SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Studying Music at SOAS

Music Life at SOAS

The following short videos focus on student experiences of the BA Music degree. They were made in 2013 and reflect the courses available at the time. Course content and availability may vary from year to year.

Studying World Music at SOAS

Jim explores the practical, vocational and academic courses available to him in the Department of Music.

Loading the player...

Studying world music

Learning an instrument

Zoe reflects on the challenges and rewards of learning to play tabla in the environment of SOAS, with renowned teacher Sanju Sahai.

Loading the player...

Learning an instrument

Music all around

Luna finds opportunities for musical and vocational experience all around her at SOAS.

Loading the player...

Music all around

Videos Produced by Tomo Brody for the Department of Music, SOAS, September 2013.

Why study Music at SOAS? Here are just some of the reasons…

SOAS is the only Music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music.

Our degrees cover world music especially from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and their diasporas; and the discipline of Ethnomusicology.

At SOAS you can study the music of the world from the heart of London

London is home to many vibrant and diverse communities and diasporas whose music is our subject, and is host to a breathtaking array of world music concerts, workshops and festivals. It is in many ways the natural home of ethnomusicology in the UK. Our students draw on and actively participate in this rich and varied musical life (see the video Music all around).

SOAS is an internationally respected centre for the study of Asia and Africa

Uniquely combining language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus, SOAS has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and has a staff-student body comprising more than 100 nationalities. The SOAS Library houses a major collection of books and journals on world music, as well as thousands of audio-visual materials. Music department students draw on the rich life of SOAS in many ways, participating in the diverse array of seminars held around the school, studying joint degrees, learning a language to support their doctoral research, or taking ‘open option’ courses from other departments.

The SOAS Music Department is an internationally respected centre for research and teaching in Music

The Music Department achieved excellent scores in all the recent Research Assessment Exercises. We boast a faculty of internationally distinguished academic staff, who publish their research in books, articles, and reference works. They also produce CDs, host radio programmes, and even find time to play and compose music. We produce our own series of books on music, the SOAS Musicology Series, and a number of CDs and DVDs.

Performance is central to degree programmes in Music at SOAS

SOAS gives you the opportunity to study almost any Asian or African musical performance tradition for which a suitable teacher is available in London. (See the video Learning an instrument.) In the BA, Performance is compulsory in year 1 and optional in years 2 and 3. Performance can be taken as an option in the MMus Ethnomusicology, and we run a MMus Performance for those who wish to make performance the focus of their degree. Several of our research students are now pursuing practice-based research based on their own performance experience.

SOAS has a very active musical life

We host a highly successful, professionally-run Concert Series. We have many active student ensembles, varying from year to year, including (at the time of writing) Chinese silk-and-bamboo, Japanese, Korean samulnori, Javanese and Balinese gamelan, Thai classical, Middle Eastern, Jewish klezmer, African mbira, Cuban big-band and Afro-Cuban bata ensembles. We organise an annual World Music Summer School, in which students can become involved. The SOAS radio station, SOAS Radio, relies on student volunteers many of who come from the Music Department, and it devotes a lot of air time to world music.


Telephone:+44 (0)20 7898 4012
Fax: +44 (0)20 7898 4699