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Unit information: Practical studies: Performance in 2020/21

Unit name Practical studies: Performance
Unit code MUSI10058
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Scott
Open unit status Not open

Normally Grade VIII in Associated Board Examination (for the solo pathway)



School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Students prepare a short solo or ensemble performance of 10 minutes (given in the summer term) on their prinicpal instrument (or voice) and develop the disciplines of repertoire selection and development, effective self-presentation in a performance context and a professional attitude towards workshops and lessons with approved teachers. Alternatively, they may prepare a portfolio of short concert reviews, generally based on the professional concerts hosted by the Music Department, with seminar guidance.


This unit aims to develop existing practical skills leading towards an assessed 10-minute solo or ensemble performance in preparation for which students will benefit from a programme of instrumental or vocal lessons. The process of negotiation required in producing the desired sound from the notated scores, and communicating the individual interpretation of that score in performance, is fundamental to performance and it is expected that this skill will develop throughout the year and will translate into an effective solo or ensemble performance. For students presenting a solo performance (this may be accompanied, including by a small ensemble), the unit is intended to provide a secure foundation for further performance units involving solo performance at subsequent stages in the BA programme and is an essential pre-requisite for those units. Please note that students opting to present an ensemble piece, in which they play an equal (rather than solo) role, will not usually be permitted to take solo performance in subsequent years. Alternatively, students taking the non-performance route through this unit will develop the skills to critically evaluate performance, develop accessible media-friendly writing styles to communicate their evaluation, and become aware of contemporary performance issues.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. perform a technically-competent short recital on their principal instrument (or voice), displaying, where appropriate, effective communication with the accompanist in performance
  2. apply recommended principles of repertoire selection and programme planning
  3. develop and display a confident attitude towards presentational aspects of their recital
  4. master the most fruitful techniques of individual practice
  5. respond thoughtfully to constructive criticism of their playing (in workshops and lessons).

For students taking the non-performance route through this unit, instead, students will:

6. be able to communicate in writing about contemporary performance issues

7. be able to write in an accessible, media-friendly style

8. demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate musical performance

Teaching details

One-to-one lessons with an approved instrumental or vocal teacher

Attendence at concerts within the department's concert series

Participation in the Music Futures programme.


Assessment Details

First Year Performance Studies may be assessed in one of three ways:

1) One 10-minute solo recital (100%) in the May/June assessment period, of pieces prepared throughout the academic year, reflecting ILOs 1-5. The recital may be accompanied, including by a small ensemble.

2) One 10-minute solo recital recorded and uploaded

3) A portfolio of live concert reviews totalling between 2000-2500 words (approx. 5 reviews) submitted on Blackboard (ILOs 6-8)

Reading and References

  • Brendel, A., Music Sounded Out (London, 1993)
  • Dunsby, J., Performing Music: Shared Concerns (Oxford, 1993)
  • J.Rink (ed.), Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding (Cambridge, 2003)