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Core Skills for Musical Study - MUS00192C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Mark Hutchinson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

This module develops the fundamental practical and theoretical abilities students will need to succeed as music students. It focuses on five areas: theory and notation; recording and editing audio; working with notation software; conducting and ensemble leadership; and improvisation.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module develops the fundamental practical and theoretical abilities students will need to make the most of the rest of the course. It is built around a fivefold set of core competencies: extracting musical information from a score; inputting and editing music using a DAW; working with digital notation software; conducting and ensemble leadership; and improvisation/playing by ear. At the beginning of the module, all students undertake a skills audit, where they discuss their existing experience and abilities in tutorial with a postgraduate mentor, noting their existing strengths and identifying areas for further development. The 10 teaching weeks are constructed as a series of lab-style practical workshops taught in split-cohort groups, supported by preparatory materials on the VLE where relevant: in each workshop you will follow specific tasks with support from staff or expert postgraduates, to build up a final portfolio of work which showcases their ability in each of the five core competencies.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Work with and extract useful information from musical scores;

  • Use digital audio workstation (DAW) software to input and edit audio;

  • Use technologies to support musical research in fields such as notation, research and reference management;

  • Recognise essential elements of practical musicianship and ensemble leadership;

  • Participate in group improvisation and identify strategies for developing your own skills in this area.


Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio of practical work
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

100% Portfolio of practical work: this will be based on tasks undertaken during the teaching sessions. Some tasks will be assessed live in the sessions, others will be taken away and reworked ahead of final submission. If you are absent for a session or cycle, you will submit work afterwards based on provided task materials and support; for practice-based sessions (especially conducting and/or improvisation), you may be given an equivalent independent task which can be completed without other group members.


Task Length % of module mark
Portfolio of practical work
N/A 100

Module feedback

Informal formative feedback will be given verbally within each topic cycle

You will receive notification of pass/fail inline with standard University turnaround times.

Indicative reading

Relevant materials will be provided to accompany each thematic strand.

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.