MMus Master of Music

A rigorously demanding course, the MMus degree offers an opportunity to develop your musicianship to a very high level in a range of subject areas. The School of Music and Performing Arts is a community of more than 600 students from foundation to doctorate level, dedicated to creating and recreating music, dance and drama; all contributing to the musical and performing arts life of the University, the city of Canterbury and the wider community in the south east of England. This vibrant community offers exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration as well as more specialised subject- specific work. The degree is offered either as a one year full-time, or two year part-time course.

You'll choose from one of the following independent study areas:

  • Performance (solo instrumental or vocal performance; a specialised saxophone performance pathway, led by John Harle, is also available)
  • Conducting
  • Composition/Creative Audio (eg acoustic composition, electroacoustic composition, popular song writing, sound art)
  • Research Project in a chosen area of musicology (eg music psychology, music education, historical musicology, contemporary musicology)

Your independent study choice is complemented by four core modules: Research Methods, Contextual Studies, Criticism and Analysis. These modules provide you with the research and critical skills necessary for success at Masters level, but also allow you to tailor your study to your individual strengths and interests, developing your knowledge of the research and context of your independent study area.

The music staff comprises resident and visiting specialists who contribute to the MMus through lectures, seminars, workshops and masterclasses. Performance and composition-based subjects are supported by a generous allowance of individual tuition. You'll also participate in a range of public performances and concert activity within the University and beyond.

Within the course, you'll take modules to a total of 180 credits, structured in the following way:

Your choice of ONE of the following Independent Study areas (60 credits):


The performance module is focused on your command of advanced instrumental or vocal technique. You will creatively and independently apply this through the development and presentation of musical performances of a professional standard. Your expertise will be informed by a critical awareness of stylistic approaches relevant to your instrument and genre of performance, and by a thorough knowledge of your specialist repertoire in its broader context. You will develop your approaches to audience engagement by communicating knowledge and skills relevant to your repertoire in the form of a lecture-recital and final public recital.


This module aims to develop advanced conducting technique. You will apply this technique in individual tutorials and workshops with a range of ensembles suitable to your chosen style, including instrumental and vocal ensembles. You will develop your technical and rehearsal skills, working towards the development and presentation of ensemble performances at a professional standard. Your work will be informed by a thorough knowledge of your repertoire, its context, and the stylistic approaches taken by conductors. You will communicate knowledge and skills relevant to your repertoire in the form of an assessed rehearsal and a final public recital.

Composition/Creative Audio

The module aims to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in original composition and/or creative audio to a sophisticated level. You’ll develop a portfolio of substantial and innovative composition/ sound projects exploring ambitious techniques, whatever your chosen genre. In all cases the emphasis is upon developing creativity and individuality, while securing a high professional level of technical, presentational and, if relevant, notational or programming competence.


By undertaking a research project you will develop your research skills both deeply and broadly in one sub-discipline of music studies. This may include, but may not be limited to: historical musicology; analysis; ethnomusicology; cultural study of music; music sociology; music aesthetics; music psychology; music, health and wellbeing; music education. Emphasis is placed on original thinking, planning and the professional implementation of strategies and methodologies. You will be assessed through an extended dissertation.


You'll also take these Core Modules, all of which are assessed through coursework:

Research Methods (20 credits)

A practical and theoretical introduction to a range of research methodologies relating to the study of music in performance, composition, and musicology; together with an introduction to issues in empirical research. It will introduce various types of research tools, and will enable you to use the internet and other information technology as resources in musical research. Develop knowledge and understanding of performance and composition as a research technique, deal with specific topics for research in the study of recordings of Western art music and acquire transferable skills in relation to researching and presenting academic work.

Contextual Studies (20 credits)

Contextual Studies offers you the opportunity to consider, present and discuss your specialist work in context. Relationships between performance, composition and related research areas will be articulated and explored as you draw explicit connections between your specialist area and the discipline as a whole. This module supports you in developing the ability to articulate and respond to critical debate among peers, in and beyond your specialist field.

Criticism (20 credits)

This module develops your critical ability to study your area of specialism amid the range of approaches to the study of music in the present day. Your approach will be based in your independent study choice but will also take in a variety of approaches presented by your peers.

Analysis (20 credits)

This module will equip you with the ability and methodological tools to analyse a range of music, and to interpret music in all of its forms. Examples will be selected from the specialisms of the students undertaking the programme.

And choose TWO of the following 20-credit options:

Aesthetics (20 credits)

This module explores several of the most essential and contemporary problems of musical aesthetics, locating them principally in the context of contemporary research and practice in music and contemporary musical practice in performance and composition. It considers issues of musical meaning and interpretation in relation to Western art music, including the roles of subjectivity, identity and society. You'll become familiar with the work of several important authors in musical aesthetics and twentieth-century continental philosophy and you will be able to apply these debates and positions to your own area of study. Assessment will be through coursework.

Music Psychology and Health (20 credits)

This module develops your awareness and application of methods and theories in areas of musicology that have an empirical aspect. This may include, but may not be limited to, music psychology, music and health and music education. These will be linked with the areas of study of the students undertaking the module. Assessment will be through coursework.

Performance Project (20 credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to develop creative approaches to performance in a range of professional settings. These may include, but may not be limited to, ensemble and choral rehearsals, accompaniment and historically-informed performance. Performance-related skills may include use of technology, style- or genre-based performance practice, historical performance practice, accompaniment, ensemble communication, musical interpretation and historical interpretation. You will design and realise your project in consultation with your tutor. Assessment will be through a workshop and a final project.

Creative Project (20 credits)

Your creative project equips you with the skills to develop creative approaches in a range of professional settings. These may include, but may not be limited to, improvisation, group composition, ensemble work, music in the community, music in education and studio work. Creative approaches may include issues of leadership, collaboration, professionalism and responding to client briefs, along with multimedia and interdisciplinary approaches (for example, visual art, film, lighting design, writing and acting). You will design and realise your project in consultation with the tutor. Assessment will be through a workshop and a final project.

Graduates of the MMus course typically go on to a range of careers which have included portfolio careers in music, performance and composition, working in a professional studio, music education and music research at PhD level.

The 2015/16 tuition fees for this course are:







Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated, and may be subject to an annual inflationary increase in every year where the course lasts more than one year.

Students may self-fund their course or a Sponsor may fund or part-fund. For further advice about funding your degree please visit

If you would like information about paying your fees, please contact For specific fee queries, please contact

Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may be available. View information about funding your postgraduate studies:

*Overseas fee scholarships may be available. For further information please contact or the International Office:

Public performance, portfolio of compositions, dissertation, coursework, presentation, lecture-recital.

The Larissa Lovelock Memorial Scholarship is available to outstanding graduates of Canterbury Christ Church University who have proceeded to postgraduate study.

The Canterbury Festival Composition prize is a cash award, available through open competition to students of composition in the School.

General Music Scholarships for extra development activities are available to students on the course by application to the Scholarships Committee.

Fact file


  • 1 year full-time
    2 years part-time

Entry requirements

  • A good honours degree (2:1 or higher) in music, or equivalent academic or professional experience. Applicants must be able to show that their background in their chosen independent study is sufficient for development at postgraduate level.
  • The selection of entrants is normally based on audition or interview in the School of Music and Performing Arts. Performance audition programmes should be approximately 20 minutes long, and demonstrate the breadth of your command of style and technique. Portfolios of creative or academic work should be of comparable scope and submitted in advance of interview.




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