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Department of Music

Performance in the Department of Music

The study of Performance is an integral part of Music degree programmes at SOAS, and enables us to draw on the expertise of outstanding performing musicians resident in London.

In the BA degree programmes (single and two subject), Performance is obligatory in year 1. Single-subject students take Performance 1a (Gamelan) plus Performance 1b: a choice of several classes taught on campus. In recent years these have included mbira, tabla, Thai music, Afro-Cuban batá, Chinese Silk-and-bamboo ensemble etc. The object is to experience the learning process on an instrument or set of instruments with which you are unfamiliar, and to cultivate your ensemble skills.

Sara McGuinness demonstrates teaching Cuban piano at SOAS

 

Performance studies can be continued in years 2 and 3, either on the same instrument(s) as in year 1, or in a different tradition. Instead of classes on campus, students take individual or small group lessons with a private teacher; these lessons are paid for, up to a set limit, by the Department. At the end of year 3, students are expected to present a public performance as part of their examination.

In the MMus Ethnomusicology, students may take Performance as an option. In the MMus Performance, they must do so, and in addition take courses in Performance Theory and Performance as Research. In both MMus programmes, performance is taught by individual or small group lessons with a private teacher; these lessons are paid for, up to a set limit, by the Department. Students are expected to present a public performance as part of their examination.

Instruments studied by recent BA and MMus students included:

  • shakuhachi
  • guqin
  • tabla
  • darbukka
  • Sephardi singing
  • Cuban piano
  • conga
  • Indian music on cello
  • kora
  • Cuban batá
  • mbira
  • tombak
  • Congolese guitar
  • Turkish classical singing
  • ney
  • North Indian classical singing
  • mrdangam
  • Balinese gamelan
  • Moldavian saxophone
  • Cuban flute
  • Middle Eastern singing
  • Javanese gamelan

In the Research Degree programme, it is possible to conduct research involving performance, and to present the results in the form of a live or recorded performance, accompanied by a written thesis.