Introduction

Music at Aberdeen is the wonderful opportunity to learn, compose and perform with world-renowned composers, conductors, musicologists and researchers working in all genres, styles and periods. You will benefit from first-class facilities and instruments and unrivalled opportunities to grow as a musician and performer, be part of the vibrant musical scene in north-east Scotland and have options to specialise in teaching music or working with music in community settings.

This programme is studied on campus.

Aberdeen is the ideal environment and location to study music, with 500 years of musical history and heritage and a vibrant cultural identity, which celebrates the traditional while embracing the modern.

When you enter our highly-regarded BMus programme you might already have specific career aspirations including editing, writing and presenting music, composing and performing. If you are still considering your music career however, our degrees are specifically designed to give you the time to explore and develop your interests with a broad foundation in music before choosing your specific programme. You will study performance, composition and theory, musicianship and a broad overview of music history which serves as the foundation for future study and specialising in subsequent years.

You may wish to continue honing your skills as a musician and specialising in composition, performance and musicology, especially in your final year. Alternatively, you can specialise in teaching in the BMus (Education) programme, or the BMus (Music and Communities) opening opportunities for working in community education and music.

Your studies will prepare you for a wide variety of careers, not only in music but applying your skills in education, in the media and in business and there are Aberdeen graduates working in music agencies and in the management of London and Scottish orchestras.

You will thrive in our friendly and vibrant international community, on our beautiful medieval campus with great facilities for learning, sports and leisure.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BMus
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
W300

What You'll Study

Music at Aberdeen offers a range of diverse courses and the performance and composition skills that you will develop will help you prepare for an exciting career in music. Some of the topics that you will explore throughout the programme include musicianship, digital musicianship, music theory, harmony and analysis, composition, music history and musicology, performance, composition, conducting, harmony and ethnomusicology.

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Key Moments 1 (MU1035) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

View detailed information about this course

Key Moments 2 (MU1535) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

View detailed information about this course

Performance 2 (MU1551) - 15 Credit Points

MU1551 is structured to develop in tandem students individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entry to the course by audition for non BMus students.

View detailed information about this course

Performance 1 (MU1051) - 15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills.

Entry to the course for non BMus students is by audition.

View detailed information about this course

Academic Writing for Education (AW1005)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

View detailed information about this course

Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Select one of the following options (dependent on diagnostic test result):

  • EITHER Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037) OR Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038)
  • EITHER Introduction to Contemporary Composition (MU1537) OR Digital Musicianship: Music Making in the Digital Age (MU1538)

Plus, select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice

Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037) - 15 Credit Points

This course will begin with the fundamentals and quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts such as note names, clefs, octaves and note values. This will lead on to governing concepts of Western tonal music - primary triads, cadences, chord progressions and basic voice leading. The course will progress on to the beginnings of more complex harmony, counterpoint and stylistic study. At all times these fundamentals will be accompanied by contextual information - both historical and cultural - aiming to create an initial appraisal of musicology and its place in musical study.

View detailed information about this course

Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038) - 15 Credit Points

This course will assume a good, base understanding of the fundamentals of music theory and will quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts in Classical harmony such as modulation, secondary dominants and good fourĀ­part writing and voice leading. This will lead on to a strong understanding of Classical style with emphasis on piano textures and string quartet writing. The course will progress on to complex Romantic harmony and concepts such as Neapolitan Sixths, Continental Sixths and Diminished Sevenths as well as stylistic awareness of Romantic genres such as lieder.

View detailed information about this course

Introduction to Contemporary Composition (MU1537) - 15 Credit Points

This ten week course follows a similar teaching pattern to the Key Moments courses. Five topics are covered in detail, An initial fortnightly lecture introduces the topic and the first of two weekly seminars is a workshop on practical aspects of the topic. For the second seminar, the session is split into 4 where coursework is presented, critiqued and evaluated by the group, facilitated by members of staff/PGR students. There will be some non-formal analysis and wherever possible links through to the Key Moments 2 course will be explored. Topics will cover a variety of musical styles and genres.

View detailed information about this course

Digital Musicianship: Music Making in the Digital Age (MU1538) - 15 Credit Points

Course topics will include the theory and practice of digital audio, aural awareness, and social and cultural issues related to digital audio, with extensive tutorials on basic audio hardware and software focusing on helping students establish a skill set required for the duration of their study and beyond.

View detailed information about this course

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Introduction to Musicology (MU2023) - 15 Credit Points

Students will explore a range of elementary issues in musicology relating to some of the following: music history, theory and analysis, sociology of music, psychology of music, aesthetics, ethnomusicology, world music, early music, opera, concert music, jazz, popular music, music in film and television, musical performance, composition, music technology and the economics of the music business.

The course will consider a range of music taking into account the kinds of methodologies and discourses in which this music is discussed.

View detailed information about this course

Analysing Music (MU2523) - 15 Credit Points

Students will develop a critical awareness of form and structure in music both aurally and by means of studying various approaches to musical analysis which will draw on a range of analytical methods and musical genres. The analysis of musical scores will be related to music as experienced aurally in performance.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Select at least two courses from each of the following groups:

Group 1

  • Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038)
  • Introduction to Conducting (MU2024)
  • Composition 1 (MU2025)
  • Performance 3 (MU2026)

Group 2

  • Introduction to Contemporary Composition (MU1537)
  • Composition 2 (MU2525)
  • Performance 4 (MU2526)

Plus, select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points

Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038) - 15 Credit Points

This course will assume a good, base understanding of the fundamentals of music theory and will quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts in Classical harmony such as modulation, secondary dominants and good fourĀ­part writing and voice leading. This will lead on to a strong understanding of Classical style with emphasis on piano textures and string quartet writing. The course will progress on to complex Romantic harmony and concepts such as Neapolitan Sixths, Continental Sixths and Diminished Sevenths as well as stylistic awareness of Romantic genres such as lieder.

View detailed information about this course

Introduction to Conducting (MU2024) - 15 Credit Points

The course will be built around three areas of study:

- The history and development of Conducting- Development of core conducting skills (gesture, vocabulary, score preparation, rehearsal planning and performance) - Development of knowledge and understanding of Conducting as a vocation (The business)

The course content will be delivered through workshops that will engage students in academic reading and writing, practical skill building and research skills.

View detailed information about this course

Composition 1 (MU2025) - 15 Credit Points

This course will go into more detail on some of the ideas put forward in Introduction to Contemporary Composition (a year one course), but not exclusively. It (and its sister course Composition 2) will introduce compositional skills that are of importance to contemporary composers. These will include such styles/techniques as: modality, 12 tone technique, iso-rhythm and minimalism. Students will learn these techniques and assimilate them very quickly, being assessed on two pieces of compositional work over the half-session. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will be factored into the assessment process.

View detailed information about this course

Performance 3 (MU2026) - 15 Credit Points

Instrumental/vocal study: students work on a one-to-one basis (10 x 1 hour lessons) with a specialist instrumental/vocal instructor and participate in workshops and master classes where appropriate. Students can elect to split their studies between two instruments and/or voice.

Ensemble: requires attendance at least one ensemble managed by the Music Department.

As part of this course students are required to attend concerts from the Music Department Concert Series.

Students must have achieved a CGS award of C3 or higher in year 1 in order to be able to progress to this course in year 2.

View detailed information about this course

Introduction to Contemporary Composition (MU1537) - 15 Credit Points

This ten week course follows a similar teaching pattern to the Key Moments courses. Five topics are covered in detail, An initial fortnightly lecture introduces the topic and the first of two weekly seminars is a workshop on practical aspects of the topic. For the second seminar, the session is split into 4 where coursework is presented, critiqued and evaluated by the group, facilitated by members of staff/PGR students. There will be some non-formal analysis and wherever possible links through to the Key Moments 2 course will be explored. Topics will cover a variety of musical styles and genres.

View detailed information about this course

Composition 2 (MU2525) - 15 Credit Points

This course will go into more detail on some of the ideas put forward in Introduction to Contemporary Composition (a year one course), but not exclusively. It (and its sister course Composition 1) will introduce compositional skills that are of importance to contemporary composers. These will include such styles/techniques as: total serialism, hexachordal rotation, additive rhythmic processes and neo-tonality. Students will learn these techniques and assimilate them quickly, being assessed on two pieces of short work over the half-session. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will be factored into the assessment process.

View detailed information about this course

Performance 4 (MU2526) - 15 Credit Points

Instrumental/vocal study: students work on a one-to-one basis (10 x 1 hour lessons) with a specialist instrumental/vocal instructor and participate in workshops and master classes where appropriate. Students can elect to split their studies between two instruments and/or voice.

Ensemble: requires attendance at least one ensemble managed by the Music Department.

As part of this course students are required to attend concerts from the Music Department Concert Series.

View detailed information about this course

Introduction to Ethnomusicology (MU2527) - 15 Credit Points

The course provides students with fundamental tools with which to conduct ethnomusicological fieldwork and analysis. These include a historical grounding in the subject, an introduction to field research, fieldwork methods including audio and video recording, fieldnotes, transcription and analysis, ethical considerations, and case studies of ethnomusicologists. Much of the course consists of seminars and workshops, which allow students to understand and engage with ethnomusicological concepts and theory before putting these into practice in peer-group contexts and then fieldwork. The course includes a strong practical element and fieldwork visits are made to musical events in the local community.

View detailed information about this course

Introduction to Music and Communities (MU2522) - 15 Credit Points

Introduction to Music and Communities is designed to act as either a stand-alone option or as a pre-requisite for entry to the Music and Communities Programme in Year III. The course is designed to give an overview of the Music and Communities Profession and the skills (academic and practical) required to excel in the professional field. The course is delivered through a series of lectures and practical workshops designed to engage students in a variety of learning and teaching styles, peer learning and reflective practice.

View detailed information about this course

Year 3

Year 3

Optional Courses

  • Select 90 credit points from courses in Music
  • Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice
Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Music (MU4049) - 30 Credit Points

This course will entail research work which will contribute to musicological understanding (at undergraduate level). Students will research a topic of their own choice (subject to approval), demonstrating knowledge and understanding of their chosen subject matter in the form of a 10,000 word dissertation.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 90 credit points from courses in Music Studies, with a minimum of 60 credit points from level 4

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Teaching is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminar groups, tutorials and individual instrumental and vocal tuition. Methods of assessment take the form of submitted coursework (essays and compositions).

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Further Information

View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme

How the programme is taught

The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

How the programme is assessed

The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

Year 1

Learning Method
scheduled: 56%
independent: 44%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 19%
coursework: 71%
practical: 10%

Year 2

Learning Method
scheduled: 10%
independent: 90%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 0%
coursework: 67%
practical: 33%

Year 3

Learning Method
scheduled: 36%
independent: 64%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 0%
coursework: 65%
practical: 35%

Year 4

Learning Method
scheduled: 38%
independent: 62%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 0%
coursework: 72%
practical: 28%

Why Study Music?

  • Academic staff who are internationally recognised experts in composition, performance, musicology, music in schools and communities, including royal composer Paul Mealor and many rising student stars.
  • The flexibility to study music alongside a wide range of other subjects at Honours level.
  • Specialist facilities including three state-of-the-art Electroacoustic Composition studios as well as Music Technology workstations.
  • Wonderful collection of historic instruments including a 1771 Kirkman harpsichord, also full Balinese Gamelan, Steel Pans and Samba/Salsa instruments.
  • Instrumental/vocal courses available in all years of the programme, with tuition costs normally covered by the University.
  • University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber and Chapel choirs with growing international reputations, Choral Society, String Ensemble, Viol Consort, Recorder Consort, New Music Group, Baroque Ensemble, Concert Band, Big Band, Opera Society, chamber groups and many more.
  • Excellent performance opportunities with the early sixteenth-century Chapel often used for services and performances of sacred and concert music.
  • Our Chapel boasts an all-mechanical pipe organ built by the French builder Aubertin – the first by this builder in the UK.
  • Opportunities to perform at University ceremonies, graduations, recitals, VIP visits, formal dinners and festivals.
  • The prestigious Ogston Music Prize and a range of scholarships and special support for outstanding students.
  • Aberdeen city is known as a lively centre for music and links with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Aberdeen City Music School, North East of Scotland Music School, the Sound Festival and other organisations continue to develop.
  • Opportunities to take part in master classes led by visiting musicians.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes internationally acclaimed musicians, choirs and orchestras to campus every spring.

Entry Requirements

MUSIC QUALIFICATIONS

Candidates should demonstrate musical attainment and potential. Candidates should have Grade VIII Associated Board (or equivalent) in their main instrument/voice or show great potential and intend to take Grade VIII. Musical skills are assessed at interview, at which competence on piano will need to be demonstrated. Further information about the interview process is available on the Music Department website. Applicants from outside the UK must also meet the above performance requirement.

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

SQA - Minimum 4H at BBBB - in four distinct disciplines (Music cannot be double-counted). Music at Higher Grade A preferred.

GCE - Minimum of 2 A Levels at BC, or 4 AS Levels at ABCC. Music - A Level minimum Grade B or AS Level minimum Grade A. Minimum of 3 additional GCSE passes.

IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE/ ARDTEISTIMEIREACHT - BBB at Higher Level

IB - 30 points including at least a Grade 6 at Music at HL

Further detailed entry requirements for Music degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen, it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

Our music programme is specifically designed to enable students to pursue a career in music or a related field. The performance and composition skills, coupled with the deep knowledge and understanding that you will gain of the subject, will help you prepare for a variety of careers. Previous graduates of our Music programme now work in teaching, community music, editing, writing and presenting music, composing and performing.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

We Composed for Royal Weddings

Music staff at Aberdeen includes world-renowned composers and musicologists such as Paul Mealor, famous for writing music for the Royal Wedding and Gareth Malone's choir competitions.

World Class Facilities

The Music department at Aberdeen has access to large lecture halls with pianos and audio playback equipment as well as the usual data projectors and IT facilities expected of a modern music teaching facility. Our dedicated computer lab contains 30 audio workstations and we also have a dedicated Percussion Studio. As an undergraduate, you will also have access to instruments, performance rooms and collections whenever you need.

Unistats

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX