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This course is ideal if you have wide musical interests. A core module introduces research methods and a broad range of issues in music. You will be able to choose from an extensive list of option modules, with subjects based in music education, performance, composing for media, and music production.
Through a major project, you will focus on a particular area of your choice. This project may be written or may be a composition folio.
As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.
Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines, enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.
The core modules on this Music MA concentrate on research methods and colloquia, and will introduce you to a broad range of issues in music. Subjects are based in music education, performance, composing for media, and music production.
You'll need to take two compulsory modules, totalling 90 credits.
You can then choose a further three optional modules, to total 180 credits altogether.
The major project offers you the opportunity to focus on an area of your own choice and specialise through written work or composition. You can choose from a wide range of possible topics in composition, production, performance, and education relating to your own interests. In addition, you can join any of the variety of University ensembles or form your own ensemble.
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 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 online forum.
This module 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.
This is a Level 6 optional module and will see students collaborating on the creation of music as part of a production team. The writing, performing, recording, mixing and mastering of music to a professional standard will be studied, as well as its distribution, marketing and retail. Part of the module will feature how to pitch music to replicate the real-world scenario of securing funding / seeking collaborative partners in the creative industries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This module provides hands-on experience in live sound reinforcement and event management, covering monitoring, lighting and projection, stage design, professional conventions, working with performers and promoters, and logistics. Students will train on analogue and digital consoles and gain experience engineering live sound at events held in a variety of external venues. Students will put on shows and organise a small tour, working with local venues and promoters. There will be opportunities to work with local partners Banquet Records, The Rose Theatre and The Fighting Cocks.
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.
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.
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.
This module explores London culture through research and writing music criticism, journalism, researching a scene and examining case studies. You will publish the materials created and build a unique Kingston University archive. You will also have the possibility to create radio journalism along with students from courses in other areas.
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.
Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.
A 2:2 or above 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).
We may ask applicants to submit an essay as evidence of strength in written work, and applicants who wish to specialise in composition in the Major Project must submit a folio of three representative compositions.
Where an applicant can produce evidence of relevant experiential learning (eg work as a professional performer or composer), 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.
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.
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Our Music MA allows you to design your own programme of study to match your interests, strengths and career aspirations. You select three optional modules from a wide range of music topics and/or closely related subjects.
You undertake a variety of forms of assessment, including essays, critiques, position papers, ensemble performances, a portfolio of compositions/recordings, practical projects, recording projects, presentations, research papers and a dissertation.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
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.
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.
Year 1: 12% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of learning and teaching
Please note: the above breakdowns are a guide calculated on core modules only. Depending on optional modules chosen, this breakdown may change.
Assessment typically comprises exams (e.g. test or exam), practical (e.g. presentations, performance) and coursework (e.g. 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.
Depending upon modules chosen:
Type of assessment
Please note: the above breakdowns are a guide calculated on core modules only. Depending on optional modules chosen, this breakdown may change.
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
To give you an indication of class sizes, these will vary depending upon which options you choose from 10 to 30; however this can vary by academic year. The shared research module for all masters students may enroll up to 60.
You'll be taught through lectures, workshops and seminars by highly experienced academic staff who are active performers, composers and producers. Classes run throughout the day and evening, with regular concerts, gigs and recitals taking place during the academic year. Music industry guest speakers and performers, brought to the University via a series of masterclasses, will be a significant feature of this course and help enhance the process of learning.
Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
Tony Visconti's name is synonymous with ground-breaking music. He is one of record production's great innovators who has worked with some of the most dynamic and influential names in pop, from Marc Bolan/T-Rex and Thin Lizzy, to David Bowie, The Damned and U2. In the Visconti Studio he is working with students and Kingston University staff, as well as invited artists, to produce records.
If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.
If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
If you are a UK student, resident in England and are aged under the age of 60, you will be able to apply for a loan to study for a postgraduate degree. For more information, read the postgraduate loan information on the government's website.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.
In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.
Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.
Entrance fees for museums and exhibitions are estimated at £50. You could incur travel costs which will vary according to the location.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Nightingale Centre (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.
A high proportion of Music MA graduates go on to work in the music profession itself, in related areas or in teaching - or enrol for further study (eg PGCE, MPhil or PhD). For those students who are already in employment and undertake the course part-time, the award may accelerate promotion and open up new opportunities.
The nature of Kingston's Music MA, which combines theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a broad musical curriculum, means graduates are equipped for a wide range of careers, including in:
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.
I chose the MA at Kingston because it allowed me to tailor my course so I could study exactly what I wanted to – no other university I looked at was as flexible as Kingston for this. The staff are really helpful and the Visconti studio is a brilliant place to record.
Kingston University is a great place to develop as a musician, and I've had a fantastic time here.
In partnership with world-famous record producer Tony Visconti, the British Library and Science Museum, the Visconti Studio comprises a 300m² octagonal live room stocked with rare and vintage recording equipment. Students can access this studio to develop skills in analogue sound engineering and tape-based record production.
Research in music encompasses creative work with a broad range of styles and methods as well as theoretical-analytical research into musical practices.
The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.
Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.
Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.