MusM Music (Performance Studies) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

The MusM Music (Performance) course will prepare you for a portfolio career in music performance in the rapidly diversifying post-pandemic music making scene. You will develop an advanced understanding of the interpretation of music and technical expertise, whether through analysis, historical research, cultural critique, artistic research or performance. You will develop as multifaceted musicians with pedagogical and professional skills, and also have the opportunity to engage in community music performance practices as socially conscious artists.

You will be able to choose units that best match your special interests and aspirations. Seminars allow for close collaboration between lecturers and students, with ample opportunity for you to present your own work and receive individual feedback. Discussion and debate form an important part of most course units.

You can also choose to take a placement unit where you will spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider to gain valuable workplace experience.

Most taught course units are delivered via weekly seminars and/or tutorials. Full-time students take two 30-credit course units or equivalent per semester; part-time students take one.

Seminars feature a range of presentation formats and activities, including presentations by course tutors, student presentations, discussion and debate based on prepared reading or coursework tasks, and workshop-style activities.

Members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultations during designated office hours.

Alongside your taught units, you will have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School.

All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the University.

Special features

Music in Manchester

Manchester is home to more professional music-making than any UK city outside of London. There are three professional orchestras, as well as internationally recognised institutions such as the BBC, Bridgewater Hall, Opera North and The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM).

Cultural Manchester

Manchester is increasingly becoming one of the UK's most important cultural hotspots. Now positioned as the engine room for the Northern Powerhouse, the city is benefiting from massive investment in its cultural infrastructure such as MediaCityUK, the award-winning Whitworth and HOME.

Department of Music

The Department of Music in Manchester aspires to provide music performance students at the graduate level with cutting-edge opportunities to develop portfolio careers as performing artists, educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, community leaders and public scholars, combining these roles in flexible and individual ways.

Teaching and learning

Most taught course units are delivered via weekly seminars and/or tutorials. Full-time students take two 30-credit course units or equivalent per semester; part-time students take one.

Seminars feature a range of presentation formats and activities, including presentations by course tutors, student presentations, discussion and debate based on prepared reading or coursework tasks, and workshop-style activities.

Members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultations during designated office hours.

Alongside your taught units, you will have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School.

All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the University.

Coursework and assessment

There are no formal written examinations. Taught course units are assessed by coursework essays or other tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May).

The precise nature of the assessment varies according to what is appropriate to the course unit in question. In most cases, a choice of questions or topics is offered. All taught units must be satisfactorily completed.

The Performance Portfolio assesses a range of performance work. It includes a Performance Project that may consist of ensemble performance, accompanying, community music-making, conducting or practical pedagogy.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to a performance portfolio.

The dissertation or critical edition offers the opportunity to work with world-leading experts in a range of specialist areas.

Core Units:

  • Advanced Music Studies: Research Skills in the Digital Age (15 credits)
  • Researching Performance: Issues and Approaches (15 credits)
  • Professional and Pedagogical Skills (30 credits)
  • Performance Portfolio (60 credits)

Optional units:

  • Historical or Contemporary Performance (30 credits)
  • Historical and Editorial Skills (30 credits)
  • Advanced Analysis (15 credits)
  • Aesthetics (15 credits)
  • Contemporary Music Studies (30 credits)
  • Advanced Orchestration (30 credits)
  • Business Strategies for the Arts (30 credits)
  • Popular Music and Identity (30 credits)

Optional units build on the knowledge and understanding you have gained in Semester 1, and enable you to develop expertise in a particular disciplinary area.

Full-time students take 60 credits of optional course units. Part-time students take 30 credits of optional course units each year.

Facilities

You will have access to a wide range of study facilities and cultural assets at Manchester.

The Martin Harris Centre offers students an exceptional home equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

Alongside teaching rooms and practice rooms, the building houses the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall (capacity 350, with a stage large enough to accommodate a full symphony orchestra), the John Thaw Studio Theatre, the Lenagan Library and a postgraduate suite consisting of a common room and computer room.

The Lenagan Library is a small reference library housed in the Martin Harris Centre that includes major scores, reference tools and a large collection of recordings, together with listening rooms and a spacious work area.

The Henry Watson Library is located in Manchester's Central Library and is renowned for its Handel and Vivaldi manuscripts, and the library of the nearby Royal Northern College of Music.

Find out more about our facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk