University of Chester

Programme Specification
Music BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Kingsway Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Performing Arts


Performing Arts

Tuesday 28th April 2015

At the very heart of this programme is the study of music in all its identities and through a variety of modes. It is non-genre specific and will engage students in a diverse range of styles, genres, cultural and social contexts. The critical understanding of these musics will be through the analysis of ‘scores’ (text-based or recorded); the composition of music; performing music; using technology for creative or performative purposes; the application of skills in a professional environment.

To this end the programme aims to:

  • Equip students with an understanding of what music is, its function, its practice, its application;
  • Engage students in the study of music through musicology, composition, performance and professional practice;
  • Develop analytical skills through the examination of source materials (the music itself), scholarship, practice and the context of music in history and society;
  • Demonstrate a command of theory through practice and practice through theory and the interrelationship which exists between these;
  • Produce graduates who can communicate verbally, textually and musically to a diverse audience from lay-person to expert;
  • To produce imaginative, intelligent and employable graduates who not only demonstrate creativity through their discipline but beyond this through the application of their creativity in unique and innovative ways in other fields.

Level 4

Identify and understand methods of musical organisation, compositional style, genre or tradition and their context within history, society and culture. [PA4414, PA4401]

Level 5

Apply analytical techniques to understand and inform concepts, techniques and practices within music. [PA5401, PA5416, PA5403, PA5216, PA5414, PA5801, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008, PA5415]

Level 6

Demonstrate the ability to analyse, manipulate, interrogate or create musical materials (texts, artefacts, technologies and phenomena) and to present results or findings in a coherent and communicable form. [PA6401, PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6301, PA6411]

Demonstrate a broad contextual knowledge relevant to the sub-discipline(s) studied, including the relationship to wider historical, philosophical, cultural and social practices, issues and phenomena as appropriate. [PA6401, PA6001, PA6002, PA6010, PA6301]

Level 4

Demonstrate emerging research skills within an ethos of creativity and exploration to examine musical concepts and/or compositions and/or performances. [PA4414, PA4401, PA4416]

Show an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in music and their interrelationship. [PA4412, PA4416, PA4204]

Level 5

Appreciate and employ the main methods of enquiry in the subject, critically evaluate the appropriateness of different methods of enquiry and the ability to show relationships within what has been learned and to perceive their field of study in a broader perspective. [PA5401, PA5416, PA5001, PA5121]

Show an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in music and use relevant techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship. [PA5403, PA5001, PA5216, PA5415, PA5801]

Level 6

Demonstrate the ability to gather and assimilate information and to synthesise and organise relevant outputs. [PA6001, PA6002, PA6010, PA6003, PA6004]

Show a critical understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in music, and be able to use relevant techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship. [PA6003, PA6411]

Level 4

Demonstrate an understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of music and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts. [PA4414, PA4401, PA4412, PA4413, PA4204]

Level 5

Demonstrate a breadth of understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of music and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts. [PA5401, PA5416, PA5001, PA5121, PA5403, PA5414, PA5801]

Understand the professional context of the music industry and apply intellectual and imaginative skills in a variety of vocational, academic and creative contexts. [PA5401, PA5416, PA5001, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008, PA5415]

Level 6

Demonstrate competence in the practices, processes, techniques and methodologies required in the study of the relevant sub-discipline(s), and the ability to recognise and apply generic skills learnt through such study to other areas, or to other disciplines. [PA6401, PA6001, P6002]

Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and the potential for continuing artistic and creative development. [PA6004]

Level 4

Present a structured and coherent simple argument and be able to interpret and evaluate the underlying concepts and principles of the discipline. [All level 4 modules]

Level 5

Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms. [All level 5 modules]

Level 6

Demonstrate the ability to present work in accessible form, intelligible to both expert and non-expert audiences (readers, consumers etc). Demonstrate the ability to develop ideas and construct arguments in both verbal and written form and to evaluate such ideas and arguments critically. [All level 6 modules]

The programme has five principal paths which students can follow through the programme which delivers a balance of the musicological, creative and performative. Clearly these have a linear route but also cross fertilize the other pathways. There is a clear and compulsory critical route which takes students through historical, contextual and analytical studies which could culminate in a dissertation. There is an option to perform through Arranging and Ensemble and Performance Practice, theory and composition in Music, Harmony and Understanding, Songwriting and Composition and Popular Music Portfolio. There is a technological route with Music Technology and Introduction to Digital Performance. Finally there are interesting enhancement areas which include professional practice.

Level 4 introduces students to the study of music through history exploring a range of genres, contexts and analytical methodologies in Historical, Contextual and Analytical Studies. Popular Music Studies as a defined and unique discipline is separated from this in Introduction to Popular Music Studies. For students who have a desire to pursue a more thorough understanding of the ‘mechanics’ of music the theoretical module Music, Harmony and Understanding is an option with the technological options covering sequencing, recording, sound reinforcement and audio/visual theory. For those students who want to explore music through performance they have the option to do so through Arranging and Ensemble.

Level 5 will develop the theories, concepts and skills introduced at level 4. Musicology is explored further in the core modules of Music: Case Studies and Popular Music: Genres and Contexts. Students may take a creative investigation of the harmonic theory at level 4 in order to form their own music in Songwriting and Composition. They can develop their professional practice in vocational contexts through Performance Practice and Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning whilst digital explorations can be continued in Interactive Intermedia Performance and Advanced Music Technology. The options are then opened out to include areas which students expand on their first year experience through From Gagaku to Gaga and Samba to Satie (which will include ethnomusicology and folk music) Performing Musical Theatre and Urban and Street Dance

There are further employability focused, options available such as WB5004 Learning in the Wider World and WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience.

WB5004 is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008 This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

At level 6 the focus is towards professional and graduate skills to ensure that students are as equipped as possible for a career pursuing their interest in music. They will be provided with a detailed, theoretically informed vocabulary with which to analyse the development of popular music performance (Popular Music as Event: Genres and Contexts). Students may continue to pursue their songwriting and composition skills in Popular Music Portfolio, develop knowledge and understanding in any of the topics thus far covered through practice in Negotiated Study or written form in a Dissertation. Vocationality is specifically explored in modules such as Pedagogy and Policy and Developing Professional Practice.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PA4204 4 Introduction to Digital Performance 20 Optional
PA4401 4 Introduction to Popular Music Studies 20 Comp
PA4412 4 Music, Harmony & Understanding 20 Optional
PA4413 4 Music Technology 20 Optional
PA4414 4 Historical, Contextual and Analytical Studies 40 Comp
PA4416 4 Arranging and Ensemble 20 Optional
PA5001 5 Performance Practice 20 Optional
PA5121 5 Urban and Street Dance 20 Optional
PA5206 5 Interactive Digital Performance 20 N/A
PA5216 5 Interactive Intermedia Performance 20 Optional
PA5401 5 Popular Music: Genres and Contexts 20 Comp
PA5403 5 Songwriting and Composition 20 Optional
PA5414 5 From Gagaku to Gaga and Samba to Satie 20 Optional
PA5415 5 Advanced Music Technology 20 Optional
PA5416 5 Music: Case Studies 20 Comp
PA5801 5 Performing Musical Theatre 20 Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
PA6001 6 Negotiated Study (single) 20 Optional
PA6002 6 Negotiated Study (double) 40 Optional
PA6003 6 Dissertation (Performing Arts) 40 Optional
PA6004 6 Developing Professional Practice 20 Optional
PA6010 6 Pedagogy and Policy 20 Optional
PA6301 6 Liquid Space - The intermedia ensemble 20 Optional
PA6401 6 Popular Music as Event: Genres and Contexts. 20 Comp
PA6411 6 Popular Music Portfolio 40 Optional

120 credits at Level 4 entitles the student to a Certificate of Higher Education

240 credits at Level 5 entitles the student to a Diploma of Higher Education

360 credits at Level 6 entitles the student to a Bachelor’s degree

UCAS points:

112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BBC/BBB


BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

BTEC Diploma:D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects
International Baccalaureate: 26 points
 Access: Access to HE Diploma, to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit

OCR National Extended Diploma: Merit 1

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma - DDM

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma - D*D*

Extra Information

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and General Studies A Level will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.

The Subject Benchmark Statements for Music are available on the QAA website /Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Documents/Music08.pdf

The subject benchmark for music underpins this programme in terms of its scope (covering a range of musics including “popular music, jazz, world and national musics, music technology, screen music, multimedia applications of music, music business”), subject knowledge and understanding (including “one or more specific repertoires of music from Western and/or non-Western traditions” developing music specific skills but “other disciplines are often drawn upon, including history, cultural theory… ethnography, and the physical, social and technological sciences”) and subject-specific skills where “students learn to appreciate and understand the interrelationships between musical creation and performance and other realms of human experience and activity”.

The breadth of teaching, learning and assessment methodologies are common with the benchmark and the sector. The standards as defined through the programme outcomes are fully aligned with those outlined in the benchmarking statement.

Teaching in the department seeks to move students from being interested spectators and occasional practitioners towards being professionally engaged in their discipline through the critical exploration of creativity and performance. Most modules will encourage learning by trying and testing under tutor supervision, but significant learning will also be planned through writing, lectures, demonstrations, screenings, seminars, dialogues, tutorials and relevant field visits.

This programme uses lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, independent study, fieldwork, practical projects and placements.

The assessments chosen will aim to structure students' intellectual and practical development, with specific reference to the field of study. Assessments will include: essays undertaken with prescribed reading; essays reflecting on individual and group practice; practical presentations; practical music assessments; and performance events in the public domain.

Formative assessment and related feedback is embedded within classes regularly in order to assist learning and as preparation for summative assessment. Formative assessment normally takes the form of group masterclasses and performances, draft presentations, diagnostic writing and the submission of written 

The aim of all assessments within this programme is to ensure that students have a deep and varied understanding of professional working practices within the field of Music, and are able to demonstrate this in a number of different ways.

Because of the variety of experience and types of music explored in this degree, the range of career opportunities is equally wide-ranging: 

  • Music Journalist;
  • Concert promoter;
  • Music publishing including editorial work;
  • Music Teaching;
  • Music Librarian;
  • Managing Orchestras, bands, events, venues…;
  • Arts Administration;
  • Community arts as a facilitator or animateur;
  • Programme director (TV or Radio);
  • Technician;
  • Sound engineer;
  • Arts marketing;
  • Music Therapy;
  • Composer;
  • Arranger. 

The Department’s aim is to produce imaginative, intelligent and employable practitioners who not only demonstrate creativity through their discipline but beyond this. To this end, graduates from this programme could enter a wide range of employment outside of the arts where they can apply their creativity in unique and innovative ways.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.


Research, scholarship and professional practice are vital components of the programmes within the Department of Performing Arts. The vibrant research environment created by the staff and students is very important and much investment is made in order to ensure its success.  The internationally recognised quality of research in the Performing Arts Department was highlighted by the results of the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, with a significant proportion judged to be of internationally recognised or internationally excellent quality in terms of originality and significance.  Furthermore, significant grants have been awarded to staff from organisations such as the British Council, European Union and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in order to fund cutting edge work. Staff are producing books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers as well as a plethora of practice-based research such as performances, choreography, digital media and compositions. Without exception the research interests of staff make a direct contribution to the curriculum and several modules derive directly from staff research thereby constituting research based teaching in the most complete sense. Research interests include: performance; transcription; songwriting and composition; popular music; popular culture; vocal health; performance anxiety; collaborative practice; analysis. There are a number of PhD students studying across drama practices, applied drama and music. All postgraduates (research and taught) and staff are active members of the vibrant Departmental research seminar series and contribute papers to this and the Faculty’s Centre for Research in Arts and Media. Furthermore, the Faculty and Department have organised a number of conferences, the most recent being held in June 2012 on the subject of Contemporary Ethnography and Traditional Performance which revisited the meetings of folklore, anthropology and the performing arts that formed a foundation for performance studies from an international point of view including representation from Canada, England, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, and Spain.

Induction for New Students:

A one week induction period is provided. Sessions typically cover familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and practical workshops. Students are also introduced to the expectations of life as an undergraduate in the Department of Performing Arts, key study skills, managing time, managing finances and personal safety. Students will be able to meet and discuss any concerns with department staff.

Personal Academic Tutors:

The department fully endorses and adheres to the Universities established Personal Academic Tutorial scheme. All students on degree programmes are allocated a personal academic tutor and students are required to see their personal tutor regularly and particularly during the first year. This personal tutor (PAT) will usually remain with the student throughout their studies, providing advice on academic development and progress.

Academic/Learning Support:

In addition to the personal tutorial system, academic members of the Department of Performing Arts seek to be available and approachable for individual consultation. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted.

Programme Information and University Regulations:

Students will have access to a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and relevant information concerning the University’s regulations. All such information is widely available through Sharepoint.

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