BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Participatory Music Practitioner

Unit code MUSC30800
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? No


Building on the learning from the Level 2 course unit ‘Introduction to Participatory Music’, in this unit students will be given the opportunity to develop their own skills as participatory musicians.  The course combines theoretical study of the principles of participatory practice (such as behaviour management and group processes) with opportunities for students to apply their skills practically (for example, learning how to structure a session and choose appropriate activities), culminating in a work placement during Semester 2.

Using a number of different methodological and practical approaches, the unit covers a range of current practices that map usefully onto the challenges of groupwork, workshop design and delivery in different social settings. It seeks a balance between doing and reflecting, with reading on specific methodologies brought to life in workshops where students will have an opportunity to try out, critically reflect upon and develop practical approaches. 

In Semester 1, the course will focus on addressing contextual issues, theories and practices of which effective practitioners should be aware, including social and economic drivers, reflective practice, values and ethics, and safeguarding. In Semester 2, students will gain practical experience of participatory practice through six-week work placements undertaken in small groups, and will conclude by reflecting on and contextualising their placement experience. Experts from their respective fields will offer their insights in Semester 1 and then supervise placements in Semester 2. Evaluation of the group placements will form the principal part of the assessment, examined through the course tutor’s placement visit and supervisor evaluations (group mark) and the individual written placement portfolio in which students reflect on the planning and delivery of the placement and evaluate its outcomes. The other parts of the assessment comprise a group presentation reflecting on the placement outcomes, and an individual reflective journal, kept contemporaneously.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Participatory Music MUSC20802 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


  • To explore and practise the personal skills needed to work in participatory music, with an awareness of potential contextual issues
  • To develop the confidence and skills of students in order to prepare them for future work in this field
  • To contribute to society through the development of people-centred practice



The following are representative examples of topics to be included in the weekly class schedule. These may change depending upon current trends and contexts and the availability of guest speakers.


Semester 1


  1. Introduction to course, expectations of students, becoming a facilitator (skills and aptitudes). Critical interrogation and the reflective practitioner (introduction to journal-keeping).
  2. Being a practitioner (key skills and values base). Being a participant (drama workshop). Barriers to engagement: communication and engagement skills.
  3. Placement-specific speakers x 2 (guests)
  4. Placement-specific speakers x 2 (guests)
  5. Placement-specific speakers x 1. Policy, trends and buzzwords. The social, political and economic context. Key players.
  6. Reading week
  7. Assessment workshop, allocation of groups and placements. Speed creation and delivery of a workshop.
  8. What’s the point? Therapy vs therapeutic. Issues vs play. Education vs participation. Product vs process
  9. Safeguarding and security. Teamwork: looking after yourself and each other
  10. Session structures, methods and stimuli. Examples of exercises for beginning, middle and end of a session. Music by, with and for. Reflective practice.
  11. Project portfolio workshop: description, reflective writing and evaluation of placements
  12. Evaluation and digestion, looking ahead to placements


Semester 2


  1. Placement preparation: final checks
  2. Placement: shadowing
  3. Placement: shadowing
  4. Placement: delivery
  5. Placement: delivery
  6. Placement: delivery
  7. Placement: delivery
  8. Debrief from placements and portfolio workshop
  9. Group placement presentations
  10. Transferring and extending what we’ve learned. Music in other settings. Music as a tool to deliver other subjects. Cross-arts projects
  11. Music by non-specialists: supporting your work or doing you out of a job?
  12. Summing up and writing up



Teaching and learning methods




Work placements

Directed reading



Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the course, students will be able to:


  • Demonstrate understanding of the social, economic and political contexts that need to be considered when planning and delivering music workshops
  • Demonstrate and apply models of safe and good practice for participants, practitioners and commissioners of music workshops
  • Show and apply an understanding of the potential impacts (both positive and negative) of participatory music practice in a range of settings
  • Draw upon a wide range of resources and materials to inform their practice in music workshops in a range of settings

Intellectual skills

By the end of the course, students will be able to:


  • Critically interrogate their practice and the practice of others in planning and delivering music workshops, as well as the theories, methodologies and other resources relating to participatory music, in a detailed, positive and useful way
  • Interpret, adapt and incorporate a range of theories and materials into their own practice in planning and delivering music workshops
  • Evaluate critically the relationships between theory and practice in participatory music

Practical skills

By the end of the course, students will be able to:


  • Apply their theoretical learning in the design, delivery and evaluation of music workshops
  • Be able to draw upon a range of resources and materials in order to deliver effective music workshops
  • Demonstrate enhanced knowledge and applied understanding of the intersections between theory and practice in participatory music

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of the course, students will be able to:


  • Demonstrate advanced skills in group working with their peers, taking on a variety of roles including leadership
  • Internalise information from a range of sources and apply it to their practice
  • Create accurate plans and yet be adaptable, solving problems using creative and critical thinking
  • Communicate appropriately in a range of styles with a range of people

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Surveying institutional and policy contexts in relation to participatory music; identifying needs of particular constituent groups and considering ethical imperatives.
Group/team working
Team-work: designing and delivering a participatory music project in collaboration with others
Initiative: responding creatively to a brief
Leadership skills: designing and leading workshops in participatory music
Project management
Time management: setting and achieving goals, working to deadlines
Oral communication
Presentation skills: personal communication and use of technology. Workshop delivery: engaging with people appropriately in a range of settings and situations
Problem solving
Creative problem-solving: responding to the challenges of a set task with limited resources and complex needs
Self-awareness: developing good practice through self-reflection

Assessment methods


Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Group presentation  

Formative and summative

15-minutes oral presentation



  • Supervisor and course-tutor evaluation (group mark: 30%)
  • Individual placement portfolio (30%)

Formative and summative

3000 words (portfolio)


Reflective journal

Formative and summative




Feedback methods


Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on group presentation using SALC presentations feedback form

Formative and summative

Contemporaneous comments from Course Tutor on journal through Blackboard


Weekly oral group-feedback sessions during the placements


One-to-one oral feedback available during consultation hours at any time during the course



Recommended reading

Renshaw, P. (2010) Engaged Passions: Searches for Quality in Community Contexts. Netherlands: Ebruron Delft


Barton, G., (2014) Literacy in the Arts: Retheorising Learning and Teaching. London: Springer


Harrison, C. & Mullen, P. (eds.) Reaching Out: Music Education with ‘Hard to Reach’ Children and Young People. Wiltshire: Music Mark


Matarasso, F. (1994) Regular Marvels: A Handbook for Animateurs, Practitioners and Development Workers in Dance, Mime, Music and Literature. Leicester: Community Dance and Mime Foundation.


Higgins, C. (2011) The Good Life of Teaching: An Ethics of Professional Practice. West Sussex:  Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 51
Placement hours
Placement 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 131

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
James Garratt Unit coordinator

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