Music

Our BA in Music is a high quality, flexible programme. You will explore historical, technical, compositional, analytical and performance-based aspects of music, and either specialise as you progress or develop a diverse range of skills and knowledge.

Research specialisms within the department currently include:

  • Composition, both acoustic and studio;
  • Music, politics and society (music and cultural transfer; transnationality and colonialism; reception studies; music, revolution and totalitarianism);
  • Music and intermediality (popular music, especially hip hop; opera studies; film music; medieval music, text, visual and material cultures);
  • Music as performance (historical performance practice; medieval oral transmission);
A wide range of optional units are available in these and other related topics each year.

Our Friday afternoons are devoted to performance activities (masterclasses and workshops delivered by professional practitioners) and our Music Futures programme (visiting professionals offer insights into career paths).

The department is relatively small in terms of student and staff numbers. This enables us to maintain personal contact with our students and creates a friendly, nurturing study environment. Our first years benefit from weekly small-group tutorials to support the transition from school or college to university, and the development of foundational skills for the course.

Why study Music at Bristol?

We offer an exciting and diverse choice of topics, taught by world-leading musicologists, composers and performers – an ideal environment in which to develop your intellectual and creative skills. After the foundation year, you have the flexibility to create your own degree path. You will benefit from the partnerships we have with people, organisations, schools, festivals and venues in Bristol and beyond, and from the exceptionally friendly and supportive environment of the department.

The Victoria Rooms house a 530-seat auditorium, where professional and student concerts and rehearsals take place; an elegant recital room for chamber music performances and recitals; a complex of teaching, study and practice spaces; and two bars/common rooms.

We host events throughout the year, including a series of lunchtime and evening concerts, a programme of research seminars delivered by visiting guest speakers, and regular international conferences and festivals.

We offer a plethora of performance opportunities including the department-run Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society and New Music Ensemble and the student-led Wind Orchestra, Brass Band and Operatic Society, as well as regular concerts and masterclasses. We have partnerships with local churches and other organisations in the city.

What kind of student would this course suit?

A music degree is about much more than making and writing about music. Through the study of music you will learn skills as a musician that you will retain for life and which you can transfer to every professional setting. As a relatively small department, we are able to provide personal support to help you find your own voice. The challenges you will learn to address include:

  • working independently (practising, reading, researching, composing, writing) and with others (rehearsing, performing, preparing group work);
  • engaging with audiences (on stage or in the seminar room);
  • presenting work in different forms (in recitals, edited scores, recordings, seminar presentations, essays and dissertations, blog posts);
  • considering the opportunities open to you when you leave (further study, career).

You will discover your strengths, learn how to plan projects and organise your own work and time, and develop confidence in your chosen areas.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our teaching includes a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops tutorials and individual lessons and supervisions. If you take a performance unit, we will pay for one-to-one lessons with a highly experienced instrumental or vocal tutor.

Assessment methods include essays, written examinations, short-form writing (including blogs) for historical and technical units, solo and ensemble recitals, dissertations, and composition and editing portfolios.

You will be allocated a personal tutor with whom you will meet at least twice each semester; in the first year you will have small-group sessions with your tutor once every teaching week. Your tutor will support your academic study, help you develop career plans, and be an important point of contact if you have any problems.

We have nine composition and recording studios with state-of-the-art equipment and 20 purpose-built practice rooms with new Yamaha U1 pianos. We hold a collection of other instruments available to our students, including several grand pianos, four organs and a chest of viols.

What are my career prospects?

Music graduates from Bristol have a very strong track record of employment, with many entering graduate employment or further study within six months of graduating.

Employers are increasingly attracted by the wide variety of practical, creative, intellectual and transferable skills that a music degree fosters, including self-organisation, creativity, teamwork and motivation.

Our graduates enter a wide range of professions including performance, teaching, arts administration, banking, law, publishing, broadcasting and the media.

Read more about what students from the Music department go on to do after graduation.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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