Accessibility statement

Music in the Community - MUS00063H

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Mx Emily Crossland
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module offers an introduction to the field of community music, the role of the community musician and the ethos that underpins it, and the contexts and ways in which community musicking takes place. Current research and exemplars will be explored and related to the design, practice and evaluation of fieldwork in the community.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module in Community Music aims to provide a contextual and theoretical underpinning, alongside practical awareness and skills, to musicians who wish to:

  • Work in the community, in settings such as hospitals and hospices, youth centres, prisons, refugee camps, mental health settings, inclusive learning environments, homeless shelters, residential care homes, and numerous other societal contexts.

  • Use music as a tool for facilitating personal and/or social change, including developing confidence and self-esteem, improving physical and mental health, combatting loneliness and isolation, building connections between diverse communities, reducing anti-social behaviour, and much more.

These aims will be explored through lectures, discussion groups, analysis of case studies, practical tasks (including self-reflection, project planning and fundraising activities), experiential activities (for example, testing workshop ideas and, if possible, collaborating with external participant groups) and tutorials.

Module learning outcomes

Through this module students should:

  • Develop their understanding of the field of community music in an international context and its links to related disciplines, such as ethnomusicology, pedagogy, sociology, psychology and philosophy.

  • Increase their awareness of the ethos underpinning community music practice, including concepts of facilitation, inclusion, quality and theories of change.

  • Become able to identify the core skills and responsibilities of community music practitioners, and show an understanding of how these can be developed through reflective practice.

  • Develop awareness of the various contexts in which community musicians work and identify context-specific models of good practice.

  • Understand and apply common approaches to planning, delivery, research and evaluation of community music activity.

  • Apply and reflect on skills gained through the module through practical and research tasks.

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C6, C13


Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100 A
Strategic project proposal, example workshop plan and contextual commentary (4000 words total)
N/A 100 B
Reflective evaluation based on practical work (4000 words)
N/A 100 C

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Assessment – choose one of the following written submissions (all 100%):

Essay (4000 words): a detailed theoretical exploration of a topic relating to community music, its theories and its practice, drawing on current research and, where appropriate, case studies. Topic and title to be agreed in consultation with the project tutor.

Strategic project proposal, example workshop plan and contextual commentary (4000 words total): a proposal for a Community Music project, with clear explanation of its rationale, target audience, goals, methods and theoretical grounding (formatted according to guidance given by the project tutor during the project). The proposal should include an example plan for a workshop to be given as part of the project. It must be accompanied by a contextual commentary setting the project in its broader theoretical context, drawing on academic literature as appropriate. Note that you will not be expected to deliver the workshop as part of the project; it is a hypothetical workshop (though it may be useful for you as a plan for future practical work!)

Reflective evaluation based on practical work (4000 words): a detailed reflection on a Community Music activity that you have engaged with in the past year. The work will be marked according to the assessment descriptors for reflective documents: it should thus show understanding of theories of reflection and approaches to evaluation covered during the module, include sufficient detail, and draw on a good range of appropriate academic sources. It should be accompanied by a portfolio of evidence to document the practical work that you undertook: this portfolio is not directly marked but serves as supporting material for the reflection.


Task Length % of module mark Group
Essay (4000 words)
N/A 100 A
Strategic project proposal, example workshop plan and contextual commentary (4000 words total)
N/A 100 B
Reflective evaluation based on practical work (4000 words)
N/A 100 C

Module feedback

You will receive written feedback on your assessment in line with standard univeristy turnaround times.

Indicative reading

Bartleet, Brydie-Leigh, and Lee Higgins, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Community Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Benson, Jarlath. Working more creatively with groups, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Bolton, Gillie. Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development, 4th ed. London: SAGE, 2014.

Harrison, Klisala, Elizabeth Mackinley and Svanibor Pettan. Applied Ethnomusicology: Historical and Contemporary Approaches. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.

Higgins, Lee. Community Music In Theory and In Practice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Higgins, Lee, ed. International Journal of Community Music. (2007-present).

Matarrasso, Francois. A Restless Art: How participation won and why it matters. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2019.

Moser, Peter and George McKay. Community Music: a handbook. Dorset: Russell House Publishing, 2005.

Rogers, Bill, ed. How to Manage Children’s Challenging Behaviour, 2nd ed. London: SAGE, 2009.

Ross, Bernard and Clare Segal. The Influential Fundraiser. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Walser, Robert, ed. The Christopher Small Reader. Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2016.

Stevens, John. Search & Reflect. Rockschool, 2007.

Williams, Jane. Music and the Social Model. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013.

Further specialised reading will be suggested during the project.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.