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  • Music Education MA

Music Education MA

Why choose this course?

This Music Education MA course is designed to both broaden and refine the knowledge, teaching practices, and research skills of both current and prospective music educators. You will have the opportunity to study major issues in international music education research and practices, consider issues in the UK system of music education, engage with London community and school music settings, and undertake an independent research study project.

You'll have access to our unique facilities. In partnership with world-famous record producer Tony Visconti, the British Library and Science Museum, the Visconti Studio comprises of a 300m² octagonal live room stocked with rare and vintage recording equipment.

As part of the broader musical community, you will be able to enhance your performance skills by participating in the University's ensembles, or by taking one of our optional modules.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Day and evening September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement Day and evening plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years Day and evening September 2020
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • You will develop critical analysis of music education practices, theory and research.
  • You will have access to practical teaching experiences while engaged with London schools and community music settings.
  • You will have access to seminars by leaders in music education and attend music education conferences.

What you will study

Your core studies will encompass key research and practice issues in music teaching and learning.

Through devising, delivering and evaluating your music education research project, you will develop and enhance your skills as both a practitioner and researcher. Alongside this you can choose from a variety of option modules and develop new skills to exploit in your own teaching.

You'll need to take all four compulsory modules, totalling 150 credits. You can then choose a further 30-credit optional module, to total 180 credits altogether.

Modules

Additional year

The core modules will develop your research, project planning, teaching and development skills in preparation for your major project, while receiving guidance from a specialist tutor.

The curriculum is enriched by our eclectic view of musical styles and genres, exploiting the diversity of a repertoire that encompasses Western classical music, popular and world music.

Core modules

Constructing Music Education in the UK

30 credits

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.  You 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 DBS checking (and if necessary, ethics clearance),  or alternatively, will be based on student peer teaching.

International Music Education: Psychology, Culture and Philosophy

30 credits

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.

Major Project

60 credits

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.

Researching Music

30 credits

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 (may vary from year to year)

Advanced Production of Popular Music

30 credits

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.

Composing and Marketing Popular Music

30 credits

The module is designed to give you a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in popular music composition, and to equip you with the faculties to produce work of a professional standard. You will learn compositional techniques applicable to a range of popular music genres and will employ these to enhance your 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. You will examine music industry models in an historical context, exploring how practices are evolving through the advent of digital technology. You 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. You will be assessed on a portfolio of work including a project that demonstrates the marketing and promotion of one of their popular music compositions.

Critical Reflection on Musical Performance

30 credits

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.

Music and Technology in Education

30 credits

You will examine music pedagogy and the use of specialist and inclusive technologies at different phases of education (early years, primary, secondary, FE), in diverse settings and across genres. Content draws from aspects of the psychology of music and didactics and will include specific approaches to the teaching of composition, performance and music production using studios and DAWs. You will either gain experience in a work placement or take the opportunity to research and develop new ways in which music and technology can be used for education, play, therapy and/or enhanced accessibility in a specified setting.

Performance Studies

30 credits

This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other level 7 Music programmes. 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.

Special Study: Arranging and Scoring

30 credits

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.

Special Study: Jazz Studies

30 credits

This module is optional at level 6 for students of Popular Music. The module aims to develop your ability to recognise features of a range of jazz styles within a historical context and to put them into practice. Characteristic elements of jazz, including structure, harmony, melody, rhythm and improvisational practice, will be studied and applied in performance.

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa. 

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2018 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,230 in September 2019. Students commencing the course in September 2019 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2020 (provisionally £1,350). 

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement. 

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A good honours degree in music from either the UK or abroad (this may be in a specialist field such as popular music, music education or music technology). Typical entry qualifications are an honours degree in music at 2.2 or above (2.1 preferred).
  • We may ask applicants to submit an essay as evidence of strength in written work.
  • Where an applicant can produce evidence of relevant experiential learning (eg work as a professional performer/composer or substantial experience as a music educator), it may be possible to consider a good honours degree in a subject other than music or advanced study in a conservatoire (which has not led to a degree) in lieu of a music degree.

Teaching and assessment

This course includes two dedicated music education modules encompassing current issues, practices and research from a UK and international perspective.

You will develop and implement a teaching and learning project within an educational setting and the Kingston community and undertake a substantial research project on a topic of your choice.

You have the opportunity to develop and enhance your skills as a practitioner by devising, delivering and evaluating a music education project.

Assessment is primarily through written and other assignments that will help you hone your presentation and analytical skills.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, field visits, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 12% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 140 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1660 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises of practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation).

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 91%
  • Practical: 9%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, the core music education course normally enrols 25-30 students and lecture sizes are normally 25-30. However this can vary academic year.

Other music modules may enroll a lower number, while the shared research modules for all Master's students may enroll up to 60.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £7,500
  • MA part time £4,125

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £16,600
  • MA part time £9,130

Facilities

Music courses at Kingston University are designed to provide a mixture of practical, theoretical and academic learning, with the main focus being on creativity through composition or performance.

We are not genre specific - you will study a broad range of music.

Our proximity to London means that, alongside Kingston's excellent facilities, you can also benefit from easy access to the capital's musical resources.

The Coombehurst complex

As a music student, your studies will be based in the Coombehurst complex, located in the leafy parkland of our Kingston Hill campus.

Coombehurst House, Court, Lodge and the Visconti Studio offer a range of teaching and professional studio facilities and practice rooms.

There are five recording studios, a computer suite with iMac workstations, audio and video editing facilities, and band rehearsal rooms.

Our flagship facility, the Visconti Studio is an analogue/digital hybrid studio with a 300-square metre octagonal live room, stocked with vintage and rare recording equipment (Studer, Neve, Neumann, Universal Audio, Roland Space Echo).

The tape-based studio also features a unique collection of instruments including a Mellotron, a Hammond organ with Leslie cabinet, and a Steinway concert grand piano.

Explore some of the Music department in our virtual tour.

Instrument collection

The department owns an extensive collection of instruments, including around 30 pianos, a harpsichord, stage pianos, drum kits and orchestral and classroom instruments. We also have a double-size Javanese gamelan and a set of djembe drums.

Loans system

We operate an online loans system that allows students to book out a wide range of recording and performing equipment and instruments. Room bookings can also be made through this system, and the studios can be used 24 hours a day.

Music making at Kingston

The Performing Arts and Community Engagement (PACE) programme at Kingston offers an inclusive platform on which students, staff, alumni and members of the local community come together through the performing arts. It encompasses all possible combinations of music, dance and drama.

Music in the library

The Nightingale Centre (library and learning resources centre) on the Kingston Hill campus is home to the music library, which holds an extensive collection of books, anthologies, scores, sheet music, periodicals, and audio and video recordings.

The University also subscribes to an excellent range of e-resources for music, including Grove Music Online, RILM and the Naxos online recordings catalogue, which are accessible from any university workstation.

After you graduate

You will graduate prepared for a career in music education, and for progression to a management role. This course is also excellent preparation for further study, such as PhD programmes. Recent graduate destinations for this course include a wide range of educational settings in the UK and around the globe as well as in further teacher education programmes including PhD study and PGCE.

The high level of research and transferable skills you acquire during your studies also makes careers in the wider commercial and business environments available to you.

What our students say

My experience on the MA in Music Education was a completely positive one. Having had a long break from formal education, I was keen to study again as I had set myself the goal of achieving a postgraduate qualification.

I very much enjoyed all the modules I completed on the general side of the MA pathway, primarily because I was given quite a lot of scope to develop my knowledge in a way that suited me - especially the composing.

As to the specific modules of the Music in Education part of the MA, again I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all. This pathway offered me the opportunity away from the classroom environment to read, evaluate and discuss music education in the broad sense as well as the specific. I was encouraged to research areas of music education that were new to me as well as to develop my own particular passions culminating in my dissertation.

In short, the MA in Music Education course utterly changed my understanding and perception of music education and created a desire to do further research and study (at some point) towards a PhD.

Michael Stevenson

Research areas

Research in music encompasses creative work with a broad range of styles and methods as well as theoretical-analytical research into musical practices.

Postgraduate study
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