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Music (BMus)

  • UCAS code: W302
  • Next intake: September 2021
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Entry Year

A violinist and a pianist.

Why study this course

This programme is the ideal choice if you want to focus solely on music. It will allow you to specialise and develop your own musical interests whilst acquiring a solid, broad-based education in aesthetics, analysis, composition, ethnomusicology, music history and performance.

Of all our courses, the BMus offers the most in-depth study, allowing you to spend all your time specialising in music. It also enables you to take composition and/or recital as major projects in year three, which are available only as minor projects on our BA programmes.

As well as studying a range of academic modules, 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 take a Practical Musicianship or Recital 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; the John Bird lectures presented by visiting academics; and a series of careers in music talks which provide opportunities for contact with active music professionals.
  • The opportunity to undertake major projects in composition, performance, musicology, analysis, and ethnomusicology in year three.
  • Option 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

Our undergraduate programmes allow you to specialise and develop your own musical interests

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 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.

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

Year one provides the foundations for you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.

The five core 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 is also opportunity to select optional modules in composition, music history, and ethnomusicology.

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
Elements of Tonal Music 1MU112520 credits
The Full WorksMU112820 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 2MU122720 credits
Practical Musicianship 1MU131410 credits
Repertoire StudiesMU131720 credits

Year two

In year two, the course is more advanced and focuses on more specialist topics, encouraging a greater level of concentration on areas of particular interest to you.

You will have the opportunity to consolidate your strengths while maintaining activity in a breadth of disciplines, choosing your modules from at least three of 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.

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

You choose again from at least three of the four subject groups, and may pursue up to two of the five 30-credit major academic projects in musicology, ethnomusicology, analysis, composition, or performance. The 30-credit options in performance (Recital) and composition (Composition III) are only open to students on BMus pathways.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Challenging Tradition: Counterpoint from Bartok to BartschMU312020 credits
Dissertation (Autumn)MU312220 credits
Composition 3 (Autumn)MU312320 credits
Recital (Autumn)MU312420 credits
Music Analysis: Extended Essay (Autumn)MU312520 credits
Study Abroad (Autumn)MU312660 credits
Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316920 credits
Women in 19th Century MusicMU321220 credits
Dissertation (Spring)MU322220 credits
Composition 3 (Spring)MU322320 credits
Recital (Spring)MU322420 credits
Music Analysis: Extended Essay (Spring)MU322520 credits
Study Abroad (Spring)MU322660 credits
Jazz, Culture and PoliticsMU328720 credits
EnsembleMU329220 credits
Practical Musicianship 4 (Performance)MU334420 credits
DissertationMU335140 credits
Composition 3MU335340 credits
RecitalMU335640 credits
Project in Music AnalysisMU335740 credits
Project in EthnomusicologyMU335840 credits

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. This increases to 24 hour lessons in the final year, for BMus students taking the Recital module.

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

25%

Guided independent study

75%

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

30%

Practical exams

14%

Coursework

56%

Year 2

Written exams

38%

Practical exams

15%

Coursework

47%

Year 3

Written exams

17%

Practical exams

23%

Coursework

61%

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 our modules 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
  • 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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