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Music Performance MMus

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Day and evening September 2017
Part time 2 years Day and evening September 2017

Choose Kingston's Music Performance MMus

This course aims to create informed, skilled and insightful performers across a wide range of musical genres. It is ideal if you aspire to become a professional performer or are an instrumental teacher and would like to further develop your knowledge of music performance. You will receive individual tuition on your instrument or voice from a top professional performer.

Find out more about our postgraduate music courses:

Key features

  • You will have the opportunity to develop and enhance your performance skills through one-to-one tuition, masterclasses, recitals and ensemble participation.
  • Facilities include a large rehearsal and performance space with supporting recording equipment, an extensive collection of musical instruments and a fully networked IT environment.
  • You will have the chance to attend masterclasses and workshops run by national and international performers and composers - such as Stephen Coombs, Jane Manning, Steve Martland, Judith Weir, Steve Goss, Howard Skempton, Arditti String Quartet, Brian Ferneyhough - and take part in events with a range of performers from different backgrounds.

What will you study?

You will cover issues of performance practice, preparation of performance, aesthetics of music performance, analysis for performers, the psychology of performance, and performance presentation. You will also be asked to critique and evaluate your own performances, and will undertake a performance-based project. A range of option modules allows you to develop your skills in related topics, such as composition, conducting, arranging and ensemble performance.

Assessment

A variety of assessment methods is used, including a major public performance recital; a portfolio of presentational and promotional materials; essays, critiques and critical reviews; and a position paper, presentations and research paper.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other MA and MMus programmes. The module will address the development of critical and aesthetic insights into both the substance of music and the varied practices of performance required to deliver high quality musical experiences across a range of genres. It considers performance roles, values and practices including issues of meaning in music and emotional responses to music. It will trace the development of aesthetic attitude theories and post-structuralist approaches to understanding and performing a wide range of musical repertoires. Themes explored will include: issues of authenticity, value judgements, virtuosity and the role of the performer. Themed lectures will introduce topics, followed by seminars which will provide opportunities for students to reflect and discuss issues raised in lectures, which are then consolidated in debates that relate ideas to specific texts, repertoires and personal performances. Assessment will be through prepared debates, on topics suggested by the tutor, a critical reflection of a filmed performance and an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor.

     
  • This module supports the development of a major piece of research, or creative work, or performance which is focused on the subject of the student’s programme of study. Therefore the nature of the project is chosen from the following: a dissertation; a folio of produced popular music compositions/covers; a folio of sonic arts work; a folio of compositions to moving image; a folio of compositions; or a performance. In the case of the creative work, students will also undertake related research which culminates in a paper or critical commentary to complement and support their creative work. The module is taught through a mixture of seminars and individual tutorials.

     
  • The module will address the practical issues of preparing and delivering a musical performance. Individual lessons will provide expert tuition on the students' instrument. Practical workshops will provide feedback on a range of technical, interpretational and presentational issues and lectures will prepare students for the written elements. Assessment will be through a recital of 20 minutes duration, a portfolio of promotional and presentational materials for the recital and a critical self evaluation of the performance itself.

     
  • Researching Music is designed to prepare students for their research and writing on the Music Masters’ programmes. The teaching covers academic referencing, creating a bibliography, library skills, use of research on-line indices such as RILM, writing skills, and approaches to research. Later in the module research seminars will be given by Kingston and visiting researchers/composers/performers which provide opportunities for student discussion on a variety of issues in current music research. The module is assessed through a folio of written work including an extended annotated bibliography, an extended research paper and an on-line forum.

     

Optional modules

  • This gives you a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in recording and producing popular music. It will look at a range of recording techniques and provide you with the opportunity to gain fluency in operating a recording studio. The role of the producer in creating, developing, managing and presenting a recording project will be studied, and students will be equipped with the faculties to produce work that demonstrates creativity and is of a professional standard.

    Topics covered will include microphone techniques, digital recording and editing techniques, advanced sequencing, mixing and mastering techniques, creating arrangements and communicating with artists and session musicians, investigating genre-specific production techniques, and analysing contemporary and historical recordings. You will also look at the relationship between the producer and the recording and media business. You will be trained to critically evaluate your own work and position it in the context of the wider music and media business environment. You will use these techniques and skills to create a portfolio of short recordings, accompanied by a commentary detailing the techniques employed, and to develop and present a recording project, with supporting documentation.

     
  • The module is designed to give students a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in popular music composition, and to equip students with the faculties to produce work of a professional standard. Students will learn compositional techniques applicable to a range of popular music genres and will employ these to enhance their own personal style and create a portfolio of compositions. The nature of the creative process, how collaborators (co-writers, band members) communicate with each other and with other artists, and how popular music terminology and notation is utilised will be discussed.  The position of the songwriter and popular music composer within contemporary society and the wider music and media business will also be examined.

    This module will also explore strategies behind the manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of popular music from a global perspective. Students will examine music industry models in an historical context, exploring how practices are evolving through the advent of digital technology. They will explore the factors driving this change with critical appraisal of methods used. Topics covered will include the structure of major and independent record labels, management strategies, identifying a target audience, publicity and marketing within different territories, financing, choice of formats, music video, new media, the live industry, going it alone and the value of popular music as a commodity. Students will be assessed on a portfolio of work including a project that demonstrates the marketing and promotion of one of their popular music compositions.

     
  • This module examines the diversity of practice associated with school-based music provision in the UK maintained sector and associated research. Current positions concerning universal entitlement to the subject will be explored and traced back to influential antecedents.  Students will formulate a critical response to course themes by designing a short investigation exploring the complex transactional character of pedagogy which typifies music lessons across the UK. It will be located in a school if possible, supported by CRB checking (and if necessary, ethics clearance),  or alternatively, will be based on student peer teaching. Outcomes will be interrogated with the aid of tools commonly applied to intersubjective contexts, such as activity system modelling, identity profiling or documentation of transactional process.

     
  • The module is core for MA Music Education and is offered as an option for the MA Music and other MMus programmes.  The module will consider the psychological processes that underpin musical understanding; interpersonal communication; the social construction of meaning and how such processes contribute to the educational philosophies of world cultures. There will be opportunities to investigate the philosophies and practices in music education in a variety of cultural and international contexts including the UK and those of the students themselves. The issues surrounding the teaching of musical will be explored and in particular the views and research associated with composing and how/why it is not explored in many different cultural contexts.

     
  • This module will explore the analysis of instrumental music, from a range of genres. Students will develop their creative work, by applying their analytical understanding of a chosen style to creating new arrangements and orchestrations. They will develop skills in arranging a melody, formulating a harmonic support, structural layout, in a manner which is appropriate for the chosen style. They will also develop skills in orchestration with reference to a chosen genre.

     
  • This module deals in depth with the subject of composition for film and television. Students explore, through lectures and seminars, the essential technology and techniques that composers for Film and Television need to master. Subjects covered include the use of Main Themes, underscoring and the harmonic languages of soundtracks, in both big and small screen contexts.  Coursework consists of several compositions to image, chosen to encourage musical diversity and exploration of compositional styles, together with a written commentary.

     
  • Through this module students will gain an awareness of Music Education in the UK and have an opportunity to engage with some current issues and practical challenges.  It will examine a variety of topical and sometimes contentious issues and practical challenges concerning, for example, music in the National Curriculum; the curriculum in the primary and secondary school; extra-curricular music such as instrumental teaching, composing, arranging and conducting. Psychological perspectives on learning, teaching and creativity will also be addressed.  In the first semester the module will be delivered through keynote lectures, seminars and workshops, with student participation in discussions, mini-presentations and group practical tasks. Further workshops and tutorials dedicated to students’ chosen project will be arranged as necessary in the second semester. The assessment for the module will be in the form of a project focusing on a chosen area of interest in music education in the form of either a small educational investigation, devising a series of lessons for children of a chosen age, or addressing a practical challenge such as arranging for and conducting a school orchestra.

     
  • Jazz harmony, rhythm and improvisation skills will be taught in this year-long optional module, along with their practical application in performance. The module will enable students to recognise features of a range of jazz styles within a historical context and put them into practice.

     
  • This module focuses on the collaborative development of a group performance project, and explores the technical skills necessary to stage a professional performance event. As well as performing in a group, students undertake both practical and theoretical work in live sound management and event production. The performances may be multimedia-based (which could involve dance and/or moving image), or might centre on live electronics, hybrid art-forms or the role of music technology in live performance. Individual groups may decide to focus on traditional acoustic or amplified electronic instrumentation; the specific agenda of each performance, and the technical parameters necessary, are negotiated with module tutors. The wording of the module title is intended to promote as broad, inclusive, and overlapping a definition of composition/performance/improvisation as is possible; students may utilise all relevant forms of repertoire, but significant emphasis is placed on creative interpretation. Summative assessment is through performance, critical reflection and peer assessment.

     
  • This optional module will consider music from a psychological standpoint, with emphasis on experimental psychology. It considers the diverse levels of engagement we have with music by examining our experience of music including: learning music, memorising music, composing, performing and improvising. Students will be exposed to current theories of music psychology. Themed lectures will introduce key topics, followed by student-led discussion workshops which will provide the opportunity for students to reflect and discuss issues. Assessment will be through an applied project which involves collecting empirical data in a chosen field via observation and/or questionnaires and submitting a critical assessment of the data (30%), and, an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor (70%).

     
  • This module is a level 6 optional module for both Music and Music Technology students. It calls upon the knowledge and skills which students have developed at levels 4 and 5 of their programme and provides an opportunity for them to work to a high academic and professional standard. Students will learn how to plan, develop and produce group studio recording projects and how to position them in terms of genre, audiences, marketing and the music business. The final outcomes are group master recordings, supported by individual research and documentation.  Presentations and seminar sessions will provide the opportunity for formative feedback on the projects. In the lectures and seminars, the historical and contemporary roles of producers, recording engineers, composers/arrangers, session musicians, marketing and the music business will be analysed and evaluated, as well as the influence of technology on music creation and dissemination of work. Lectures and seminars will include group discussion, and students will be encouraged week by week to participate by bringing in audio and audio and visual materials that illustrate lecture topics. Lecture materials will be provided on StudySpace.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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