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MA Music Performance: Piano Studies

Inform your performance with contextual study on this recital-based course.

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

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Our MA in Music Performance: Piano Studies intends to strengthen your playing and theoretical knowledge through intensive piano-based study.

You'll cover a variety of keyboard music from the early Baroque period to the present day, developing your interpretation through workshops and masterclasses, and learning to play different kinds of repertoire with historical understanding. This includes the chance to work with historical instruments such as harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano. 

You'll also have the opportunity to develop other skills such as ensemble performance and piano accompaniment, both as part of the course and externally. The University of York Piano Ensemble is made up of a group of pianists performing repertoire for multiple pianos. They particularly explore contemporary and experimental repertoire, as well as arrangements of older music. You'll gain experience as a pianist through chances to work as an accompanist for other students, frequent masterclasses in performance from visiting specialists and opportunities to perform in a variety of different settings. By the end of the programme, these experiences will have helped you develop into an independent, critically aware and technically proficient performer.

2nd for Overall Satisfaction

for Music in the Russell Group, National Student Survey, 2022.

Musical ensembles

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

Course content

You'll take a range of core and option modules and several assessed recitals. We place an emphasis on independence and creativity - you will have the freedom to study the areas that interest you.

In addition, we strongly encourage you to participate in musical ensembles and attend weekly research seminars, performance classes and composition seminars relevant to your studies.

Modules

Core modules

  • Recital I
  • Developing Your Artistic Practice I
  • Research Skills for Musicians
  • Developing Your Artistic Practice II

Option modules

You'll also take a range of option modules. Examples may include:

  • Collaborative Project
  • Recital II*

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.

Final Recital

Your course will conclude with a substantial public recital showcasing your artistic and scholarly insight through a programme of your own design. 

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

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 Masters level
  • Lead, or constructively contribute to, advanced-level musical activity by performing and communicating about performance at a professional level, supported by advanced skills of critical listening, analysis and reflective practice as appropriate
  • Plan and execute critically informed performances through rigorous planning and the application of appropriate principles and methods, theoretical knowledge, methodologies, practical techniques and experience, and artistic imagination
  • Communicate at an advanced level on a range of issues relating to the history and present of musical repertoire and its performance, its relation to wider culture, and its technical and artistic execution, using appropriate written and oral media and music-making activities
  • 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, teaching, project management, academic work, and collaboration
  • Apply self-evaluative skills of reflective practice to inform current work and continuing professional development in performance with creativity, imagination and initiative.
Preparing a recital every three months pushes me to a higher level of playing.
Ling Wang, MA Music Performance: Piano Studies

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

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 2023/24 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

Subject-specific 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.

Outstanding facilities

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

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 seminars and regular one-to-one tutorials, as well as your individual piano lessons.

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

Facilities

As well as several concert grand pianos by Steinway and Fazioli, the department also has a fine collection of early keyboards including two fortepianos, a square piano, four harpsichords, a clavichord, a three-manual neo-classical organ and a continuo organ.

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

Teaching location

Music classes in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies are located in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, on the west part of our campus. 

Almost all of your teaching will take place within the School.

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 will design and present up to two recitals of up to 30’ minutes, 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.

Alongside these you will have written, and presentation assessments designed to help you develop communication and research skills relevant to your work as a performer.

Careers and skills

By the end of the course, you'll have a firm understanding of the core issues of technique and interpretation surrounding each period of standard keyboard repertoire, and you will be able to use this understanding to prepare thoughtful and sophisticated performances. You'll also be able to reflect critically on your performance decisions, and communicate your ideas about performance in writing and speech, skills that are highly valued in any sector. MA Music graduates go on to a diverse range of careers as performers and teachers, as well as administrative work and further study at both universities and conservatoires. 

Career opportunities

  • Music teacher
  • Freelance solo performer
  • Performance research and PhD study
  • Private music tutor
  • Community arts worker
  • Sound designer

Transferable skills

  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Creative problem solving
  • Critical analysis
  • Research skills
  • Communication
  • Self-evaluation

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

Performance ability will need to be demonstrated through submission of a recording.

You will need to submit a sample of your creative work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting creative work.

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 (Academic and Indicator) 6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 169, minimum 162 in each component
Duolingo 105, minimum 95 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator: Pass with 25/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 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.

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.

Your application materials 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 Western art music.

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Next steps

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School of Arts and Creative Technologies

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