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Study Music abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Careers prospects
  • Studying Music
  • Where to study?

The medium of conveying art through sound and silence, music is a field of study that has fascinated man-kind for thousands of years. From the Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, who used music to enhance theatrical performance to more contemporary sounds created through the medium of electronics and technology, the concept of ‘music’ covers a varied spectrum of sounds and rhythms.

There are a number of music courses available in the UK offering a wide range of specialist subjects. From modules and courses in music production and musical composition to the history of music and musical theory, whatever your interest – there will be something that appeals!

Is this the course for me?

If you’re fascinated by sound and you have a natural flair for music and rhythm, then studying a course in music may be the perfect programme for you.

As part of any music course, you will not only be required to be able to play and read music, but you will also be expected to learn musical theory and use this within your own personal projects. In order to achieve a strong qualification, you must not only demonstrate a talent for the subject matter, but also understand how and why people respond to different musical genres. You should have a strong self-reliant work ethic that can be applied to your independent work.

Careers prospects

The majority of students who take a music course, do so with the intention of finding work as a musician upon graduation. However, in reality on a small number of graduates manage this and musician roles are scarce. Instead many people with music qualifications choose to pursue other careers, still within the field of music.

One such career is within an educational capacity, teaching music either as a private tutor or within a secondary school environment. Teachers often plan lessons in line with the national curriculum and monitor the progress of individual students. Similarly, many music graduates will opt to pursue a career as a musical therapist, using the medium of sound and rhythm to address social, emotional and physical difficulties.

Unfortunately for music graduates, the starting salary of £16,925 is considerably lower than the £20,964 starting salary for the average graduate. For this reason, many music graduates end up diversifying and enter jobs within the arts and music sector in roles such as journalism, PR, marketing and advertising in order to incorporate their musical passions into a steady and sustainable career path.

Studying Music

Like any creative course, applying to study on a music course can be tough. As well as meeting the entry level requirements (3 A-levels for an undergraduate course and a degree for a post-graduate course or equivalent) potential students will also be expected to attend an audition in order to showcase their skills as a musician. Those who do not speak English as a native language will also be expected to score a minimum of 6.0 on an IELTS test in order to demonstrate language fluency.

Different courses will last for different lengths of time, although most undergraduate programmes will last for 3 years and will study a multiple of musical techniques. In comparison, post-graduate  courses can last from one to three years, depending on whether you’re studying an MA or a PhD and the programme content will focus on a more specialist area of music. While some of the modules will be based on musical theory and written work, the majority of learning and assessments will take place in a more practical format with performance and production being the key elements to most music courses.

Where to study?

The music industry is particularly tough. If you’re specifically planning a career and a musician, look for an educational establishment that has forged strong relationships with musical companies and businesses within the music industries and use these connections to your advantage

It is important to ensure that you choose a location that suits your personal tastes and circumstances; after all you’ll be spending at least a year living there as a student. It is vital that you investigate the local area and see if you can envisage yourself living in the vicinity? How much is transport? Is there a thriving music culture nearby? What are the practice facilities like? Will you be able to find work to subsidise your studies?  Aim to study somewhere that is situated close to, or in the heart of a creative city with a vibrant music scene in order t6o be exposed to a range of opportunity and cultural experience.

Finally, it is important that you select a course that offers you the opportunity to study a specific subject that applies to your area of interest. If you want to pursue a career as a classical musician, then there’s no point in studying a course which focuses on contemporary music production.

Of course whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level, being a student is bound to put a strain on your finances.  Can you afford the fees? Can you afford the living costs? Before applying try to make a list of the funding you are able to access in your current financial situation including bursaries and scholarships that you may be eligible for.  Similarly, do you have the performance skills to study for this course? If you’re not entirely certain, then it may be worth spending a year practising before requesting an audition.

What Music courses are there?


Music Performance / Playing


Music Composition


Music Production

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