK) Activities and Promotion Team
  • Director at Sound Out Cork
  • Music  Tutor at HM Young Offenders' Institution, Wetherby
  • Workshop Leader at Drake Research Project Belfast
  • Arts Development Officer at City of Durham Council

Application process

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system.

If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

Apply now

Duration: One-year full-time or part-time (usually two years, but can be extended to three years).

Qualifications: Normally a first or upper second class degree in music although related disciplines will be considered.

Registration and fees: Students may register full-time or part-time. Students taking the part-time route may take up to three years to complete the course requirements. Part-time fees are payable in instalments.