Postgraduate Opportunities in Music

This online chat event is designed to inform prospective postgraduate students about the postgraduate programmes available in the Department of Music:

The Department of Music is one of the most distinguished in the UK, with a history stretching back to 1905 when Edward Elgar was appointed the University’s first Professor of Music, and looking forward to the latest cutting edge developments in the practice and study of music. As a postgraduate student in Music you will join one of the most vibrant and exciting Music Departments in the world.

Dr Alexander Cannon (Lecturer in Music) and Jessica Bowen (a member of the Postgraduate Recruitment Team at the College of Arts and Law) are available between 14:00-15:00 for the Live Q&A to answer any questions you might have about studying in the department.

You are very welcome to ask our current and previous students about their experience of studying Music at Birmingham.

More information about postgraduate studies in the Department of Music

View related Virtual Tour

Speaker profiles

  • Dr Alexander Cannon

    Alexander is a Lecturer in Music and Admissions Tutor for our MA Music Programmes. (Live Q&A 14.00-15.00)

  • Jessica Bowen

    Jessica is part of the Postgraduate Recruitment Team for the College of Arts and Law. (Live Q&A 14:00 - 15:00)

Q&A Archive

These were the questions asked during the Postgraduate Opportunities in Music live event.

We’ve come to the end of our Q&A session today. Thank you very much to everyone who took part – I hope we managed to be of assistance and provide the information that you were looking for.

We will hold many more of these virtual open day events over the coming months so please check now and again to see what we’ve got lined up for the future. If you’d like to visit our campus (in real life!), our next Postgraduate Open Day will take place on 20 March 2019. We also run bespoke campus tours throughout term time and Cafés at which you can meet current students.

Sam asked:

My research interests are primarily concerned with post-digital contemporary music, electroacoustic music and sound studies, with further research areas including semiotics, material agency, embodied cognition and late twentieth century structuralist/post-structuralist philosophy. Of course, the latter subjects are the domain of other disciplines in the humanities. My first love is music and I relish the thought of further dedicated practice with composition. However, I aspire to eventually broaden my horizons into interdisciplinary research, and I am therefore attracted to the variety of different scholarly practices available at Birmingham’s Department of Music such as aesthetics, contemporary music studies, musicology and fieldwork methods. So my question is, does the scope of this programme allow for interdisciplinary research, or at least prepare one for later research in the humanities and is such a master degree suitable for someone with ultimate ambitions of broad interdisciplinary scholarship? Thank you and I apologise for the length of my query.

Alexander Cannon replied:

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your query. It seems that your research interests are very much in line with the research interests of a number of different members of music staff.

If you have not done so already, I would advise looking at the different pathways as part of the taught MA; in particular, you might find the ‘Open Pathway without Performance’ of particular interest. If you have some composition experience, you might be able to take composition tutorials alongside other modules (such as electronic music studies and fieldwork methods).

Following some work with University of Birmingham music staff, you might then be able to apply to and move into the PhD on a very specific topic related to your interests.

Please be in touch over email if you have any additional queries!

Best wishes,

Alex Cannon

Hector asked:

Hi! I was wondering if there are any opportunities to get financia support for the distance learning Ph.D. in composition for European students. Also, in order to qualify for funding, if available, is it necessary to start in September, or would it be possible to start sooner once accepted?

Alexander Cannon replied:

Dear Hector,

Thank you for your query.

There are funding opportunities for the distance-learning PhD. Please have a look at this database, and also look at this particular funding opportunity. Please note that the application deadline for the latter opportunity is 1st March 2019.

My understanding is that financial support starts in September. It is possible to start your programme earlier, but you may need to pay some fees before the funding kicks in. I would advise writing to to discuss your specific circumstances.

Best wishes,

Alex Cannon

James asked:

Regarding entry requirements for MA Choral Conducting, can repertoire from music other than Western Classical tradition be used for audition video? Also, is there any restriction on age group of choir involved? (Children’s choir or adult choir etc) Thank you

Alexander Cannon replied:

Dear James,

Thank you for your query.

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept videos of choral music from outside of the Western classical tradition. Since the course focusses entirely on music of this tradition, we would not be able to appropriately evaluate the applicant’s conducting ability and style (and then compare it to the videos of other applicants).

Regarding your second question, we do not restrict the type of choir conducted, so you may use whatever choir you wish.

Best wishes,

Alex Cannon

Aurelie asked:

Thanks for answering my question Alex! I will make sure to email you. As an aside, do students in the MA by research have a possibility to audit some modules from the taught MA?

Alexander Cannon replied:

Dear Aurélie,

Yes, you oftentimes are able to audit taught MA modules, especially those related to your area of research.

Best wishes,

Alex Cannon