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Music (BA)

  • UCAS code: W300
  • Next intake: September 2021
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

A violinist and a pianist.

Why study this course

This flexible and challenging programme will allow you to specialise and develop your own musical interests while acquiring a solid, broad-based education in aesthetics, analysis, composition, ethnomusicology, music history and performance.

As well as the key foundations of an education in music, this programme offers you a flexible and diverse range of modules. You may also be able to study topics in other Schools, subject to availability. If you would prefer to focus solely on music, consider our BMus course (which includes composition and performance as third-year major projects) as an alternative.

You will also be encouraged to join our School-led musical ensembles, representing a wide range of musical repertoires and traditions.

Distinctive features

  • You will receive fully-funded instrumental tuition on your principal study instrument if you are taking a Practical Musicianship module.
  • The Business of Music modules offer insight into the working world, as well as the opportunity to undertake a short work placement.
  • The School hosts regular composition workshops; performance masterclasses; a regular concert series; John Bird lectures presented by visiting academics; and a series of careers in music talks which provide opportunities for contact with active music professionals.
  • Opportunity to broaden your study and select modules from other subjects.
  • The opportunity to undertake major projects in musicology, analysis, and ethnomusicology in year three and minor projects in composition and performance.
  • You will have the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad in your second year.

Where you'll study

School of Music

Our lively, community-led School offers rigorous musical training and rich opportunities for performance, composition and music studies.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4392
  • Marker31 Corbett Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EB

Entry requirements

AAB-BBB. Must include Music. Applicants without an A-level in Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory).

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Music. Applicants without a BTEC in Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory).

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 6 in HL Music. Applicants without HL Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory).

Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.

Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade C/4 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.
- grade 8 Music Practical in an instrument or voice.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Interview or selection process

After you apply, we will invite you to attend one of five audition and interview days, which are held from November to February.

At the audition
Auditions are conducted by members of staff. We will ask you to sing or perform on your principal instrument for about five minutes. You can choose your repertoire, and we will base our assessment of your performance on overall expressive and technical standards.

A short interview will follow in which we may ask you about the music you performed, your musical interests and experience. The aim isn’t to test your factual knowledge or judge your likes and dislikes; our interviews allow us to get to know you better and give you the opportunity to ask questions and show us what you’re interested in.

The final decision of the admissions tutor is based on an interview report and the UCAS application.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2021/22)

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.

Students from outside the EU (2021/22)

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

Other than your principal study instrument, you will not need any specific equipment.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

 

This is a three-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. Each year is divided into an autumn and a spring semester and has a modular structure. Most modules are worth 10 or 20 credits.  

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Year one

The first year in Music provides the foundations for you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.

Available modules focus on basic skills of literate musicianship: harmony and counterpoint, practical musicianship, historical and stylistic awareness of musical genres and traditions, and skills in research and writing about music. There are also modules available in composition, music history, and ethnomusicology.

You will take a minimum of 80 credits and a maximum of 120 credits in Music in year one. Students on this course can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.

Note that some modules are prerequisites, providing essential preparation for more advanced modules if you wish to pursue them in later years.

To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join the many ensembles run by the School of Music or led by students. School ensembles explore a variety of classical, jazz, contemporary, and non-Western repertoires and traditions.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Composition 1AMU110710 credits
Ethnomusicology 1: Music in Human LifeMU112410 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 1MU112520 credits
A History of Popular MusicMU112610 credits
The Full WorksMU112820 credits
Composition 1BMU120810 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 2MU122720 credits
From Page to Stage: Dramaturgy in Musical TheatreMU123010 credits
Practical Musicianship 1MU131410 credits
Repertoire StudiesMU131720 credits
Practical Contribution Portfolio IMU131810 credits

Year two

In year two, study is more advanced and you will have the opportunity to consolidate your strengths while maintaining activity in a breadth of disciplines, choosing from four groups: composition and electroacoustic studies, written and practical musicianship, analytical and critical skills, and historical studies.

Our year two Business of Music modules are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and give an opportunity for a short placement in an area related to music or the arts, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.

You will take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year two, and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Opera WorldsMU211110 credits
Opera WorldsMU211220 credits
Music Sounded Out: Interpreting Oral and Recorded Genres and FormsMU212220 credits
OrchestrationMU216120 credits
The Business of Music 1MU216410 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830MU216710 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830MU216820 credits
Closed RecitalMU217610 credits
Reading Film SoundMU217910 credits
Composition 2MU218010 credits
Reading Film SoundMU218120 credits
Music in France Since 1900MU221110 credits
Music in France Since 1900MU221220 credits
Tonal Common Practice: Styles and TechniquesMU221420 credits
Studio Techniques 1: Midi and SynthesisersMU223120 credits
Ethnomusicology 2: Music in Cross-Cultural PerspectiveMU227120 credits
The Business of Music 2MU227220 credits
Closed RecitalMU227610 credits
Composition 2MU228010 credits
Analysing 20th Century MusicMU229120 credits
Composition 2MU232020 credits
Practical Musicianship 2MU235810 credits
Practical Contribution Portfolio 2MU236010 credits
Study Abroad 1MU241110 credits
Study Abroad 2MU241210 credits
Study Abroad 3MU241310 credits
Study Abroad 5MU241420 credits
Study Abroad 4MU241510 credits
Study Abroad 6MU241620 credits
Study Abroad 7MU241720 credits

Year three

In year three, you choose again from the four subject groups, and may pursue up to two of the three 30-credit major academic projects: Dissertation, Project in Ethnomusicology, or Project in Music Analysis.

You will take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year three and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.

Unlike BMus students, BA students do not have the options of a 30-credit composition portfolio or public performance, though they may complete a shorter 20-credit composition portfolio (Composition IV) and/or an ‘open’ recital in front of examiners and an invited audience (Practical Musicianship IV).

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

You will be taught by academic staff with expertise across composition, performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, and popular music.

Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School on your principal study instrument if you are taking a Practical Musicianship module. This includes accompaniment at your final recital. You will receive 24 half-hour lessons over the course of the year.

We use a range of teaching and learning styles, including lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, individual tutorials, ensemble instrumental tuition, rehearsals and independent study.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

25%

Guided independent study

75%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

27%

Guided independent study

73%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

22%

Guided independent study

78%

Placements

0%

How will I be supported?

At the start of each year you will be given a guide to module aims, learning outcomes, methods of assessment, module syllabuses, and reading and listening lists. Your allocated personal tutor will be able to provide advice and guidance on module choices and you will have regular meetings with them.

For the final-year projects you will have a supervisor to monitor progress and provide individual consultations by arrangement.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Year 1

Written exams

32%

Practical exams

13%

Coursework

56%

Year 2

Written exams

35%

Practical exams

15%

Coursework

50%

Year 3

Written exams

8%

Practical exams

15%

Coursework

77%

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’, such as:

  • advanced literacy
  • computer literacy
  • critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice)
  • oral and written communication skills
  • coping with uncertainty/complexity
  • creativity and innovative thinking
  • leadership, teamwork and self-management, embedded in practical musical activities
  • identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2016/17, 100% of the School of Music’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016/17).

The skills developed within a music degree help our students to progress to a wide range of careers, both within and beyond the music profession.

Graduates have gone on to careers with the BBC, Arts Councils, Glyndebourne Opera, English National Opera, universities, Oxford University Press, the National Trust, and London Symphony Orchestra, along with a range of other industrial, commercial, educational, and charitable organisations.

Employability skills are embedded in modules at the School of Music so that you will learn both music-specific and academic skills that are transferable to other domains, especially the workplace. Our second-year modules on the Business of Music are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and provide an opportunity to undertake a short placement in a music-related or arts-related area.

Our annual series of talks on Careers in Music offer a great chance to meet professionals active in a range of fields such as performance, music education, music journalism, arts and artist management, production and licensing, and composing for media.

Graduate careers

  • Musician
  • Teacher
  • Music journalist
  • Producer
  • Arts Administrator
  • Music Librarian

Placements

Year two modules on the Business of Music I/II give an opportunity for a short placement, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 1% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

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