BA Music


Program Description

Choose a BA in Music at the University of Southampton and develop your musical skills on this uniquely diverse and flexible programme. Study the basics through foundations in analysis, counterpoint and harmony.

From medieval polyphony to global hip-hop, our music degree courses provide a broad musical education covering history, culture and society taught in exciting research-led modules. Our course does not favour one kind of music over another, and our flexible approach means that you can choose modules from any other discipline to complement your music studies. You will be taught in tutorials, seminars and lectures by world-class academics. Our skills-oriented training will provide valuable transferable skills to prepare you for any career that requires critical thinking, teamwork and writing skills.

Learn to write your own music. Take vocal and instrumental lessons with a specialist teacher. Put the skills learned on this BA degree to use by taking part in high-profile performance projects delivered by the Music Department and by Student Union performing groups. Graduates from this bachelors degree go on to pursue careers in the music industry, in music education, in music therapy and in many other fields where creative ability and team working experience are required.

Programme Structure

In your first year, a core programme of musical studies provides a broad grounding in the fundamental elements of music performance, composition and academic musical study.

In your second and third years, a free choice is available from a wide selection of modules in a range of musical subjects. You may also choose to take up to 25% of your programme in subjects from other disciplines throughout your degree programme. If you pursue enough modules in another subject, you can add this subject as a Minor to your Music BA degree.

Music department modules fall into four main areas. Each of these features a broad diversity of approaches and musical styles:

  • History and Criticism: introduces historical, analytical and ethnomusicological approaches to a wide range of topics, from Mozart in Vienna to Global Hip Hop, from Music in the Middle Ages to Jazz Theory and more.
  • Performance: supports instrumental and vocal performance (solo or ensemble) in classical, jazz and pop styles, with 20 hours of fully funded individual tuition per year for solo performers, plus fortnightly master classes, professional workshops and group coaching. We aim to support diverse performance interests: our students can pursue heavy metal or classical oboe, music theatre or operatic voice, classical sax or funk, with expert supervision from our performance staff
  • Composition and music technology: includes extensive project work and advanced studio techniques, leading to the submission of a collection of original compositions in classical or commercial styles, or both. Modules in songwriting, orchestration and arrangement, and music technology support composition from video showreels to string quartets.
  • Arts Administration, Music Therapy and Community Music: includes modules aimed at gaining knowledge and professional skills in areas where music graduates can build innovative careers

Key Facts

  • Flexible course structure allows you to tailor your programme to your needs, across performance, composition and academic music study
  • Purpose-built concert hall (Turner Sims) supporting the most extensive series of professional concerts and workshops of any UK university
  • Dedicated facilities, including: keyboard room, percussion room, jazz and pop rehearsal room, nine further teaching and ensemble rehearsal rooms, 16 practice rooms, three electronic studios plus live room, and 16 networked multimedia workstations
  • Many large-scale Students’ Union performing groups (orchestras, bands, choirs and theatre groups), in addition to music ensembles

Typical entry requirements

A Levels: GCE A-level

  • AAB to BBB, including Grade B in Music; and Grade 8 or demonstrated equivalent standard*
  • Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will also be made an alternative offer one grade below the standard offer, conditional on an A grade in the EPQ.
  • We accept all A levels except General Studies.

IB: International Baccalaureate 34 - 30 points, 17 - 15 at higher level, including 6 in higher level Music, and Grade 8 or demonstrated equivalent standard*

Typical course content

  • Historical and critical topics: music history and analysis from the Middle Ages to the present; ethnomusicology; jazz and pop; issues in sociology and contemporary culture
  • Performance: solo and ensemble performance in early music; classical and contemporary art music; jazz and pop
  • Composition: free composition (classical and/or commercial, television and film)
  • Orchestration and arranging
  • Songwriting
  • Music business
  • Music therapy and community music

Learning and assessment

Our Music course at Southampton offers the wide and varied learning experience you expect from a leading research university with a long tradition of commitment to the arts. Our flexible and innovative curriculum provides a wide choice of topics, allowing you to focus your study in particular areas or to pursue a broader range of interests. You will have a personal academic tutor to help you in making the best choices for your ambitions. We positively encourage you to challenge yourself and to try new things, including forms and styles of music you may never have encountered before. You may choose to study only Music modules, or to vary your experience by adding individual modules or a minor in another subject area.

We employ many different formats in our teaching. In every year of your course, you can expect a range of experiences from one-on-one performance lessons and composition or academic tutorials, to small-group seminars, to larger workshops, lectures, rehearsals and performances. Assessment of your work is equally varied. Depending on the modules you choose, you will be assessed through performance, coursework portfolios, presentations, group work and other assignments as well as essays and exams.

We are keen to help you gain employment skills within and outside the curriculum. Our course features school placements, arts administration internships, and other opportunities for you to gain valuable experience to enhance your learning and employability. Throughout your study, you will not only hone your specialist music expertise but also gain general skills in time management, communication and problem-solving that will serve you well in any career.

Last updated Mar 2018

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About the School

Over 6,500 international students from more than 135 countries choose to study at the University of Southampton each year. In addition, we have links with universities and partners around the world, m ... Read More

Over 6,500 international students from more than 135 countries choose to study at the University of Southampton each year. In addition, we have links with universities and partners around the world, making us a truly international institution. Here at Humanities, we are fascinated by people and their activities and achievements over the centuries, from prehistory to the modern day. We are well-known for ground-breaking and internationally-significant research and education across our wide-ranging disciplines, most of which are ranked in the top ten across British universities. Read less