Best Schools for Master’s in Music in the UK

Master’s in Music

A Master’s in Music in the UK provides students with a high-level postgraduate education in one of several pathways available to music scholars. Students may choose to specialise in areas such as performance, music theory or composition. Music programs are offered at many top schools throughout the UK. Generally, Master’s programs in Music strive to balance history and tradition with contemporary and experimental directions.

What Is a Master’s in Music?

A Master’s in Music is an advanced course of study that usually takes from one to two years to complete in the UK. Many programs offer a great degree of flexibility through part-time options that enable students to continue working.

Most Master’s programs offer several tracks for students to specialise in, depending on their proficiencies and interests. Some also require all students to take a few core courses, which usually consist of a comprehensive overview of the discipline with emphasis on important issues and debates. Other coursework may consist of a balance of electives and requires training. The most common postgraduate Music disciplines consist of:

  • Performance
  • Musicology / Music Theory
  • Composition
  • Studio Production

Depending on what your chosen discipline is, your final project may consist of a heavily researched dissertation, a professional recital or a composition portfolio. Students who will be submitting a dissertation may be required to take a course in research techniques.

Musicology students can expect to take many research-intense courses, including music history, cultural study of music, current theory, music and technology and contemporary issues in music. Those who focus on performance, production or composition will take a mix of technique-honing seminars and practice courses. Many programs assign individual tutors or academic supervisors to assist students in formulating their academic path and reaching their goals.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Music in the UK?

Many excellent schools in the UK offer Master’s in Music programs with a high level of instruction by recognized experts. Continuing your musical education by pursuing this advanced course of study allows you to raise your performance technique to a higher level. Performing, composing and production students gain exposure to high-level techniques in their respective crafts, while acquiring a grounding in the underlying history and theory. Musicology students benefit from a research-intense environment and access to important materials. They also have the opportunity of interacting with top theoretical thinkers and engaging in critical dialogue with history and contemporary issues in music.

In addition to formal instruction, many UK programs offer several types of education-enhancing activities. These may include guest speakers, conferences and opportunities for students to present research, performances or compositions.

Earning a Master’s in Music from a UK school is a great way for both UK and international students to hone their skills and interact with leading musicians, composers and theoreticians. It also allows students to focus on specific areas in musical knowledge such as ethnomusicology or the use of music in film.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Music?

A Master’s in Music is an important enhancement to any musical career. Employers understand that an advanced degree in music means not just high-level skills but also the ability to communicate, organise, think independently and complete substantial, complex projects. Careers for Master’s in Music degree holders may include many different types of employment. Those seeking a traditional performance career may choose one of the following professions:

  • Orchestra musician
  • Conductor
  • Soloist
  • Vocal performer
  • Composer
  • Choral director
  • Film scorer

Other graduates may be interested in production or technology oriented careers, which may include:

  • Audio producer
  • Digital aggregator
  • Audio engineer
  • Synthesis specialist
  • Instrument designer
  • Music editing engineer
  • Instrument builder and repairer
  • Recording producer
  • Sound designer

Graduates who have specialised in theory, or who simply wish to pursue a less performance-focused career may pursue employment in music-related fields, including:

  • Band promoter
  • Talent scout
  • Radio programming director
  • Orchestra personnel manager
  • Music publisher
  • Music curator
  • Music critic

A Master’s in Music can also be valuable for someone who wishes to obtain an instructor position, especially at an advanced college level. Some graduates who pursued the music theory track may wish to continue their studies and obtain a PhD in music theory.