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MA Music (English Church Music pathway)

Study the course of English Church music from Medieval times to today.

Year of entry: 2020

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Please note our next recruitment round for this course will be for 2020 entry. For more information, contact jo.wainwright@york.ac.uk.

If you are a musicologist, singer, organist, composer or liturgist with a keen interest in English Church music, this pathway of our MA Music could be for you.

You'll explore in detail the music created and shared in English churches, from the Medieval period to the present day.

Through weekly seminars, you'll gain a comprehensive overview of English church music, including Sarum liturgy, music and the Reformation and Restoration church music. You'll be able to specialise in topics that interest you, such as defined historical or liturgical topics, manuscript studies, editing projects, or church music composition. You'll be part of a small group, meaning we're able to tailor what we teach to the specific interests of you and your classmates.

We encourage you to get involved in the lively community of our department, from participating in department ensembles to attending our weekly research and composition seminars and performance classes.

Working as a performing musician within a liturgical context, I frequently draw directly upon my research into cathedral music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. More broadly, I would like to think that principles of intellectual curiosity encouraged during my time at York inform all aspects of my work as a musician.
David Newsholme (Assistant Organist and Director of the Girls' Choir at Canterbury Cathedral)

Work with the experts

If you're interested in the composition of church music, you'll have the opportunity to work with Dr Richard Shephard, internationally renowned for composing church music.

Outstanding facilities

You'll have access to a wide range of early instruments, as well as practice rooms, recording studios and two professional concert halls.

Departmental ensembles

From choral to orchestral, jazz and folk to improvised electronica, gospel to gamelan, almost every kind of music is performed by the Department’s many ensembles.

Course content

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.

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. 

Modules

Projects I and II

You’ll take the modules Project I and Project II (30 credits each) in the Autumn and Spring Terms respectively, with further teaching in the Summer Term.

As part of these modules, you’ll attend a weekly seminar related to the English Church Music pathway. 

Topics covered during the first module ('In Quires and Places where they Sing': the 18th to 21st centuries) may include:

  • Anglican Music in the 21st Century: a continuing tradition
  • Changes in the 20th Century
  • The 18th and 19th Centuries: decline and revival

Topics covered during the second module ('In Quires and Places where they Sing': the 16th and 17th centuries) may include:

  • Restoration Church Music
  • The 17th century: a tradition interrupted
  • Music and the Reformation in England.

At the end of each module, you’ll produce a ‘guided submission’ - either a 5,000 word essay or a composition portfolio. 

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.

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.

You’ll give two presentations and present a paper at a conference organised by MA students in the Summer Term.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

During the Summer Term and summer vacation, you will work on Project III (100 credits), an extended individual project.

The extended project is considerably more complex than your first two submissions - you'll submit an essay of 12–15,000 words, or a substantial composition portfolio.

You'll receive advice and support from your supervisor during the Summer Term to help you develop your work.

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 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,905
year 1 fee
£8,685
year 1 fee

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

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

The Department of Music offer a number of postgraduate scholarships, awards and bursaries. See funding options on our website.

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.

Teaching format

Your teaching will largely take the form of weekly pathway seminars and regular one-to-one tutorials.

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.

Facilities

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

The Department of Music is located in Vanbrugh College on Campus West. The majority of departments, colleges and facilities are based nearby.

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

You’ll produce Guided Submissions for the first two terms and an Independent Submission during the summer term and summer vacation. These can be written essays or a composition folio.

Careers and skills

English Church Music students have gone on to a variety of jobs. Others have undertaken further academic work towards a PhD, and the pathway has also appealed to students who wish to further their study in retirement.

Career opportunities

  • cathedral liturgical assistan
  • cathedral assistant organist
  • editorial assistant at a music publisher
  • cathedral lay clerk

Transferable skills

  • teamwork
  • time management
  • critical reflection
  • presentation
  • sophisticated writing skills
  • IT and technical skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Degree

A Bachelor's degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in music or another relevant discipline. We will also consider your application if you have a 2:2 honours degree and relevant professional experience.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. 

  • IELTS: 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 55, with no less than 51 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (taken from January 2015): 169, with no less than 162 in each component
  • TOEFL: 79, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Pass in all components

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 IELTS 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.

Applying

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 will need to demonstrate essay writing ability by submitting a piece of writing with your application. If you are planning to offer a composition as one of your submissions, you'll need to demonstrate composition ability by submitting scores and (if available) recordings of church/liturgical music with your application.

Please note our next recruitment round for this course will be for 2020 entry. For more information, contact jo.wainwright@york.ac.uk.

Next steps

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Get in touch if you have any questions

Professor Jonathan Wainwright

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Department of Music

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