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MA Music (Solo Voice Ensemble Singing pathway)

Work with industry experts to hone your skills in this refined genre.

Year of entry: 2021 (September)


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2021 (term dates)

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Until recently, postgraduate music education has barely explored the connection between the worlds of solo and choral singing. In this unique course led by Robert Hollingworth, a world-leader in the artform, you'll explore the subtleties of this sophisticated genre.

As well as receiving general vocal coaching, you'll work on the specific difficulties faced by singers in a genre that combines both choral precision and solo expression. You'll also be coached by singers from world-famous ensemble, I Fagiolini, and learn to challenge accepted norms about this kind of singing.

You'll explore how audiences receive this repertoire, much of which was not written with public concert performance in mind, and consider how this affects presentation and performance.

The greatest thing about the year was discovering just how high a performance standard it is possible to achieve with time, dedication, and diplomacy. Put simply, the course changed the way I approach making music.
Thomas, MA Music (Solo Voice Ensemble Singing pathway)

Industry expertise

Led by Robert Hollingworth, director of British vocal consort I Fagiolini, you'll receive tuition from industry experts and professionals at the top of their field.

​Outstanding facilities

You'll have access to practice rooms, recording studios and two professional concert halls, as well as opportunities to work with the latest vocal technology in the Department of Electronic Engineering.

Course content

Throughout the year, you'll work within your ensemble to support each other and develop your skills within a consort environment.

All pathways for the MA Music follow the same structure. We place an emphasis on independence and creativity - you will have the freedom to study the areas that interest you, in consultation with your ensemble.

Over the year, you’ll take four modules: 

In addition to these modules, we strongly encourage you to participate in department ensembles and attend weekly research seminarsperformance classes and composition seminars relevant to your studies. 

You’ll receive 30 hours of private vocal tuition over the year. Lessons usually take place every week.


Projects I and II

You’ll take Project I and Project II (30 credits each) in the Autumn and Spring Terms respectively.

In these modules, you’ll attend a weekly seminar related to your pathway. You'll cover essential theoretical teaching and receive coaching in your ensembles from the course tutor.

Throughout these modules you’ll receive advice, support and feedback from your academic supervisor. You’ll have the freedom to submit work on areas that interest you - our courses are designed to allow maximum flexibility and independence.

Project III

During the Summer Term and summer vacation, you will work on Project III (100 credits), an extended individual project. Within your ensemble, you'll curate and perform an extended recital.

Critical Reflection in Musical Practice

Critical Reflection in Musical Practice (20 credits) runs throughout the year. In this module you’ll develop sophisticated ways to articulate critical and reflective outlooks on your creative work.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Research independently and collaboratively with the sophistication, close attention to detail and creative flair developed through the advanced study of music at Master’s level
  • Lead, or constructively contribute to, advanced-level musical activity, for example by performing, composing, critical listening and thinking, analyzing, editing, improvising, notating or employing studio techniques and digital literacy at a professional level
  • Apply the musical and transferable skills gained throughout the programme with confidence and aptitude in a range of national and international professional contexts, for example performance, composition, teaching, management, academic work, and collaborative projects
  • Communicate at an advanced level on a range of issues relating to music, the arts, society and culture, using appropriate written and oral media and music-making activities
  • Plan and execute focused individual research projects, composition portfolios or recitals through rigorous planning and the application of appropriate principles, theoretical knowledge, methodologies, techniques and experience
  • Apply self-evaluative skills of reflective practice to inform current work and continuing professional development – whether through written work, compositions or performance – with creativity, imagination and initiative

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2021/22

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Departmental funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): changes to courses

We've made some changes to the way our courses are delivered to minimise potential disruption from the ongoing global pandemic.

Teaching format

Your teaching will largely take the form of weekly seminars, covering musicological teaching and vocal coaching, and one-to-one tutorials. You'll also be expected to arrange regular rehearsals with your ensemble, as well as participating in rehearsals of department ensembles, including The 24.

You will have regular meetings with your supervisor, who will advise you and help develop your ideas as you progress through your studies.

We encourage you to get involved with our lively departmental community, from our ensembles to our weekly seminars, performance classes and research seminars.


We have a range of outstanding facilities, including the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and dozens of teaching rooms and practice facilities. All spaces are designed to be flexible and are used for projects, seminars, ensemble rehearsals and recordings. Discover our facilities.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Music on Campus West. Almost all of your teaching will take place within the department.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Within your group, you'll develop three concert programmes for assessment throughout the course, supplemented by individual commentaries. The first two recitals will be based on repertoire agreed with the course tutor, while the third focuses more on independent choice.

Careers and skills

This course is directly beneficial to students wishing to break in to the commercial world of classical singing. You'll gain vital skills for performing your repertoire professionally, enabling you to be competitive within the professional solo and choral worlds.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates have been employed by London-based professional ensembles such as:

  • Stile Antico
  • Tenebrae
  • I Fagiolini
  • Ora Singers
  • Britten Sinfonia Voices
  • Siglo de Oro
  • Lacock Scholars
  • Carice Singers
  • Oxford Camerata
  • Cathedral choirs (Peterborough, Christchurch Oxford, Washington DC and churches in London including St Bride's Church)
  • National Youth Choir Fellowship scheme
  • Auditions with Kings Singers and Voces 8

Transferable skills

  • Choral music
  • Solo music
  • Understanding auditions
  • Repertoire knowledge
  • Dealing with performance anxiety
  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Music or another relevant discipline. We will also consider your application if you have a 2:2 honours degree and relevant professional experience.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

Ensembles can be any size depending on your interests, but groups are generally made up of 4-8 singers.

Applying with a pre-existing ensemble

The course is aimed at ensembles, and therefore you need to be part of a balanced group of voices that work together as an ensemble through the year. Please note that the application process requires individual applications to be made by each member of the ensemble.

If you're already in a group that wishes to apply as a group, please get in touch directly with Robert Hollingworth.

Applying as an individual

If you're applying as an individual, we will match you to other candidates and recommend that you meet to rehearse for a short period before the course begins.

If you're on different continents, this may be impractical. In this case, each singer will be encouraged to video-record two pieces (either solo or in consort with others) and make them available to the other singers so that each of you has a proper chance to listen to your colleagues in advance.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 169, minimum 162 in each component
Duolingo 100, minimum 90 in all other components
PTE Academic 55, minimum 51 in each component
TOEFL 79, minimum 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

You can attach a short .mp3 file or .mp4 video file along with your application as evidence of your previous work in performance.

Please also provide a short written statement on your aims and objectives in taking this course.

After application, you will be called for interview or audition. For students outside the UK, this can be through Skype (or similar) if necessary.

You are encouraged to contact Robert Hollingworth at the beginning of the process to discuss your application.

Please indicate clearly in the written title of your application which MA Music pathway you wish to apply for.

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