If you want to create, perform or write about music, Bristol is the choice for you. Our courses allow you to explore historical, technical, compositional, analytical and performance-based aspects of music and to specialise as you progress. We offer a plethora of performance opportunities ranging from symphony to our unique laptop orchestra and from baroque to jazz ensembles, as well as regular concerts and masterclasses from international artists.

Housed in the Victoria Rooms, the department is relatively small in terms of student and staff numbers. This enables us to maintain personal contact with our students and creates a friendly, nurturing study environment.

With equal emphasis on music history, composition, analysis and performance, the excellent choice of units on offer allows you to explore a wide range of music as well as develop intellectual, practical and interpersonal skills.

Why study Music at Bristol?

Our department offers a wide range of research expertise. We are committed to sharing our expertise with students, colleagues and the wider community.

Specialisms within the department currently include:

  • composition
  • 20th-century British music
  • Russian and Soviet music
  • Turkish music
  • film music
  • popular music and jazz
  • hip-hop
  • Renaissance vocal music
  • opera and politics
  • romanticism
  • music theatre
  • medieval music
  • music and migration.

Optional units may be available in these and other related topics each year.

We have 15 purpose-built practice rooms with new Yamaha U1 pianos, several new grand pianos for practice, a young Steinway model D and a new Boesendorfer 200.

Visiting artists give masterclasses to students regularly. Recent artists include Emma Kirkby, Ashley Wass, Martyn Brabbins, Rachel Podger, Mahan Estafani, Mary King and Jason Rebello.

Our student-led music societies present the array of musical talent in the department.

What kind of student would this course suit?

This course is suitable for those with an interest in learning how to invent, play, talk and write about music.

You will enjoy confronting a wide range of challenges including:

  • working alone (practising, researching, composing, writing) and with others (rehearsing and performing);
  • appearing in front of audiences (on stage or in the seminar room);
  • presenting work in different forms (in recitals, edited scores, recordings, seminar presentations, essays and dissertations).

In order to achieve all of this, you will learn how to plan projects and organise your own work and time.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Our teaching includes a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and individual lessons.

You will be allocated a personal tutor who will oversee your progress. In year one you will have small-group sessions with your tutor once every teaching week. If you study an instrument or voice you will have one-to-one lessons with your tutor throughout the year.

Assessment methods include coursework and written examinations for historical and technical units, as well as solo and ensemble recitals, practical exercises for areas such as conducting, and full dissertations and composition portfolios/digital media.

What are my career prospects?

Music graduates from Bristol have a very strong track record of employment, with many entering graduate employment or further study within six months of graduating.

Employers are increasingly attracted by the wide variety of practical, creative, intellectual and transferable skills that a music degree fosters, including self-organisation, creativity, teamwork and motivation.

Our graduates enter a wide range of professions including performance, teaching, arts administration, banking, law, publishing, broadcasting and the media.

Read more about what students from the Music department go on to do after graduation.


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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