Music

Studying music at Bristol offers you the chance to pursue your passion at a new level within a supportive and inspiring community of musicians.

Get involved

92% of students on BA Music were satisfied with their course and thought that staff made the subject interesting (NSS 2020).

Expert tuition

In the first year you will either receive a free fortnightly lesson on your first instrument or voice, or attend seminars in writing music criticism.

Global experience

Spend a semester studying abroad at one of a number of world-class institutes, or combine music with a modern language and spend a year studying or working abroad.

Music at Bristol

You will be taught by internationally recognised musicologists and composers and by a team of professional instrumental and vocal tutors.

We bring the latest research and expertise of our staff directly into the classroom. We offer a plethora of performance opportunities and host regular lunchtime and evening concerts, a programme of research seminars delivered by visiting guest speakers, and international conferences and festivals.

You will benefit from the partnerships we have with people, organisations, schools, churches, festivals and venues in Bristol and beyond, and from the exceptionally friendly and supportive environment.

I am very glad to have chosen music at Bristol, as I have been able to study so many aspects of music in such detail. I really appreciate all the resources the University has – the music department has a whole collection of software, sophisticated recording studios and equipment.

May, BA Music

Career prospects

Our music graduates thrive in a wide variety of careers including performing, conducting, composing, broadcasting, teaching, research, arts administration, publishing, events management, finance and librarianship. Many also undertake postgraduate study or training.

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

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

The first year provides a broad foundation, with units in music theory, performance, studio and acoustic composition, and music history, as well as an open unit from a different department.

During your second and third years you can focus on your areas of interest and choose from a range of options covering different aspects of performance, composition, theory, history, analysis and aesthetics.

You can choose to spend a semester studying abroad or combine music with a modern language and spend a year working or studying abroad. See Global Opportunities for more information.

If you choose to study music with innovation, you will work with interdisciplinary breath, creative teamwork and develop entrepreneurial skills.

Facilities

We are based in the magnificent 19th-century Victoria Rooms, which is home to:

  • 530-seat auditorium, where professional and student concerts and rehearsals take place
  • an elegant recital room for chamber music performances
  • a complex of teaching, study and practice spaces, including nine composition and recording studios with state-of-the-art equipment and 20 purpose-built practice rooms with new Yamaha U1 pianos
  • two common rooms with bars.

Music

Our courses give you the opportunity to study acoustic and studio composition, performance and music history with experts whose diverse specialisms cover repertories and histories spanning 1,000 years. You will choose your own unique combination of units to reflect your interests and abilities, and will benefit from weekly small-group tutorials in your first year. Our Music Futures workshops will also prepare for life after university. 

Why study Music at Bristol?

Studying music at Bristol gives you the opportunity to explore an exciting and diverse range of topics – from medieval music to hip hop – with expert musicologists, composers and performers. After your first year, you will have the flexibility to shape your own degree path, making Bristol an ideal environment in which to develop creative, professional and intellectual skills vital for life after university.

Housed in the magnificent 19th-century Victoria Rooms, our facilities include:

  • a 530-seat auditorium, where professional and student concerts and rehearsals take place;
  • an elegant recital room for chamber music performances; a complex of teaching, study and practice spaces, including nine composition and recording studios with state-of-the-art equipment and 20 purpose-built practice rooms with new Yamaha U1 pianos; 
  • two bars/common rooms.

We offer a plethora of performance opportunities including the staff-led Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus and New Music Ensemble, and the student-led Wind Orchestra, Brass Band and Operatic Society.

We also host regular lunchtime and evening concerts, a programme of research seminars delivered by visiting guest speakers and international conferences and festivals.

You will benefit from the partnerships we have with people, organisations, schools, churches, festivals and venues in Bristol and beyond, and from the exceptionally friendly and supportive environment in the department.

What kind of student would this course suit?

A music degree is about much more than making and writing about music. Through the study of music you will learn skills as a musician that you will retain for life and which you can transfer to every professional setting. As a relatively small department, we are able to provide personal support to help you find your own voice.

The challenges you will learn to address include:

  • working independently (practising, reading, researching, composing, writing) and with others (rehearsing, performing, preparing group work);
  • engaging with audiences (on stage or in the seminar room);
  • presenting work in different forms (in recitals, edited scores, recordings, seminar presentations, essays and dissertations, blog posts);
  • considering the opportunities open to you when you leave (further study, career).

You will discover your strengths, learn how to plan projects and to organise your own work and time, and develop confidence in your chosen areas.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching includes a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshop tutorials, individual lessons and supervisions. If you take a performance unit, we will pay for one-to-one lessons with a highly experienced instrumental or vocal tutor.

Assessment methods include essays, written examinations, short-form writing (including blogs) for historical and technical units, solo and ensemble recitals, dissertations, and composition and editing portfolios.

You will be allocated a personal tutor with whom you will meet at least twice each semester; in the first year you will have small-group sessions with your tutor once every teaching week. Your tutor will support your academic study, help you develop career plans and be an important point of contact if you have any problems.

What are my career prospects?

Music graduates from Bristol go onto an exciting range of occupations leading to varied and rewarding careers. Recent graduate professions include performance, teaching, arts administration, banking law, publishing, broadcasting and the media.

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

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

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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