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Music BMus(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time W300 2017
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017

Why choose this course?

This course provides a thorough training in practical, creative, theoretical and academic areas of music while enabling you to develop specialist skills in a range of topics. We have particular strengths in composition and performance, and aim to teach as much as possible through practical workshops and hands-on experience. There are no restrictions on genres.

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What you will study

In Year 1, you will learn key musical and study skills while developing your specialist composition and/or performance work. You will have the opportunity to work collaboratively, producing music in a variety of contexts and styles. You will also have access to solo performance modules in which you will receive individual tuition.

In Year 2, you will continue to develop your creative skills in composition and/ or performance alongside a historical and analytical exploration of music. You will learn key research skills, as well as practical skills in organising events. A core module focuses on careers in the music industry, and you will have the opportunity to broaden your experience through an industry work placement.

Year 3's key module is the Individual Project, which enables you to undertake your choice of special study supported by personal tutorials or individual instrumental lessons. You will also attend research seminars given by visiting speakers, and will choose modules from a range of topics to further develop your musical interests.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module introduces students to essential skills in musical notation, aural awareness and western music theory which will be required throughout the programme. Students will examine, through both aural and written tasks, the ways in which melody, harmony, rhythm, texture and form are used in a variety of musical genres and styles (covering popular and classical musics). These fundamental concepts in music theory will be explored through listening, score analysis, notation, keyboard skills, MIDI sequencing and score reading. There is a focus on the applied use of music theory, in which students create music (by composition, performance, arrangement) and critique music (by aural recognition, identification and analysis). Students will be required to notate music accurately both by hand and utilising computer notation software. Short exercises will be set throughout each teaching term, and a number of these will be submitted within a portfolio for formal assessment.

  • In this module, writing and research skills will be developed including CV writing and employability skills. The development of musical ideas through the study of a range of topics spanning the history of Western music from the Medieval to the present day. The evolution of music history and compositional philosophies will be explored focusing on the analysis of specific compositions and examining current issues in musicology. Teaching will be a mix of lectures and discussion-based seminars. Assessment will be by a portfolio of written work and on-line quizzes.

  • Music is, for the most part, a collective activity. This module will provide level 4 students with the opportunity to engage in group-based performance projects and reflect critically on the outcomes. Students will create and present a minimum of two large-scale events designed to build team identity and introduce them to collaborative techniques, methods of assembling resources and co-ordinating participation which will extend their skills and develop their versatility as musicians. The course will introduce students to work-concepts and theories of competence/communication based on contemporary technologies and selected non-western traditions such as the Javanese gamelan and/or West African djembe drumming. Assessment will comprise the presentation of the events students have prepared and a Learning Journal which includes a Critical Review of one of them.

  • Students taking this module will work on a folio of compositions based on ideas they generate themselves and also develop specific compositional techniques which will be explored in more focused assignments. Issues surrounding the use of instruments and the effective notation of scores and performing materials will also be covered and a wide range of different compositional styles will be encouraged.

  • This module provides the opportunity to develop musical creativity through the study of performance. Access is restricted to those who have achieved ABRSM grade 8 on their instrument or voice or to those who can demonstrate equivalent skills. Students will receive 12 hours of individual instrumental/vocal lessons supported by 22 hours of lectures and workshops on aspects of performance practice, presentation and the assessment of performance. The development of strong and robust performing techniques is a requirement of this route.

  • This module provides students with an opportunity to study both performance and composition. Six hours of individual tuition are attached to the module in addition to eleven hours of performance lectures and workshops and twenty-two hours of composition lectures and workshops. Students will continue to develop strong technical skills in both performance and composition alongside being introduced to a range of topics related to musical performance and composition including assessment skills, elements of performance practice, specific techniques for generating and organising musical materials and the presentation of both performance and composition work. Access to this module requires ABRSM grade 8 or equivalent standard to have been achieved on the student's chosen instrument or voice.


Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This module will develop a wide range of practical musical skills that are required by professional musicians in a variety of contexts; these include aural skills, music analysis, and improvisation. A range of analytical techniques will be examined through the study of a wide repertoire of classical, popular, and contemporary music. Practical workshops will develop improvisation and aural skills. A range of different approaches to improvisation will be explored, including Jazz, Soundpainting and free improvisation. Analytical techniques to be covered may include structural analysis, motivic and harmonic analysis, analysis which informs  improvisation, and of non-tonal music. Aural teaching will focus on aural analysis but will also include melodic and harmonic recognition, rhythm, texture, comparative performance and formal structure. The exploration of improvisation allows the theoretical work in this module to be put into practice. Assessment for this module is through a class aural test a folio of analyses, and an improvisation.

  • Students will have the opportunity to learn about significant turning points in music history and to develop their writing skills. Appropriate analytical strategies will be used to situate musical examples in social, political and artistic contexts. Students will write for different purposes and in different styles (academic, journalistic, online discussion) on contemporary and topical music issues.

  • This module is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the employment opportunities available to Music and Creative Music Technologies graduates and to develop skills in project management. Students will be introduced to a range of administrative, planning and marketing skills, and learn to use appropriate professional language. Students will also explore ways of identifying and accessing career opportunities in the Arts. The module is taught as a series of lectures, seminars, practical exercises and a work placement.

  • This module provides the opportunity for students to further develop compositional skills and refine their personal voice, with an emphasis on contemporary techniques and styles. Engagement with a wide range of musical styles in order to broaden understanding of more complex compositional issues is encouraged, this may include: alternative methods of notation; large-scale structuring principles; interactivity and conceptual models in composition. Technical, aesthetic and stylistic aspects of compositional work will be developed alongside an awareness of context both historical and philosophical. A direct collaboration with a performer to produce a new bespoke piece will be a feature of one of the projects.

  • This module explores audio post production processes including ADR, sound design & effects and Foley. Students will develop flexible composing skills to enable them to be able to write in a variety of different musical styles and genres as required. Balancing the final mix of a film soundtrack will also be covered, including production dialogue, ADR, effects and sound design, Foley and music composition. Students on this route will initially engage with the music and sound aspects of post production audio in isolation, before combining the two together and dealing with the balancing and mixing of a complete soundtrack.

  • This module is open to both Music and Creative Music Technologies students. Twelve hours of individual instrumental/vocal tuition are provided in addition to twenty-two hours of lectures and workshops. Students will be invited to address a range of topics related to musical performance including engaging with the avant-garde in a range of genres and experimenting with performing methods and traditions. For part of the course, performers will be paired with composers and will commission pieces from their partners, negotiating the creation of a bespoke piece designed to exploit and stretch their full range of performing skills. They will also further develop skills in delivering and assessing performance, performance practice and presentation.

  • This module looks at a range of popular musics, analyses the techniques used in writing and performing them and provides the opportunity for students to develop their own songwriting and performing skills in workshops. Assessment will be through the presentation of a folio of songs in the form of recordings and lead sheets and live performances of them.

  • This module will explore what sound is and how we hear it, methods we have for creating and processing it and how sound is organised in a musical context. Drawing from both experimental and popular backgrounds, this module will examine cultural, technical, and aesthetic considerations in different types of sound art. Students will explore this area from both practical and theoretical perspectives, including an introduction to advanced methods of synthesis and other forms of audio processing. The assessment in this module is via a portfolio of practical and theoretical work demonstrating students’ grasp of the theoretical issues, their ability to apply their knowledge and skill creatively, and engage in research. The assessment may include technical exercises, short tests, presentations, and creative work.


Year 3 (Level 6)

  • Students will produce a substantial piece of work in one of the following pathways: performance, composition, dissertation, music technology. Supported by group pathway meetings and individual tutorials, students will work towards the major project of their choice and produce a project plan and reflective summation. Students’ ideas will further be challenged through a series of research seminars on cutting-edge music topics on which they will produce written work. 

  • 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 module will explore the complete audio post-production process in detail, including ADR, sound design, sound effects and Foley. Students will develop skills to demonstrate the flexibility to compose across a variety of different musical styles and genres.  They will also learn to effectively balance the final mix of a film soundtrack, including ADR, sound effects and sound design, Foley and music composition.  Students will also be encouraged to explore the relationship between audio and video in non-narrative film and will have the opportunity to work creatively in this area through their research project and associated creative work.

  • 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 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 on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

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Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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