BA single honours Music, BA 2019/20

Year of entry

Clearing places available

90% of our Music students were satisfied with the academic support on their course.

National Student Survey, 2018

The BA Music programme focusses predominantly on classical music and allows you to develop your skills in areas such as performance, composition and musicology. You can choose from a range of optional modules in areas such as community music, performance, composition for media and film, and music business.

You will also explore areas including:

  • music history and musicology
  • music theory and analysis
  • composition
  • music technology

You will gain the skills and knowledge needed to begin a career as a creative practitioner in a number of music industry roles such as instrumental tutor, composer, arranger, music journalist or researcher, as well as a range of other graduate jobs in arts administration or management. You may also consider training to teach in schools or further education, or continue your education by progressing on to Masters degree qualifications.

Why study this subject

The BA Music programme is a single honours programme designed for students with a background in classical music, and with an interest in the application of skills in the areas of performance, composition and musicology.  You can choose from a range of optional modules in order to focus on particular areas including performance, composition and musicology and there are aspects of study which also include popular and commercial music styles.  There will be opportunities to perform, compose and record music using specialist facilities which include performance rehearsal rooms, recording studios, Apple Mac suites and surround sound mixing studios.  The University is very well equipped for the teaching of music with buildings including the Maxwell Davies Building, St. Gregory’s Centre for Music and the University’s new Creative Arts building.  There are many opportunities for creative collaboration with students on other programmes in the School such as with the Commercial Music and the Creative Music Production & Technology programmes, as well as with Dance, Drama and Performing Arts students.

Why study this course at CCCU?

Situated halfway between London and mainland France, Canterbury is a UNESCO World Heritage City with a tradition of innovation in music. The choral tradition stretches back 1400 years and a host of internationally renowned, pioneering composers are tightly associated with the city across the centuries, including Thomas Tallis, Orlando Gibbons and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. In the 1960s and 70s, the city became famous for the Canterbury Scene, a form of progressive music bringing together pop, jazz, classical and electronic music, most famously associated with The Wilde Flowers, Caravan and Soft Machine. Between the 1990s and mid 2010s, the Sounds New Festival brought some of the biggest names in classical music to the city, including Arvo Pärt and Krysztof Penderecki and supported young composers from all over Europe with its International Composer Pyramid scheme.  

Founder member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and trailblazing electronic composer Daphne Oram taught at the University in the 1980s, and we honour her legacy at CCCU with a new Creative Arts Building —a catalyst for the next generations of musicians, producers and sound designers. The recently refurbished St Gregory’s Centre for Music boasts an impressive series of public concerts that have included performers from The Philharmonia, Voces8, John Harle, The Maggini and Sacconi string quartets, Mahan Esfahani, Margaret Fingerhut, David Owen-Norris and the ensemble of our own Prof. Robert Rawson, The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen, who have also performed extensively around Europe in concerts, recordings and radio broadcasts.

Top reason to choose this course

Music at the University is lucky to have a close association with Canterbury Cathedral, The Maggini Quartet and The Philharmonia Orchestra.   Our students have gone onto win BASCA Composer of the Year and a BAFTA for innovative game sound. In addition to the music community, you will also have the opportunity to work alongside students specialising in Dance, Drama and Technical Theatre, Game Design, and Radio, Film & Television and have the benefit of the expertise of professional staff who regularly conduct, perform or run their own ensembles, festivals or record labels. As well as the outstanding facilities in the Daphne Oram building, students will gain access to the St. Gregory’s Centre for Music (a beautiful professional concert space), the Maxwell Davies building (featuring a number of rehearsal and workshop spaces) and the Coleridge Annexe (featuring a unique 15.1 speaker array for surround sound mixing).

Canterbury is small city with a huge potential for you to make your mark. In short: we are starting a new Canterbury Sound full of creative musicians, and we’d like you to be part of it.

Course module structure
Year 1
Semester 1Semester 2
Theory, Style and Analysis Music History
Audio Sequencing and Recording Composition, Notation and Direction

Introduction to Performance 


Music Technology and Culture

Performance for Stage 


Commercial Music in Context

Year 2
Semester 1Semester 2
Musical Styles and Analysis Music and Culture
Options - two from list Options - two from list
  • Performance for Stage and Screen
  • Community Music
  • Music Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • Solo Performance
  • Introduction to Applied Music Psychology
  • Media Music
  • Independent Creative Project (Composition)
Year 3
Semester 1Semester 2
Professional Preparation Professional Portfolio

Options - two from list

  • Recorded Performance
  • Instrumental and Vocal Teaching
  • Film Music
  • Independent Project A

Options - two from list

  • Recital Performance
  • Music for Therapy and Wellbeing
  • Film Music Portfolio
  • Independent Project B

Alongside core modules which tend to focus on musicological topics of music history, theory and analysis, optional modules allow you to follow pathways in performance, aspects of composition and technology (Music Technology and Culture, Media Music, Independent Creative Project, Music Research Project, Film Music) and modules which have a focus on other aspects of music industry employability such as Community Music, Music Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, Applied Musicology Psychology, Instrumental & Vocal Teaching, and Music for Therapy & Wellbeing. In your third year the core Professional Preparation and Professional Portfolio modules allow you to concentrate on an area of personal interest on a topic of your choice agreed in collaboration with a tutor.

Year One (Level 4)

In the first year (level 4) you will study six 20-credit modules.  In semester 1 you take Theory, Style and Analysis and Audio Sequencing & Recording and choose an optional module from either Introduction to Performance or Music Technology & Culture.  In semester 2 you take two core modules in Music History and Composition, Notation & Direction and choose an optional module from either Performance for Stage or Commercial Music in Context.

Year Two (Level 5)

In the second year (level 5) you study six 20-credit modules.  In semester 1 you take a core module in Musical Styles and Analysis and two optional modules from Performance for Stage and Screen, Community Music, and Music Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.  In semester 2 you take one core module in Music and Culture and two optional modules from Solo Performance, Applied Music Psychology, Media Music, and Independent Creative Project (composition).

Year Three (Level 6)

In the third year (level 6) you study six 20-credit modules.  You take one core module in each semester: Professional Preparation in semester 1 and Professional Portfolio in semester 2.  Alongside these core modules you choose two optional modules in semester 1 (from Recorded Performance, Instrumental & Vocal Teaching,  Film Music and Independent Project A), and two optional modules in semester 2 (from Recital Performance, Music for Therapy & Wellbeing, Film Music Portfolio and Independent Project B).

Did you know

Our graduates are working in a range of careers.  Some of them discuss their experience since graduating here:

Our staff are all involved with professional practice as performers, composers, writers and producers.

Core Modules


Theory, Style and Analysis (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to familiarise students with tonal music theory, formal analysis and the more general foundation of music analysis, in the context of historical style and genre.

Audio Sequencing & Recording (20 credits)

This module is designed to provide students with a grounding in Apple’s LOGIC and the applications and techniques of MIDI and audio sequencing. The module will focus on commercial music recording and production methods and will relate specifically to the practical production of demo-format recordings

Music History (20 credits)

The module aims to develop a critical understanding of the concept of music’s social, political and cultural contexts. Taking a broadly sociological perspective, the module will examine practitioners, audiences and consumers of music through history and in a range of societies, and will investigate the social factors influencing the status of a particular musical work at a given time and place.

Composition, Notation & Direction (20 credits)

This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding of compositional techniques and to aid future employability in a range of musical contexts. It will cover a number of stylistic approaches including rhythm, harmony, form, notation and timbre, but will focus on students’ creativity and follow current creative industry practices to give offer a real world insight into professional composition. The module will take new musical ideas and apply them to workshops and rehearsals, where the students can actively take part in shaping the composition, direction, performance and recording of their works.


Musical Styles and Analysis (20 credits)

This module examines indicative works across a range of musical and historical periods, and from a range of places, in order to familiarise students with fundamental concepts and approaches to music history and repertoire. Progress toward a detailed understanding of a shorter list of set core works is enhanced through a variety of analytical approaches, including cultural, structural, harmonic and philosophical methods. There will also be a larger set of works covered during the module, with the aim of helping to establish a broader framework for the core works. The module aims to broaden and deepen understanding of music and will examine specific musical works from a range of styles and genres, concentrating particularly on those works regarded as part of a stylistic ‘canon’.

Music and Culture (20 credits)

This module aims to introduce students to a broad range of music in its cultural contexts. Aspects of this module include the development of a global and inclusive understanding of musicians and music-making; and developing students’ understanding of other cultures and the musical universals that bring people together. The module also includes the development of transferable skills such as effective academic writing, reflective writing, participation in discussion, and group work.  


Professional Preparation (semester 1)

This module will enable students to undertake the research necessary for an extensive portfolio in the Professional Portfolio module. The outcomes of this research activity can cover a broad area and may include, for instance, research towards a composition, research project or performance, but will crucially be focused upon preparing the students for engagement with the music industry or its surrounding academic context.  

Professional Portfolio (semester 2)

Building on the work generated within the Professional Preparation module, this module will enable students to develop their research into a substantial professional portfolio of composition, performance or critical writing. The work undertaken in this module should represent a significant development in the student’s chosen area of study and aims to fundamentally enhance students’ employability through its focus on creative industry/academic standards expected in the ‘real world’ context, both nationally and internationally.

Likely Optional Modules


Introduction to Performance 1 (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to enable students to develop skills in performance through the study of an instrument/voice.  Alongside the development of instrumental skills students will have a series of lectures that focus on the development of practical musicianship skills such as playing by ear, improvising, conducting and aural skills. Additionally, peer learning will feature within the module in order to begin to promote self-discipline, critical awareness, co-operation with other students and independent preparation.

Music Technology & Culture (20 credits)

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the historical and cultural context of various styles and genres within contemporary electronic music and sonic art. These will be considered by tracing the development of constituent sonic techniques and their relationship to current practices. In addition, recorded examples from each stage of development will be considered analytically in order to identify their salient characteristics and their relationship to other media and disciplines.

Performance for Stage (20 credits)

The Performance for Stage module aims to enable students to continue to develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Students will participate in a series of seminars focusing on individual development addressing issues such as performance anxiety, self-awareness, and communication. The module aims to encourage development and refinement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills on the students chosen instrument/s.

Commercial Music in Context (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the historical and cultural context of a range of styles and genres of commercial music.  These will be considered by tracing the development of constituent strands of music to the present day.  In addition, recorded examples from each style will be considered analytically in order to identify their salient characteristics and their relationship to other styles.  The module will focus on popular music since 1900 and will introduce a number of simple conceptual frameworks that will enable students to discuss popular music with more confidence and precision.


Performance for Stage and Screen (20 credits)

Building on the level four performance modules this module further develops skills in performance through the continued study of a specialist instrument/voice. The module begins to develop an understanding of performance practice for both stage and screen contexts.

Community Music (20 credits)

This module aims to provide students with an introduction to community music and the basic principles of teaching music in groups in schools and in community settings with participants of all ages. Students study theories of effective teaching and learning in formal, informal and non-formal settings and design music sessions that include a variety of musical activities with material from different musical genres.

Music Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students understanding of the creative, technological and managerial elements of the music business as an industry, becoming aware of key areas of the sector and specific expectations related to employability and career development.  It considers a wide range of music industry activities and career possibilities which may include focuses on music publishing, law & copyright, performance & recording management and the release, access and discovery of recorded music, for example.

Solo Performance (20 credits)

Building on the skills acquired in previous performance modules this module further develops skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument/voice.  The module focuses on the development of students as soloists or featured instrumentalists, with a continued emphasis on developing an understanding of industry expectations of musical performance practice.

Introduction to Applied Music Psychology (20 credits)

The module aims to introduce the students to a wide range of music psychology and music social psychology studies concerning how people make sense of music; how they develop specific musical skills such as improvisation and performance; and how they use music in their everyday lives. The students will explore different music psychology methodologies through a combination of theoretical and practical sessions on topics such as bodily and emotional responses to music, music and the brain, physical and psychological health in performing musicians, musical improvisation, musical identities, music and consumer behaviour and the effects of music on health and wellbeing of older people.

Media Music (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to give students an introduction to the skills, approaches and insights needed to produce music for various media.  Students will develop the ability to compose music that enhances narrative and moving images and will learn to engage those stylistic conventions and techniques most commonly encountered in bespoke media music.  Students will develop sequencing and arranging skills needed in the production of smaller-budget media music and will also be presented with opportunities to develop skills in sound design that may be used alongside or as an alternative to more traditional compositional techniques. 

Independent Creative Project (20 credits)

This module will enable students to undertake a creative project agreed with the tutor at the start of the module. The outcomes of this research activity can cover a broad area and may include, for instance, a composition portfolio, an album, sound work, installation, and/or software design project. The work will be supported by a reflective commentary in which students reflect upon their own goal setting and progress in tutorials and individual work.


Recorded Performance (20 credits)

This module has a particular focus on performance technique in recorded contexts such as in a recording studio or a concert hall.  As with previous performance modules, the study of a specialist instrument or voice is the central core activity. Students will develop necessary skills for competent recorded performance within a recording session.

Instrumental & Vocal Teaching (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ ability to analyse and reflect on their own instrumental or vocal expertise, in order to transfer knowledge and skills in a flexible and communicative way, mainly in one-to-one or small group teaching situations.  Students will study and evaluate models of teaching in their specialist fields, and investigating current research into traditional and contemporary modes of instrumental teaching.

Film Music

The module aims to give students a sophisticated understanding of the process of writing music for film. A historical survey of the process will introduce students to the development of the language of film music, film scoring techniques and to broader cultural and critical issues. The module will cover a variety of composers working in the industry with a focus upon the detail of influential works.

Recital Performance (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to further enable progression in the knowledge and skills gained within the Solo Performance and Recorded Performance modules.  Students will further develop skills in live performance in preparation for a recital, and the study of a specialist instrument or voice continues to be the central core activity.

Music for Therapy & Wellbeing (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ knowledge of the use of music for the enhancement of health, wellbeing and music education with vulnerable populations such as older people with dementia and Parkinson’s disease as well as children and young people with learning disabilities or behavioural problems. The module also aims to expand students’ understanding and awareness of central issues in relation to planning and leading music-making activities with older learners in palliative care and in the community through theory and in practice. Moreover, this module prepares musicians for further studies in music therapy.

Film Music Portfolio

Following on from Film Music, this module aims to give students a further understanding of the process of writing music for film aiming to further develop the understanding of the language of film music, film-scoring techniques and broader cultural and critical issues. Students will develop composition, production, and software techniques to a professional level, and apply these skills to the creation of music for film. Students will also be required to produce a show-reel of their work and online portfolio, ready to present to a potential client.

Independent Project A (20 credits)

This module will enable students to undertake the research necessary for an extensive creative or dissertation project in the Independent Project B module. The outcomes of this research activity can cover a broad area and may include, for instance, research towards a composition, dissertation or performance.  The module aims to enable students to develop a detailed, critical understanding of their chosen area of study, and to research, refine and present information, techniques, views and opinions in an academic fashion.   The work may be either creative with a practice-based focus or a dissertation.

Independent Project B (20 credits)

This module will enable students to continue to develop a creative project or dissertation based on research developed in the Independent Project A module or work that they would like to further develop from other level 6 semester one modules such as Individual Songwriting, Audio and Sound for Games, Instrumental and Vocal Teaching.  The work undertaken in this module should represent a significant development in the student’s chosen area of study and the module also aims to fundamentally enhance students’ employability through their focus on creative industry/academic standards.

The BA Music course prepares you for a career as a performer, scholar, composer and a well-rounded creative musician. Graduates have, for example, frequently gone on to work as freelance performers, to pursue post-graduate study and gain teaching certification. For anyone planning on a career in primary or secondary education, for example, a BA in Music creates an ideal foundation by developing strong and transferable skills in group work, critical thinking, independent learning and a desire to share your enthusiasm with others.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs


Clothing / Kit

With the exception of pianists, organists, harpsichordists and some percussionists, students studying performance modules will be required to supply their own musical instrument and meet any associate maintenance or insurance costs themselves.

It is also recommended that students have their own headphones and a portable hard­drive with at least 2TB capacity to back up work.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.


The BA Music course is taught in two semesters each year, separated by a two-week assessment period in January. Students take 3 modules in each semester.  The teaching delivery on each module will vary depending on the module content.  Throughout the year you would usually be taught in lectures, practical workshops, seminars and individual tutorials. The contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected.  Typically, a 20-credit module with 15-20 students has around 3–4 contact hours per week, but there are variations in the case of some modules, particularly where a module might be delivered predominantly by individual tutorials or in smaller groups.

You will also be supported in your learning through regular access to your tutors and through one-to-one tutorials.  In addition, you will meet periodically with your personal academic tutor.  All modules are supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) webpage, providing information about the modules and a variety of learning and support materials.

You will have access to IT and library facilities throughout your course.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study.  Typically, this involves working on performance or composition projects, reading, practicing your instrument and rehearsing and preparing for coursework assignments, workshops or seminars. Your module tutor will direct you towards specific activities to complete before class.

For the Independent Project in year three, you will undertake independent research. You will work under the supervision of a member of the course team and will meet with your supervisor regularly.

Overall workload

Your overall workload typically consists of around 10 - 12 contact hours per week plus additional hours of independent study, practice and rehearsals for instance. There will be variation to this depending on the modules taken and the year of study.

Academic input

The staff team consists of highly qualified academics and practitioners who have a range of expertise and experience.  The staff teaching on the BA Music course currently include two Professors, two Senior Lecturers and several Associate Lecturers.  All of the staff are practitioners and are active as performers, musicologists, composers, and professional practitioners. You should note that members of the teaching team might change.

The balance of assessment type depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose, but you will be assessed by a range of methods including essay writing, presentations, practical work (such as performances, recordings, composition work – in the form of recordings or scores), or other project-based work (perhaps a podcast, for example).

You will receive feedback on all your assessments and we aim to provide you with your feedback within 15 working days of submission.

The BA Music programme boasts the stunning recital hall of St Gregory’s Centre for Music. The Maxwell-Davies building offers practice facilities with upright pianos in every room, carpeting, acoustic panelling and three Steinway pianos (as well as several Yamaha baby grands) for your practice and recitals needs. We also have two harpsichords: a single-manual instrument (8+4) made by Michael Johnson as a two-manual instrument (Zuckerman, professionally made; 8+8+4, coupler and buff stop). We also have available for use two baroque violins and a baroque cello (all with cases and bows).

Through our close relationship with the Philharmonia, our students have attended rehearsals conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Wilson, among others. The Philharmonia has sent principals to play an annual chamber music lunchtime concert followed by a masterclass coaching session and our academic staff have given pre-concert talks for the Philharmonia’s concerts. Our students have twice had the opportunity to perform on stage at the Marlowe Theatre with Glyndebourne Touring Opera as part of their Behind the Curtain series.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Course Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000 (0)1227 928000


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Fact file

UCAS course code

  • W303 Music BA

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years part-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 28/08/2019 12:20:00