BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Ensemble Performance (10 Credits)

Unit code MUSC20620
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course provides the foundation for Level 2 ensemble performance studies, consisting of a choice of one of the following options:

•          Instrumental chamber music

•          Vocal chamber music

•          Conducting (max. 12 students)

•          Jazz ensemble


  • To expand upon skills already established in MUSC 10600 by confronting performance contexts involving collaboration with other musicians.
  • To facilitate the development of students’ creative imagination and skills of critical self-awareness when working in a collaborative performance context.


Instrumental Chamber Music

Students will form chamber ensembles of normally three or more instrumental performers, explore repertoire, and prepare a 20-minute recital.  

Vocal Chamber Music

Students will form chamber ensembles of no fewer than two singers and accompanist, explore concert repertoire (excluding opera/musical theatre, since this is encompassed within MUSC 20622), and prepare a 20-minute recital.  


All students taking conducting will attend a series of workshops on instrumental conducting, choral conducting and skills related to conducting. Students will learn rehearsal skills and how to prepare scores, and develop their conducting technique in preparation for two short performances which will be assessed. 

Jazz Ensemble

Students will perform in a large jazz ensemble (circa nine players) and gain experience in repertoire, arrangement, rehearsal processes, and improvisation.

Teaching and learning methods

Workshops, tutorials, coaching, listening and directed rehearsals.

Instrumental Chamber Music: independently organised coaching sessions with instrumental tutors or members of the Quatuor Danel. Scheduled workshops.

 Vocal Chamber Music: Scheduled workshops and coachings with Richard Strivens

 Conducting: workshops with Rob Guy (for instrumental conducting and skills related to conducting).

Jazz ensemble: rehearsals and workshops with Alexander Gagatsis



Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate increased understanding of how music works and the contexts in which it is performed.
  • Agree on an interpretation with other performers, and to apply understanding of music in order to realise that interpretation.

Intellectual skills

  • Show an enhanced ability to understand and apply analytical skills to music, and convey that understanding to other musicians.
  • Engage with other musicians in meaningful dialogue about music and its interpretation. 

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate enhanced performance abilities in the skill areas cultivated by each of the chosen sub-units.
  • To respond to and collaborate with other musicians whilst performing.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate enhanced skills in problem-solving, interpersonal communication, rehearsal techniques and the practical application of analytical and interpretative insights.
  • Demonstrate the confidence and interpersonal skills to work effectively in groups, showing skills relating to teamwork, negotiation, decision-making and leadership.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ Analytical Skills (surveying repertoire, analysing and showing understanding of the repertoire you are performing);
¿ Initiative (inventing a creative concept and putting it into motion, coming up with your own ideas, and not relying on your teacher to do the thinking for you);
¿ Leadership skills (being responsible for overseeing a creative product from inception through to final performance)
Project management
¿ Time management (developing effective and efficient practicing habits, setting and achieving goals, effective collaboration with other musicians as appropriate)
¿ Self-awareness (knowing your strengths and skills and having the confidence to put these across through performance); ¿ Willingness to learn (being inquisitive about such issues as repertoire and performance practice, enthusiastic and open to new ideas, making decisions, assessing progress and making changes if necessary);

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Instrumental Chamber Music


20 minute recital


Vocal Chamber Music


20 minute recital




15 minute performance


Jazz Ensemble


A group performance of about 40 minutes



Feedback methods

Coaching sessions, performance workshops, masterclass appraisals, office hour discussion of repertoire and editions, group discussion, final outcome assessment feedback.

Recommended reading

Each of the components in the course unit has its own reading and listening lists. The following titles provide overall support:


Davies, Stephen, Musical Works and Performances: a Philosophical Exploration (Oxford, 2001).

Dunsby, Jonathan, Performing Music: Shared Concerns (Oxford, 1995).

Godlovitch, Stanley, Musical Performance: A Philosophical Study (London and New York, 2003).

Rink, John (ed.), Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding (Cambridge, 2002).

Rink, John (ed.), The Practice of Performance: Studies in Musical Interpretation (Cambridge, 2005).

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kevin Malone Unit coordinator

Additional notes



Each area has its own schedule of workshops, masterclasses and coachings; see course outline for details.


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