MA in Music Performance: Historical Performance Practices is a unique course for independent-thinking, creative performers of modern or period instruments and voice.
This course will develop your artistic voice by combining your creative practice with an in-depth understanding of the historical contexts of music-making in the Baroque, Classical or Romantic periods.
You will be supported by committed and passionate staff with an active international presence as performers, researchers and educators as you take a “deep dive” into the historically informed performance of your chosen repertoire(s). Regular workshops and performance opportunities will help you to develop your own individual approach to style, interpretation and presentation. You will be able to immerse yourself in York’s vibrant and diverse early music scene and benefit from our partnership with the National Centre for Early Music , who will host your final recital.
York has been a pioneering centre of the Early Music movement since the 1970s. As a York graduate, you will join a network of alumni working in the world’s leading ensembles, festivals and arts organisations. Previous graduates of our MA programme have gone on to further performance study and research degrees as well as professional careers as performers, curators, educators, and researchers.
The MA in Historical Performance Practices is led by Dr Emily Worthington, who performs internationally as a clarinettist and researches widely on Classical and Romantic performance practices and cultures. York’s specialist teaching staff include Lucy Russell (historical violin), Rachel Gray (historical cello), Edwina Smith (historical flute), Carmen Troncoso (recorder), Jacob Heringman (lute), Susannah Pell (viols), Catherine Pierron (harpsichord), and Andrew Snedden (historical pianos). Recent visiting artist residencies have included the Consone Quartet and I Fagiolini. Specialist accompanists are available to work with you throughout the course.
Weekly lessons with one of our specialist teachers, all of whom have extensive knowledge in informed performance practice as well as modern repertoire.
'Learning opportunities, 'Teaching on my course' and 'Assessment and feedback' for Music in the Russell Group, National Student Survey, 2023.
We have a huge range of year-round ensembles, including Baroque Ensemble and multiple orchestras, with frequent opportunities for performance.
All the MA Music Performance programmes follow the same structure. We place an emphasis on independence and creativity - you will have the freedom to study the areas that interest you as a performer and researcher.
Over the course, you will study a series of core and option modules, including up to three assessed recitals. You’ll receive 30 hours of one-to-one tuition with your instrumental or vocal teacher over the year. You are also strongly encouraged to participate in the department’s ensembles and research community. You will choose from a range of options, including a collaborative performance project. You can also select from our menu of advanced undergraduate modules which look intensively into specific topics and repertoires.
During the course, you will:
You'll also take a range of option modules. Examples from previous years have included:
The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, get in touch.
*If you're taking the part-time route, you will be required to take Recital II rather than an option module as in the full-time programme. This will help you maintain your performance skills across the 2-year programme.
Your course will conclude with a public recital, for which you will design and prepare a substantial programme of solo and/or ensemble music. Where possible and appropriate, your recital will take place at the National Centre for Early Music. You will be supported by tutorials and instrumental or vocal lessons.
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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.
Improving my playing, developing my confidence, leading to professional concerts and inspiring my doctoral research, this course was certainly one of my favourite and most pivotal years in higher education. I cannot recommend it enough!MA Music Performance: Historical Performance Practices student
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£10,590||£23,900|
|Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.
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.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
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.
You'll have access to a wide range of early keyboard instruments, as well as practice rooms, recording studios and two professional concert halls.
Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York has been voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.
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.
Your teaching will largely take the form of weekly seminars and performance classes, and regular one-to-one tutorials. You’ll have the opportunity to perform your repertoire to staff and students for coaching, comment and discussion. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor, who will advise you and help develop your ideas as you progress through your studies. Your instrumental or vocal teacher will guide your technical and artistic development through one-to-one lessons.
The University Baroque Ensemble specialises in 17th and 18th century music and features each year in the internationally renowned York Early Music Festival. Students who wish to form their own small ensembles can request coaching from staff. You will have the opportunity to further develop your skills by participating in other department ensembles such as Symphony Orchestra, University Choir, The 24, and Viol Consort. University ensembles regularly perform in venues including York Minster and the National Centre for Early Music as well as the department’s main concert series.
The School has a fine collection of early keyboard instruments, including:
We also have a large collection of Renaissance, Baroque and Classical period instruments and bows available to students.
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. We also have a close partnership with the National Centre for Early Music, who offer a range of professional and artistic development opportunities for young artists and will host your final recital.
Music classes in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies are located in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall on Campus West.
Almost all of your teaching will take place within the School.
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.
You will design and present up to two recitals of up to 30’, and a final recital of 45-50 minutes. The length of the final recital may be reduced and presented in combination with a piece of written work. Programmes can include solo and ensemble repertoire, and will be assessed on criteria including technical command, interpretative and historical insight, and creativity.
You will demonstrate your skills and ideas through assessments including a portfolio of exercises, a research presentation, and a lecture-recital or written case-study, on topics of your choosing.
'Music Performance: Historical Performance Practices graduates have gone onto a variety of careers in music performance as well as creative and administrative roles in the wider arts sector. Graduates have also gone on to work in education, both freelance and employed by an institution. Further study destinations include both conservatoires and other universities.
|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|
Your application should include:
A video recording (or a link to an online video recording) of about 10-15 minutes of yourself performing varied repertoire that includes a piece of Baroque or Classical music. A 1-page statement describing why you want to study historical performance practices and what your specific area of interest is.
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS (Academic and Indicator)||6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component|
|Cambridge CEFR||B2 First: 169, with no less than 162 in each component|
|Oxford ELLT||6, minimum of 5 in each component|
|Duolingo||105, minimum 95 in all other components|
|LanguageCert SELT||B2 with 33/50 in each component|
|LanguageCert Academic||65 with a minimum of 60 in each component|
|KITE||426-458, with 396-425 in all other components|
|Skills for English||B2: Pass with Merit overall, with Pass in each component|
|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.
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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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