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Department of Music

MMus Performance

Duration: Full time: 1 calendar year. Part time: 2/3 calendar years.

Overview

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Nick Gray

Nick Gray

Convenor

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent), usually in Music

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

This degree programme has been designed to meet the requirements of students who wish to specialise in performance while studying for an academic degree. 

The performance programme, in which students choose an Asian or African performance tradition, is examined in two parts, the second requiring evidence of practice-based research.

To supplement these, students take an advanced course in one of the regional music courses offered at SOAS, taught through lectures and tutorials, a performance theory training programme, and one of a set of optional courses.

Structure

Students are required to take 4 units (one unit courses being two-terms in duration, while half unit courses are taught in one term only).  In addition to these formal elements, students may attend postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities. 

Course Detail

The formal elements of the MMus Performance programme are:

  • Performance Theory (half unit)
    The compulsory core course; part-time students must normally take this in year 1.
  • Performance (full unit) 
    Performance lessons in a vocal or instrumental tradition from their selected region. Examined by a public recital in May-June (for part-time students: in May-June of year 1) and by coursework.
  • Performance as Research (full unit) 
    Further study of the same tradition as under 3 above, but with a more specific research focus. Examined by a public recital in September (for part-time students: in September of the final year) and by coursework.
  • One half unit option course from the "Option Course" list below.
  • "Major Region" specialisation: Students must select a total of one course units of regional music
    courses as their "major". They may choose either one full unit course or two half unit courses from the list below. Part-time students normally take the "major" in their first year, but because not all regional courses will necessarily be available in any one year, this may also be taken in year 2 or 3 if Department approval is obtained. At least one of the courses selected must relate to the instrumental or vocal tradition selected for "Performance" and "Performance as Research".
  • "Students may also take approved courses from Kings College Department of Music" see this link for available options:  http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/music/study/pgt/mods12-13.aspx
Programme Specification

Programme specification currently subject to programme amendment procedure.

Option Courses
Regional Courses

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

Performance

The Convenor will communicate by email and through meetings with all students taking Performance or Performance as Research, and must be approached for official approval of your choice of performance tradition and teacher. Such approval is signalled by the
Convenor’s signature on the Department’s standard “Performance study application form”, available from the Faculty office and online. No lessons should be taken until this form has been signed.

The staff member most closely related to your chosen tradition acts as a Sub-convenor and should be your first point of contact for any matters pertaining to the specific tradition you are studying. Convenor and Sub-convenor will liaise as necessary.

The Department will not support training in “Western” vocal or instrumental traditions. Subsidy towards the cost of lessons: The Department will pay for approved external tuition, up to a maximum amount agreed at the start of the session (currently £500 for Performance and £300 for Performance as Research). Please be aware that the cost of regular performance lessons might exceed these amounts; any excess must be paid by the student. 

Claims for reimbursement must be submitted using the standard Music Performance Lesson Reimbursement Form available from the convenor, accompanied by a signed receipt or invoice from the teacher. Claims cannot be accepted after the examination. The student is also responsible for arranging regular lesson times, negotiating lesson fees, and obtaining access to any necessary instrument. You will receive an Information Sheet for External Teachers, describing payment procedures, the teacher’s obligations, and so forth; you should read through this together with your teacher at the earliest opportunity.

Destinations

A postgraduate degree in Music Performance from SOAS gives students improved competency in performance and a better understanding of global music which will enable them to continue in the field of research or engage in related work. Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, team work, passion and dedication. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Specific Graduate Destinations

  • Helen Evans is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit.
  • Jo Shaw (née Hoskin) was gamelan co-ordinator for the London Symphony Orchestra’s educational Discovery programme, but is moving on to set up her own Indonesian music and dance programme in southwest England.
  • Sarah Hall has worked as India regional director for two different charities.
  • Jon Kertzer directed the Smithsonian Global Sound Network and is now working on the business development of the Microsoft MSN Music Service.
  • Hélène Rammant is a Producer for BBC Radio 3, specialising in World Music.
  • Megan Jones is a Producer in the Music Department of BBC Cymru Wales.
  • Katie Vickers (née Hall) is a music Marketing Officer for the South Bank Centre, London.
  • Sally Pomme Clayton is a storyteller and lecturer on world oral traditions at Middlesex University.
  • Rachel Ireland first served as executive assistant at the Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation and is now Executive Officer, Operations for the London-based charity Youth Music.
  • Chua Siew Ling is a music officer in the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
  • Louise Taylor was an administrator for Folkworks at the Sage Gateshead music centre, and has now moved on to a related community post in Newcastle.
  • Elie Gussman is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit. London.
  • Nobuko Miyazaki is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit, London.
  • Many other MMus graduates continue on to do MPhil/PhD research. Others return, enhanced, to their previous careers. For example, Belinda Sykes is Professor of Medieval Song at Trinity College of Music and singer and director of the Arabic and European medieval song ensemble Joglaresa.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

The enthusiasm that the lecturers have in their subjects is infectious and it ensures everybody succeeds. The extra curricular music scene is pretty unique and seriously enjoyable, one day you could be playing the kora, the next, gigging with the Cuban Big Band, the next, looking after Mory Kante and talking music with him after a gig in the Brunei Gallery! It’s all here under one roof.

Liam Barnard