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BA (Hons) Music

Music study for professional careers

Year of entry: 2022/23
Show year of entry: 2021

UCAS code

W300

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2022 (term dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£19,600 per year

Undergraduate Online Open Days

Considering your options for 2022? Meet us online on Sunday 19 September.

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We come into contact with music every day: on the internet or radio, in the street, in a club, on film, or in a concert hall. This experience can be fleeting or intense, relaxing or frustrating, trivial or life-changing, looked-for or unexpected, solitary or social.

Studying music at university gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of that experience and to look at how music has shaped and responded to the world. The story of music is always about people and their creativity – even in a world full of music, what it is and what it does still matters.

You'll learn from musicians who are leaders in their fields and benefit from the working relationships we have built up with our professional partners – an enviable roster of artists-in-association. We teach in small groups and individual tutorials, which means you'll always be actively engaged in discussion with your lecturers.

York Music graduates are creative, critical, independent thinkers. Our degree programme develops these qualities through a modular teaching system covering all forms of musical activity: performance, composing, analysis, musicology and music technology are all valued. Both flexible and challenging, we deliver a balanced musical education and develop key skills, providing you with opportunities to specialise and pursue your own choices of study under expert guidance.

York appealed to me because of the fantastic atmosphere and the excellent course. Our lecturers are down to earth, extremely interesting, and passionate teachers, as well as producing some of the top current research. For students this translates into a stimulating academic environment, offering in-depth insight into a wide variety of topics.
Anna, BA Music

Course content

Our BA Music is designed to be flexible, meaning you can tailor your studies to what interests you, while developing your core skills in musicology and analysis, composition and performance. 

Throughout your three years at York, your studies will include:

  • core skills modules
  • option modules, known internally as ‘projects’
  • an extended independent project

Option modules are key to the way we teach. Rather than being split by year, students from all years of the degree are taught together, giving you invaluable opportunities to meet and learn from other students on the course. 

The core skills modules complement and support the specialist topics covered in the option modules. You will develop research techniques, skills in writing about music, aural ability, and analytical, critical and creative thinking.

You will be supported with a bursary for instrumental or vocal lessons; this will be increased if you choose to present a final recital in Year 3. Individual tuition is also supported by a range of performance classes ranging from masterclasses with leading concert artists on various aspects of instrumental and vocal techniques to sessions on the Alexander technique and developing entrepreneurial skills, as well as workshops with non-Western, folk and jazz musicians.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

Core modules

You will take core skills modules which may include:

As part of the Making Music, Studying Music module, you'll take part in the first-year Practical Project. This will take up the majority of your first term and involves the preparation and public performance of a music theatre work or small opera. The project involves around 50 hours of rehearsals, lectures, workshops and tutorials and includes classes on writing and research skills. 

First-year 'Project'

In the second half of the Autumn Term, you may take Musical Analysis. This is designed to give you the experience of the 'project' format (skill-based exercises, researching materials, delivering seminar presentations, academic writing) before entering the full cross-year modules in the Spring Term.

In your Spring Term, you'll take a selection of option modules. We update these modules every year.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

You'll focus on developing your independence, critical thinking and confidence; improving your core skills; and continuing your instrumental/vocal studies. You'll also begin to prepare for your Solo Project, Composition Folio and/or Recital in your final year. The Critical Thinking and Listening module develops critical reflection on music and its performance, while your specialist option modules allow you to explore the areas you are most interested in. 

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Option modules

You will choose a selection of further option modules. You'll be able to choose from a similar range of options as in your first year, although modules do vary year on year.

Year 3

During your final year, you'll specialise further with Recital and Composition Folio options alongside your choice of option modules.

You will also have the opportunity to devise, research and produce a Solo Project. Building on skills you've acquired across your degree, this is an opportunity for you to develop a piece of large-scale work that will be useful to your future career. Past Solo Projects have included dissertations, editions, albums, innovative performance events, orchestrations, film music, community music projects and many other types of work.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Option modules

You can choose a selection of optional modules. Examples of which may include:

You will choose from similar options to those available to you in your second year. 

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.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Understand and engage meaningfully, creatively and critically with a range of music from different traditions and parts of the world, by drawing upon knowledge and experience of music’s histories, its structures and its varied uses. 
  • Lead, or constructively contribute to, high-level musical activity, for example by performing, composing, listening, thinking critically, analysing, editing, improvising, notating or employing studio techniques and digital literacy at an advanced level. 
  • Research independently and collaboratively, whether as preparation for postgraduate study or for the workplace environment, with analytical sophistication, close attention to detail and creative flair. 
  • 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, studio work and community music projects. 
  • Communicate with clarity and critical insight on a range of issues relating to music, the arts, society and culture, using appropriate written and oral media and music-making activities. 
  • Approach familiar tasks as well as new and challenging situations with creativity, imagination and initiative, and identify resourceful and entrepreneurial actions that have real benefit for themselves and others. 
  • Work independently and self-reliantly, and also contribute with purpose and responsibility to different communities through team-working skills that are founded on a commitment to inclusivity and are informed by a deep understanding of the role of music as an expression of culture.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £19,600

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

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home): further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international and EU students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at two per cent each year.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

You will be expected to pay for the maintenance of your instruments, equipment and sheet music. You will also need appropriate concert attire throughout your studies.

Type Amount
Textbooks Compulsory additional expense £75
Travel to non-UoY locations Optional additional expense £35
Specialist clothing, uniforms, lab coats, laundry... Compulsory additional expense £100
Printing, photocopying and dissertation binding Included in course fees £0
Equipment/facility hire and insurance Compulsory additional expense £600
Other specialist costs (eg, maintenance of musical instruments) Included in course fees £560
Professional association fees, DBS checks, professional indemnity insurance, etc Optional additional expense £100

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.

Departmental scholarships

We offer some funding for undergraduate students. See our bursaries for instrumental and vocal studies

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 study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Our modules are taught in small groups (typically 15-25 students). Much of the course content is developed alongside ongoing staff research so what you learn keeps pace with the constant changes in music culture and technology. Most modules are taught across all three years, giving you the chance to learn from your peers as well as your tutors.

Each module is made up of intensive tutor-led sessions which typically include a combination of lecture-style teaching, group discussion, performance workshops and other practical activities. With the support of the module tutor, you will then produce a portfolio of work in response to these taught sessions.

Your contact time with the department can take the form of rehearsals, lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervision meetings, concerts, performance assessments and instrumental lessons. Around your timetabled hours you'll work independently – altogether we recommend that you spend about 40 hours per week on learning.

Beyond your scheduled teaching, you’ll have the chance to attend weekly seminars on research and composition and performance masterclasses (some of these may be compulsory, depending on the modules you choose). These sessions are often delivered by visiting experts in the field, including professional composers, internationally established concert artists and ensembles and specialist researchers. You’ll join at least one departmental ensemble and attend the associated rehearsals and performances, but many students choose to join many more. You’ll also be expected to attend a certain number of events in our professional concert series. Many students also take the opportunity to put on their own performances as part of our biweekly, student-run series of lunchtime concerts.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Ensembles2 hours per week (per ensemble)
ConcertsExpected to attend at least 5 per term
Instrumental/Vocal tuition1 hour every two weeks, with additional weekly performance classes available

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Facilities

We have a range of outstanding facilities, including the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and Rymer Auditorium; dozens of teaching rooms and practice facilities; four digital recording studios; and a large collection of historical and world instruments. All spaces are designed to be flexible and are used for projects, seminars, ensemble rehearsals and recordings. Discover our facilities.

John Paynter Music Library
The John Paynter Music Library is an elegant facility, located within the University's JB Morrell Library, and houses the main music collections. It is also equipped with digital pianos and media replay equipment. The physical collection as well as an extensive range of electronic resources are searchable through the YorSearch.

Sound Resources

The University Library houses and extensive collection of CDs and DVDs, which are available for listening and research. There are also archival recordings available for student use in the University of York Sound Archives.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Music on Campus West. Nearly 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

The York Music degree is unique in its approach to assessment. There are no closed written exams – instead we want to focus on your individual response to our teaching. You are assessed through portfolios, the precise content of which will be tailored to the individual module, but might consist of one or more essays, compositions, performances or other options. This approach challenges you to take what you have been taught and extend it into new, exciting areas.

Lecturer and student
assessed performance
What York does extremely well is offer the resources, teaching and time for students to experiment, discover their voice, and find a niche: something rather important in a climate where just being an excellent violinist/pianist/soprano won’t cut it.
Kerry Andrew, BA Music
York graduate and award-winning composer and performer

Careers and skills

The creativity, professionalism, and critical thinking that you develop in our Music degree sets you up for a wide variety of careers, both within the field and beyond. The majority of our students go on to graduate-level jobs in music and related professions. Others undertake further study for an MA, PhD, conservatoire programme or a PGCE.

Career opportunities

 Recent graduate careers include:

  • UK Concert Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra
  • General Director of the Southbank Sinfonia
  • Opera direction (including Opera North, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and the Royal Opera House)
  • BBC production (Proms and Radio 3 and 4)
  • Freelance jazz musicians (including the World Service Project)
  • Classic FM production
  • London Symphony Orchestra

Others have gone on to work in:

  • Broadcast and media
  • Professional performance
  • Arts management
  • Teaching and community education
  • University lecturing
  • Music outreach
  • Music publishing (most major houses)
  • Major music agencies
  • Orchestral management

 

Transferable skills

  • Independent thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation
  • Writing
  • Critical analysis
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Communication

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including A in Music

If you are not taking A level Music we will accept AAB in three A Levels plus ABRSM or Trinity Grade 5 Theory and Grade 8 Performance. Other equivalent qualifications and exam boards may be considered on a case by case basis.

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits from units awarded Distinction and 9 awarded Merit or higher. An additional A Level or equivalent qualification in Music will be required.
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD in Music. If you are taking a BTEC in a different subject, an additional A Level or equivalent qualification in Music will be required.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including D3 in Music
European Baccalaureate 80% overall, including 85% in Music
International Baccalaureate 35 points including 6 in Music at Higher Level
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

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 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate 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

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS. Following your application you may be called to an interview and audition. On the day you visit York, there will be a chance to talk to current students and see the department in action. For general information about the application process, visit the UCAS site.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Mark Hutchinson, Admissions Tutor

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Department of Music

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