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BMus (Hons) Music

  • UCAS
    W302
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: ABB
    BTEC: DDM
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time, or 3 years part-time (levels 5 and 6 only)
  • Department
    Music

Course overview

Rethink music study and practice through a challenging combination of theoretical and practical modules.

Our degree programmes offer a great range of options so you can select your own coherent programme of study and focus upon the areas of greatest interest and strength for you. Your academic progress is supported by personal tutor meetings that help you navigate through the degree and prepare for a graduate career.

Why study BMus Music at Goldsmiths?

  • We're one of the largest university music departments in the UK, so you'll have access to a wide range of academics, including internationally established composers, performers and writers – their diversity of expertise makes this one of the most exciting undergraduate music degrees in the UK
  • There are professional and student-led recitals, concerts, workshops and other music events taking place every week, with opportunities to perform at Goldsmiths and in public venues
  • You'll have the opportunity to perform at our annual music festival PureGold, which celebrates the music created and performed at Goldsmiths
  • You'll be within easy reach of central London's many venues, concert halls, opera houses and research libraries, providing a great international focus
  • You'll be encouraged to construct a path of study that develops and explores the interrelationship between music as a creative and practical endeavour, and music as an intellectual study
  • We encourage ambition and independence, and will help you think about the kind of musician you want to be
  • Employers look for initiative-driven graduates who think critically about their actions, work well with others and adapt quickly to new ideas. This degree will help you develop these skills – sometimes without you noticing!

Individual vocal and instrumental tuition

Our location in London means that we're able to attract visiting instrumental and vocal teachers of the highest quality, with many of our staff also teaching at the major music conservatoires. We provide a generous allocation of tuition time. Our performance modules are supplemented with ensemble classes and workshops/masterclasses given by top professional musicians.

  • First-year BMus Music students are currently entitled to 12 hours of one-to-one tuition per year
  • Tuition is available to BMus Music students taking performance options in years two and three. The Music programme currently offers 14 hours of one-to-one tuition in year two and 17 hours in year three

If you don't opt for performance modules you aren't automatically entitled to individual lessons, but we can help make private arrangements with our visiting staff, at preferential rates.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Stephen Graham (for questions about applying) or Dr Tamsin Alexander (for questions about the programme)

Modules & structure

Level 4

All BMus Music students take the following modules:

Module title Credits
  Approaches to Contemporary Music 15 credits
  Composition 30 credits
  Creative Music Technology 15 credits
  Western Art Music: 900-1900 30 credits
  Performance Techniques and Repertoire 30 credits

Level 5

You will study the following core module:

Module title Credits
  Aesthetics, Meaning and Culture 15 credits

Then an additional 105 credits, including at least one module from List A:

List A

Term 1 Module title Credits
  Classical Versus Common Music: London's Celebrity Culture (1700-1800) 15 credits
  Music and Identity 15 credits
  Musicians, Commerce and Commodification 15 credits
  Russian Music in Context: Glinka to Stravinsky 15 credits
  Music in Film 15 credits

Please note that Music in Film is a co-requisite for Media Composition

Term 2 Module title Credits
  Mapping 20th-Century Music 15 credits
  Music of Africa and Asia 15 credits
  Romanticism and its Legacy 15 credits

And any from List B:

List B

Both terms Module title Credits
  Performance: Styles and Contexts 30 credits
Term 1 Module title Credits
  Sonic Art Techniques 15 credits
  Techniques in Jazz and Popular Music 15 credits
  Techniques of Contemporary Composition 15 credits
Term 2 Module title Credits
  Composition: Creative Strategies 15 credits
  Sonic Arts Practice 15 credits
  Media Composition 15 credits
  Arranging in Jazz and Popular Music 15 credits

Level 6

You select modules to the value of 120 credits across the year, containing:

One or two from List C (all 30 credits):

Terms 1 and 2

  • Research Essay
  • Advanced Performance
  • Creative Research Project
  • Composition Portfolio  

The remainder from List D (all 15 credits unless otherwise states):

Terms 1 and 2

  • Composition portfolio (30 credits)

Term 1 

  • Minimalism and Postminimalism
  • Phonography (pre-requisite: Level 2 Sonic Art Techniques)
  • Advanced Topics in Music History
  • Performing South-East Asian Music
  • Creative Orchestration and Arrangement (pre-requisite: Level 2 Arranging in Jazz and Popular Music)
  • Music Teaching Skills
  • Audiovisual Composition
  • Outsider Sound: Fringe Aesthetics in Popular Music
  • Music/Modernities 

Term 2

  • Soviet Music and Beyond
  • Live Electronics (pre-requisite: Level 2 Sonic Art Techniques)
  • Improvisation
  • Musical Structure and Understanding
  • Psychological Approaches to Music
  • Music Workshop Skills
  • Advanced Topics in Music and Screen Media

A ‘co-requisite’ module is one that needs to be taken in Term 1 in order to take the second module in Term 2. It is possible to take only the first of a co-requisite pair.

A maximum of 30 credits can be in a Related Study (modules offered in another Department).

You must take a minimum of 45 credits in both Term 1 and Term 2, in order to balance your workload. 30 credit modules are assumed to divide as 15 credits in each term.

Please see details of level 6 modules below:

Module title Credits
  Advanced Performance 30 credits
  Research Essay 30 credits
  Creative Research Project 30 credits
  Composition portfolio 30 credits
  Minimalism and Postminimalism 15 credits
  Phonography 15 credits
  Advanced Topics in Music History 15 credits
  Performing South-East Asian Music 15 credits
  Creative Orchestration and Arrangement 15 credits
  Music Teaching Skills 30 credits
  Audiovisual Composition 30 credits
  Music/Modernities 15 credits
  Soviet Music and Politics 15 credits
  Live Electronics 15 credits
  Improvisation 15 credits
  Musical Structure and Understanding 15 credits
  Psychological Approaches to Music 15 credits
  Music Workshop Skills 15 credits
  Advanced Topics in Music and Screen Media 15 credits

Assessment

There are also many forms of assessment. Typically, during one term’s study you might research and write two substantial essays, rehearse for a solo recital, improvisation or group performance and produce a new composition or creative project that is notated, studio-based or multimedia.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB
BTEC: DDM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

You should have Grade A or B in Music (or equivalent).

You should be at a standard equivalent to Grade VIII ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) on your main instrument. Lower grades or a standard equivalent are accepted if you can demonstrate other strengths.

For the part-time programme, you should have completed either the Certificate in Music Studies Level 1 or any other qualification recognised as equivalent to level 1 of a Music degree. Progression onto the second year of the BMus is subject to places being available.

If your first language is not English, please check our English Language requirements.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC (Higher), ABC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 77%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Selection process

At interview you perform on your main instrument, and will be asked to demonstrate your understanding of a variety of technical and contextual issues relating to a range of musics.

We try to meet as many applicants as possible, although it is not always feasible or necessary to interview everyone. We're looking for students who have the right blend of practical and creative skills, as well as knowledge, curiosity, enthusiasm and commitment. We aim to assess this by taking a holistic view of each applicant. We look at their experience, qualifications, abilities, references, as well as the confidence and assurance with which they present themselves at interview.

We may offer a place without an interview. If we do this, you are strongly encouraged to visit the department on one of our applicant days before responding to the offer. It's equally important for you to decide whether Goldsmiths is right for you.

Read more about our general entrance requirements

Department

Music at Goldsmiths is ranked 12th in the UK for the quality of our research**

Music

From opera to electronica, and from Errollyn Wallen to James Blake, music studies at Goldsmiths are unique and different. Firmly rooted in the 21st century, our programmes entwine academic with practice-based study, and historical with contemporary repertories.

Performance opportunities

We’re committed to high quality, ambitious and innovative performance, and we have a wide range of ensembles that you can join, including:

  • Goldsmiths Sinfonia
  • Chamber Choir
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Creative Jazz Ensemble
  • Lunchtime and evening recitals
  • Music Collective
  • Studio Laptop Ensemble
  • Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble
  • Plus student-led ensembles: Chamber Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, Big Band and Film Orchestra

These culminate in our end-of-year degree show and public music festival PureGold, which in recent years has launched at London’s Southbank Centre.

Facilities

We have excellent rehearsal and performance facilities including:

  • Goldsmiths Music Studios
  • Electronic Music Studio
  • Sonics Interactive Multimedia Laboratory
  • Council Chamber (with its Steinway Model D)
  • Two suites of practice rooms

Find out more about the Department of Music

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Learning & teaching

Teaching

We are committed to teaching that is stimulating and supportive. You'll develop an advanced, critical approach to music that is supported by theoretical understanding and practical skills. We will help you develop many skills valued in the music professions, and by employers more widely.

We ensure the aims of your degree are addressed rigorously and effectively through many types of learning experiences, with active participation always in mind. In any single term of study you are likely to attend lectures and discussion seminars, one-to-one tutorials and performance lessons, practical workshops, collaborative projects, computer lab and music studio sessions.

Some modules make use of internet resources and online learning, and all students receive training in music technology, including knowledge of music software.

There is a computer room for self-directed learning and we have a large staff team with a very wide range of research interests. We also regularly bring in external specialists to support our modules, either through visiting lectures, conferences, concerts or masterclasses.

Independent study

For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, rehearsing, or producing project work. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of  that are highly sought after by employers. 

Virtual learning environment

Our programmes are complemented by a comprehensive ‘virtual learning environment’ (VLE), accessed online, which publishes all course materials, and includes assessments, online discussions and electronic submission of coursework.

Skills & careers

Most of our graduates choose careers in fields related to their musical knowledge, including:

  • Teaching
  • Performing
  • Arts administration
  • Music librarianship
  • Publishing and retailing
  • Record companies and production
  • Technical work in radio or television

Statistically, music graduates demonstrate very good employment rates, because they are often highly trained in the kinds of transferable skills employers are seeking, such as individual motivation, team working and effective communication. You can find out more about the career options open to you after graduation on our Music careers page.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Alexander Ivashkin Memorial Concert
Student orchestra
Student orchestra
Student orchestra
Student orchestra
Student orchestra
Student orchestra
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Student profiles

Sharon

"It really was the best decision I could have made at my stage of life."

"The three years went by so quickly. I have grown in confidence as a person and in my knowledge, understanding and appreciation of music. Lecturers are inspiring and really know their subject; they supported and encouraged me to succeed. There is an infectious thirst for learning at Goldsmiths; I will never forget my time there and remain friends with those I studied with. My degree at Goldsmiths has opened the door to fulfill my goal and I now teach as at secondary school in the Borough.

As a mature student I had no problem fitting in, I was never treated differently by either my peers of by the lecturers. I was always included for socials, birthday celebrations, I was a part of the cohort; I guess this depends on your outlook. I grew and developed as a university student should do when studying a degree. It really was the best decision I could have made at my stage of life. Now the wonder of 'what if I had done?', which had been with me since 1990, is no longer there. I now say, 'yep, I have done it, enjoyed it and my life has changed for it'."

Paul Englishby

Paul Englishby is an Emmy Award-winning composer who has written highly acclaimed scores for film, TV and theatre. His music ranges from dramatic orchestral to big band jazz. 

"I had a brilliant time at Goldsmiths; I wrote music for big band, the orchestra and choir, conducted a lot and played the piano in the evenings in hotels and bars to earn some money. The teaching was great, and I also felt there was an understanding of the individual's particular musical personality, which meant that I was encouraged to create outside the BMus course.

I learnt a great deal about collaboration with people working in other media. All of these skills I use in my work today. I wouldn't have the grounding or confidence had it not been for my time at Goldsmiths. I won an Emmy for my music for Page Eight, which was a lovely thing to get, particularly as I put a lot into the score and recorded it at Abbey Road with amazing musicians. We did everything to the highest production values, despite a modest budget, and the results emphasise the value of using musicians as opposed to samples and synthesizers."

Oscar

"There are so many resources at Goldsmiths that one can take advantage of."

"I came here to study composing and orchestration for film music and video game music and so far I’ve been challenged to think in directions I didn’t think I would. I’m doing a lot of stuff that I’m not really good at, which is very stimulating and inspiring, such as singing in a musical, working in a studio, conducting an orchestra and playing classical piano. Before I came to Goldsmiths I had been studying jazz drumming and piano and in my spare time composed a lot of jazz, fusion, progressive, orchestral film music and orchestral/electronic videogame music. I’ve also joined the basketball team to get some work outs, since I’m basically sitting on my butt the whole day writing, reading or playing music, if I’m not partying with my flatmates. There are so many resources at Goldsmiths that one can take advantage of, and I’m sure I’ve only yet to tap the surface of what my possibilities are at this diverse and resourceful university."

See more profiles for this programme

Fees & funding

Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.

Joe Brown Memorial Award

Second-year students are eligible to apply for an award of £1,000 towards final-year Creative Projects with an electronic component.

Alexander Ivashkin Scholarships

BMus Music students starting in 2017 are eligible to apply for one of five scholarships in honour of Professor Ivashkin, worth £9000 each.

Related content links

University statistics for this course