MusB Music / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Participatory Music

Course unit fact file
Unit code MUSC20802
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit aims to give students a basic grounding in the field of participatory music practice. 

The unit provides an introduction to the broad range of settings for the application of participatory music practice and a theoretical grounding in key areas such as group process, behaviour management and ethical practice in social contexts. Highly skilled and well-respected practitioners share their expertise and insight from their work in a range of settings, providing practical experiences and first-hand insights for students.

The weekly sessions will challenge as well as inform. Assessment is undertaken through a group presentation (with written submission) in which students are asked to pitch their ideas for a project, and an individual essay.


  • To provide a foundation of knowledge upon which students can develop their skills in participatory practice
  • To broaden the range of ways and settings in which students are able to apply their skills and learning in further study and upon graduation
  • To contribute to society through the development of people-centred practice

Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Describe a range of settings in which participatory music can be applied
  • Understand some of the key issues of participatory music practice, particularly in regard to its social, economic and/or historical contexts
  • Draw upon a range of experiences and resources to inform their writing, thinking and/or own practice

Intellectual skills

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

•    Develop and apply critical interrogation skills to issues relating to participatory music practices
•    Synthesise a wide range of theoretical materials relating to the topic
•    Begin to evaluate the relationships between theory and practice in participatory music

Practical skills

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

•    Demonstrate group-work and presentation skills
•    Show experience in workshop design and delivery
•    Demonstrate some understanding of the intersections of theory and practice relating to participatory music

Transferable skills and personal qualities

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

  • Demonstrate a developing understanding of employment opportunities in which participatory music skills can be utilised, and skills that are directly transferable to that employment market 
  • Produce high-quality work independently, showing evidence of critical engagement with relevant source materials
  • Articulate, discuss and support findings coherently in both written and verbal form, and in both individual and group-work contexts

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: developing an idea for a participatory music project in collaboration with others
Initiative: developing ideas for a project brief
Leadership skills: leading activities and understanding group process
Project management
Time management: setting and achieving goals, working to deadlines
Oral communication
Presentation skills: personal communication and use of technology
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 critical interrogation

Assessment methods


Assessment task

Weighting within unit

Group presentation  (group mark)





Feedback methods


Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on group presentation using SALC presentations feedback form

Formative and summative

Written feedback on essay using Turnitin

Formative and summative

One to one oral feedback available by appointment at any time during the course.



Recommended reading

  • Ledwith, M., & Springett, J., (2010) Participatory Practice. Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Matarrasso, F., (2019) A Restless Art: How participation won, and why it matters. Lisbon and London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
  • Mullen, P., & Harrison, C., (2013) Reaching Out: Music education with ‘hard to reach’ children and young people. Music Mark.
  • Stephenson, M., Adams, M., Tarling,R., (2014) The Art of Engagement. Norwich: Unitas. 
  • Ockelford, A. (2008). Music for children and young people with complex needs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rachel Graham Unit coordinator

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