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Study Music with Us

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10 Reasons to Study Music at the OU

1. You can study for a BA in Music from scratch

There are no academic entry requirements for undergraduate courses at The Open University. This means that you can sign up for our BA in Music without the prerequisites set by most other universities, such as A Level Music or exams in music performance. You will need some knowledge of music theory to study some of our modules, but our free online resources Introduction to Music Theory and From Notation to Performance: Understanding Musical Scores cover all the essential topics. Our interdisciplinary level 1 curriculum introduces the key concepts of music alongside other arts subjects, and does not require any knowledge of musical notation. At levels 2 and 3 you will specialise in the study of music.topics. Our interdisciplinary level 1 curriculum introduces the key concepts of music alongside other arts subjects, and does not require any knowledge of musical notation. At levels 2 and 3 you will specialise in the study of music.

2. We provide music education for everyone

The OU enables and supports students to study flexibly according to their own needs and circumstances. Wherever you live and whatever your circumstances, you can study with us. We have students based across the UK and abroad who are studying with us for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music. Our online and printed teaching materials allow you to study when and where it suits you.

3. You can design a degree to suit your interests

If you’re interested in studying music alongside other subjects you can take advantage of several flexible degree programmes at the OU. The BA in Arts and Humanities with Music allows you to choose modules from other subjects, including Art History, Classical Studies, Creative Writing, English Literature, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. Alternatively, Music modules can be counted towards the Open degree, allowing you to combine subjects from across the whole university.

4. Our courses prepare you for the future

There are, obviously, a range of music-related careers, such as performing, teaching, and music therapy, but studying music also develops a range of transferable skills that are useful and highly valued in careers that may have nothing to do with music at all. This Guardian article from 2013 summarises some research on the skills that music students bring to their jobs, highlighting the ability to handle complex information precisely as just one example. NAMHE (The National Association for Music in Higher Education), of which the OU is a member, has recently produced three videos in which music graduates discuss the ways in which their studies helped them to develop a wide range of skills.

5. Our curriculum is informed by world-leading research

OU Music research was rated jointfirst in The Guardian’s analysis of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. This means that the materials that you receive for your degree are prepared by scholars who are world-leading in their field. OU Music has experts in European music from the medieval period to the present day, music and theology, ethnomusicology, music technology and film music. You will encounter all of these subject-areas in your music degree, and will also learn about the methods used by OU Music staff in their outstanding research.

6. You’ll be taught by experts

In addition to the printed or online materials you will work through for your degree, you will be allocated a tutor for every module who will support you through your studies. Your tutor will provide expert feedback on all your assignments as well as personal support throughout your course. For each module you will be part of a tutor group with other students, which will provide opportunities for peer support and encouragement, while your tutor will also be there to answer any questions you have about your module.

7. You’ll encounter music you’ve never heard before

Whatever your musical interests, you’ll discover something new in our degree, and will learn to approach even the most familiar music from new perspectives. Along with classical music, you’ll study music in film, jazz, musicals, world music, pop, metal and folk. So along with the music of Handel, Madonna, John Williams and Duke Ellington, you’ll learn about Pierre de la Rue, Meshuggah and akadinda music.

8. You’ll develop your skills in the study of music

Our modules will help you to expand and deepen your musical interests and experiences. Across our curriculum, you’ll learn how to create and analyse music, explore the possibilities of technology for creating and editing music, learn how to approach the historical study of music and develop your practice as a performer.

9. You’ll enhance your practical skills with conservatoire teaching

You will benefit from our innovative partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance by studying our joint module The Practice of Music Making. Created by conservatoire teachers and OU staff, this module enables you to develop your practical and reflective skills in collaborative music-making in any genre, whatever your level of musical accomplishment. As well as being supported through the module by a tutor, you will also take part in a residential school at the conservatoire, with hands-on teaching from leading professional teachers.

10. You can become the next expert in music

Whether you have just graduated or you haven’t studied for a while, our taster material An Introduction to Music Research gives a flavour of what to expect from this online course. Those who go on to study for a PhD receive supervision from two members of staff in our world-leading discipline. Will you be next to join our list?


Photo credit: Tas Kyrprianou.

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