Music Performance MMus

Why choose this course?

The course is ideal if you wish to become a professional performer or are an instrumental teacher looking to develop your performance skills and knowledge. This course develops performance skills across many musical genres, including western classical music, popular, and world music.

Through tuition masterclasses, recitals and ensemble participation, you will develop performance skills, critique your performances, and complete a performance-based project.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Day and evening September 2023
Part time 2 years Day and evening September 2023
Location Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • You will receive individual tuition on your instrument or voice from a professional performer.
  • Facilities include recording studios, rehearsal rooms, a synthesis/sampling lab, and the analogue/digital hybrid Visconti Studio with a 300m² octagonal live room and rare and vintage recording equipment.
  • Masterclasses and workshops are run by performers and composers. In close proximity to London's major concert venues, you will have access to live performances throughout the year.

The Art School Experience

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.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

Music Performance at Kingston

What you will study

You will cover issues of performance practice, aesthetics of music performance, analysis for performers, psychology of music performance, and performance presentation.

A range of option modules allows you to develop your skills in related topics, such as composition, conducting, arranging and ensemble performance.

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

You will have the opportunity to develop and enhance your performance skills through one-to-one tuition, group classes, workshops, recitals and ensemble participation.

You will also be asked to critique and evaluate your own performances, and will undertake a performance-based project.

Core modules

Critical Aspects of Performance Presentation

30 credits

This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other level 7 Music programmes. The module will consider the musical preparation and performance from a psychological perspective. This will include the psychology of performance presentation and musical learning and the psychology of performance anxiety. Practical strategies for developing strong mental health in relation to both areas will also be considered and in particular relaxation techniques and neuro-linguistic programming, a form of mental and practical rehearsal, will be investigated. Critical evaluation of performance and performance practice will also be addressed through the aesthetic analysis of a range of performances on video and consideration of issues such as the meaning and authenticity of the performance will be undertaken. The presentation of the student as a performer will also be addressed through the development of a promotional strategy and a folio of promotional materials including both a website and social media presence.

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.

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 online forum.

Optional modules (may vary from year to year)

Advanced Production of Popular Music

30 credits

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.

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.

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.

Live Sound and Event Management

30 credits

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.

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.

Special Study: Music Journalism

30 credits

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.

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.

Techniques and Technology for Composing for Film and Television

30 credits

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.

Please note

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • 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, performance or music technology). 
  • Where an applicant can produce evidence of relevant experiential learning (e.g. work as a professional performer, composer or producer), 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.
  • Applicants will be asked to submit an online portfolio of a link to a video-recorded performance of two works.

International

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.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

On the Music Performance MA, you'll be assessed in a variety of forms, including public performance recitals; a portfolio of presentational and promotional materials; essays, critiques, debates and critical reviews; and an extended project essay.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

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.

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 learning and teaching activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of learning and teaching

Type of learning and teaching
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 140 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1660 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises 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:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 82%
  • Practical: 18%

Feedback summary

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

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 20-25 students and lecture sizes are normally 25-30. However this can vary from year to year. Other music modules may enrol a lower number, while the shared research modules for all masters students may enrol up to 60.

Who teaches this course?

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • MMus full time £8,770
  • MMus part time £4,823

International 2023/24

  • MMus full time £17,700
  • MMus part time £9,735

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MMus full time £8,560
  • MMus part time £4,708

International 2022/23

  • MMus full time £17,200
  • MMus part time £9,460

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MMus full time £7,685
  • MMus part time £4,227

International 2021/22

  • MMus full time £16,800
  • MMus part time £9,240

Tuition fee information for future course years

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.

Funding and bursaries

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:

Additional costs

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.

Textbooks

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.

Computer equipment

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.

Photocopying and printing

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

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.

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 (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

The Music Performance MMus combines compositional and practical skills, alongside theoretical knowledge; graduates become well equipped for a broad range of careers, including:

  • performing professionally;
  • teaching in school;
  • higher education;
  • instrumental teaching;
  • outreach work; and
  • educational workshops.

What our students say

I can't speak highly enough of my time as a postgraduate at Kingston. For me, it was a time of not only discovery, but also rediscovery of a self that I had forgotten about, and had never really taken the time to explore when I was a student way back in the eighties.

As a mature student, with a family and work commitments, the staff were wonderfully friendly and supportive. The outcome of the course exceeded all my expectations, culminating in an exciting day at the Royal Albert Hall, where I celebrated my MA in great style with my octogenarian parents and eight year-old son.

Lis Lewis

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.

Course changes and regulations

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.