Introduction

Music Education at Aberdeen gives you the brilliant opportunity to learn, compose and perform with world-renowned composers and musicologists, working in all genres, styles and periods, with unrivalled opportunities to grow as a musician and performer and to specialise in the skills to inspire a new generation through music education in schools.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
BMus
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
XW13
Degree marketing image

Aberdeen is the ideal environment and location in which to study music, with 500 years of outstanding musical history and heritage and a vibrant cultural identity which celebrates the traditional while embracing the modern, playing a huge role in the cultural life of north-east Scotland.

Our highly-regarded BMus programme gives the benefit of broad foundation in music before choosing to specialise in teaching in the BMus (Education) programme, or the BMus (Music and Communities) opening opportunities for working with music in non-formal settings.

In your first three years of your BMus (Education) programme, you will study performance, composition, theory, musicianship and a broad overview of music history which serves as the foundation for future study and specialising in your final year.

You will then combine the study of music with a qualification to teach in Scottish secondary schools, including school placements in your final year.

You will graduate perfectly prepared for a career in teaching music, with the additional option of applying your all-round knowledge and transferable skills should you decide to purse an alternative career such as in the media, or the music business.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Performance Studies 1 (MU1051)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

View detailed information about this course
Performance 2 (MU1551)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

View detailed information about this course
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 between 1300 and 1800, 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
Academic Writing for Language & Literature (AW1008)

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.

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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037)

15 Credit Points

In this course, basic concepts of Western tonal music such as primary triads, cadences, idiomatic chord progressions, and voice leading are taught using exercises in harmonic analysis, figured bass, and part writing. More advanced concepts such as secondary dominants and chromatically-altered chords are also introduced. In parallel to lectures and seminars, students will work with software designed to reinforce key concepts such as clefs, intervals, key signatures, and scale structures.

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Digital Musicianship: Music Making in the Digital Age (MU1538)

15 Credit Points

Combining key components in digital technology and musicianship, Digital Musicianship encourages music students to acquire basic digital skills that will help them explore a wide range of music making in the 21st century, through skill building in the applications of technology to the discipline of Music. This hands-on, project-based course introduces basic knowledge in digital music technology, and key issues related to the music making in the 21st century.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

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 by studying various approaches to musical analysis. The course will draw on a range of analytical methods and musical genres, such as functional harmony and classical form, pitch-class set theory, rhetoric in music, and computer-aided analysis.

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Optional Courses

Select AT LEAST TWO courses from EACH of the following groups:

Group 1

  • (MU2025) Composition
  • (MU2026) Performance 3
  • (MU2028) Music and Technology
  • (MU2036) Going Beyond the Keys
  • (MU2038) The Emerging Musical Practitioner

Group 2

  • (MU2525) Composition 2
  • (MU2526) Performance 4
  • (MU2527) Introduction to Ethnomusicology
  • (MU2535) The Emerging Musical Practitioner 2

Plus, select 30 credit points from courses of choice.

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.

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
Music and Technology (MU2028)

15 Credit Points

This course offers students an excellent opportunity to acquire foundational skills in music technology from sound recording for ensembles and orchestras to the technology-based compositions and sound design for games using digital audio workstation software. The course content is entirely project-based, and upon the successful completion of the course, students will become well-versed in the intermediate-level skills in music technology and well-prepared for advanced music technology courses in the 3rd and 4th year.

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Going Beyond the Keys (MU2036)

15 Credit Points

This course explores and develops keyboard skills for a range of musical contexts and aims to develop the practical skills and tackle challenges faced by accompanying in a 21st century setting. Key aspects of music are explored including musicianship, harmony, stylistic chord progressions and voicings, realising accompaniments and blending of the formal with the unexpected.

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The Emerging Musical Practitioner (MU2038)

15 Credit Points

The Emerging Musical Practitioner is open to, and relevant for any musician who would like to explore wider vocational options in music; whether as a composer, educator (formal or informal), musicologist or performer.

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.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to Ethnomusicology (MU2527)

15 Credit Points

This course offers students an introduction to the field of ethnomusicology, including the historical development of the field, how to conduct fieldwork and some of the field’s key theoretical perspectives. The course will introduce students to a range of musical traditions from around the world through case studies that demonstrate the close relationship between music, society and culture (topics include nationalism, colonialism, identity, race and globalisation). Teaching will take the form of lecture-seminars, reading group sessions and tutorials. The course also has a strong practical element where students will have the opportunity to conduct ethnomusicological fieldwork including ethnographic interviews.

View detailed information about this course
The Emerging Practitioner 2 (MU2535)

15 Credit Points

This is a fully interactive course designed to develop students' musicianship skills whilst examining the pedagogy and resources required to transfer musicianship skills to participants in a diverse range of settings regardless of starting ability, thus equipping students to become emerging musical practitioners in a range of education and community music settings. Participatory music making, socio-cultural learning and experience of working in groups will be explored in this course.

View detailed information about this course
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

(MU3533) Music Education Studies 2 (15 credit points)

Music Education Studies 1 (MU3033)

15 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to learning and teaching in music education contexts. Through reflection and practical engagement, students will begin to develop a range of skills essential for teaching in the secondary school.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select 60 credit points from music courses of choice plus, 30 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses
Learning and Teaching in Schools: Developing Prof Practice 1 (MU4021)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces and develops the main underpinning principles of the programme, providing a forum for analysis and discussion of education in the practical context of classroom teaching. A range of issues common to all students as developing professionals will be reflected upon, in particular, issues which have implications for direct action in the classroom such as inclusive practice. Through Professional Enquiry, it provides students with knowledge and understanding of policy, theory and research in the context of developing professional practice.

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School Experience 1: Beginning to Teach (MU4022)

30 Credit Points

Within a school setting students will critically reflect on their own practice in relation to key features of an inclusive learning environment, focussing on the role of the teacher.

Through observation of classroom practice, students will develop capacities and practise skills that enable them to prepare, plan, and implement learning, teaching, assessment and evaluation of learners.

View detailed information about this course
Learning and Teaching in Schools: Developing Prof Practice 2 (MU4521)

30 Credit Points

This course further develops knowledge and understanding of national policies, and priorities in education relevant to inclusive education classroom practice. Students will extend their knowledge and understanding of the curriculum in Scottish schools and develop professional skills and abilities relevant to the transition to teaching. Through Professional Enquiry 2 emerging critical skills will deepen, while knowledge and understanding of the diversity and quality of educational research relevant to the development of practice will be developed.

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School Experience 2: Transition to Teacher (MU4722)

30 Credit Points

As part of the BMus (Hons) Education degree programme, this professional placement provides further opportunity for students to apply and develop their knowledge of issues in Scottish Education and pedagogical theory, building towards the transition into their induction year.

View detailed information about this course

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

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • 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.

Why Study Music Education?

  • Academic staff who are internationally recognised experts in composition, performance, musicology, music in schools and communities, including many rising student stars.
  • Specialist facilities including three state-of-the-art Electroacoustic Composition studios as well as Music Technology workstations.
  • A 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 masterclasses 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

Qualifications

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


General Entry Requirements

SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS (SQA)

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

GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION (GCE)

Minimum of 3 A Levels at BBB. Music A Level at minimum Grade B. Minimum of 3 additional GCSE passes.

IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE/ ARDTEISTIMEIREACHT

Minimum of 3 subjects at H3, H3, H3

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE

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

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 for those intending to take Music Education. Further information about the interview process is available on the Music Department website. Applicants outside the UK must also meet the above performance requirement.

Please note: for entry to the BMus (Education) with honours programme the following are also requirements:

ENGLISH MINIMUM
Higher English at grade C or above, or GCSE English Language AND English Literature at grade 4 (previously grade C) or above are required.

MATHEMATICS MINIMUM
National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths (previously known as Lifeskills Mathematics)  at grade C or above; Standard Grade Mathematics at grade 1 or 2; or GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 (previously grade C) or above, or equivalent, are required.

SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS (SQA)

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

GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION (GCE)

Minimum of 3 A Levels at BBB. Music A Level at minimum Grade B. Minimum of 3 additional GCSE passes.

IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE/ ARDTEISTIMEIREACHT

Minimum of 3 subjects at H3, H3, H3

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE

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

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 for those intending to take Music Education. Further information about the interview process is available on the Music Department website. Applicants outside the UK must also meet the above performance requirement.

Please note: for entry to the BMus (Education) with honours programme the following are also requirements:

ENGLISH MINIMUM
Higher English at grade C or above, or GCSE English Language AND English Literature at grade 4 (previously grade C) or above are required.

MATHEMATICS MINIMUM
National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths (previously known as Lifeskills Mathematics)  at grade C or above; Standard Grade Mathematics at grade 1 or 2; or GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 (previously grade C) or above, or equivalent, are required.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Education degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

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.

Discover Uni

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

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