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The award
MA

How long you will study
1 year

Domestic course fees
7195

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
October

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Composition at Bath Spa University

Develop your music in a creative arts community, hear it played, and understand it critically.

  • Develop your unique compositional voice through working with experienced composers and creative practitioners.
  • Hear your music played by professional musicians and fellow students.
  • Professionalise your work and understand current contexts for new music.

Studying Composition at Bath Spa University you'll develop your skills as a composer and deepen your understanding of current new music contexts, both artistically and professionally.

Through weekly seminars and tutorials, supported by workshops with musicians, you'll work on your creative and technical skills, commenting critically on your own and others' work. We set this against a wider consideration of current music and developments in contemporary musical thought by looking at new work.

'Bath Spa University have given me the knowledge, support, and inspiration that I needed to take my creative work to levels I never thought possible. The experience has been fun, rewarding, challenging, moving, and memorable.'

Eldred Stevenson, Composition graduate.

What you'll learn

Overview

You'll graduate as a skilled composer with a deep understanding of contemporary music context. You'll develop creative and technical skills, throughout the course, alongside the ability to think critically about composition.

You'll have opportunities to collaborate with other creative artists, such as choreographers, filmmakers, and theatre practitioners through joint projects and seminar discussion. These developments in your creative practice are supported by practical consideration of your professional and academic skills.

We aim to provide a foundation for your work as a composer. We'll help you improve the way you promote your work and plan projects, as well as understand the academic disciplines to which it relates.

The MA and MRes Composition pathways offer a different emphasis. MRes Composition provides an opportunity to conduct an extended, focused composition project combining both creative work and academic research. MA Composition provides a space to explore a wider range of approaches and to experiment with new ideas. Composers on both pathways are taught together, and work with the wider Music and Performance community.

Course structure

Tutorials
We'll meet with you on a one-to-one basis through weekly tutorials to help develop your work. This support focuses on technical and aesthetic development, and we'll work with you on specific questions arising from your current project and its wider context.

Seminars
We'll discuss broader issues with you and the other MA/MRes composers through weekly seminar sessions. These can include case studies of particular composers or approaches, technical work in relation to specific compositional problems, or exploration of professional contexts.

Workshops
For specific composition projects we organise rehearsals and workshops with visiting professional musicians and fellow students. This enables you to hear your work played live and to make changes based on discussion and feedback.

MA and MRes Composition students participate in the same seminars and workshops.

How will I be assessed?

The majority of the assessment is based on your creative work, including compositions for specified visiting musicians and projects where you decide what to write. You'll also produce work that assesses your professional and academic skills, including making a website, preparing a funding application, and research into an area of practice that links to your work. MA composers will typically offer a range of more varied work that is directed in part by the opportunities afforded by the course. MRes composers will typically offer a portfolio of work articulated as a single project that is supported by a clear research context.

How will I be taught?

Each module has a weekly seminar which is either specific to the MA/MRes Composition or, for core skills, shared with the other courses. You'll also have a weekly tutorial during teaching weeks. Throughout the year we bring in visitors to talk about their work, and a professional ensemble join us to play one of your compositions.

Opportunities

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have good links with the UK contemporary music scene, and have regular visits from performers, composers and other industry speakers during the year. Recent visiting performers who have played student work include Plus Minus Ensemble, Kreutzer Quartet, Ensemble Bash, Christopher Redgate, Alexandra Wood, New London Chamber Ensemble and Darragh Morgan.

Composers and sound artists who have visited us to talk about their work include Joanna Bailie, Gavin Bryars, Kim Cascone, Jem Finer, Graham Fitkin, Kathy Hinde, Tom Johnson, Liza Lim, Steve Martland, Miller Puckette, Phill Niblock, Michael Pisaro, Scanner, Matthew Shlomowitz, Dennis Smalley, Jo Thomas, Chris Watson, Judith Weir, and Trevor Wishart.

We also run a regular series of presentations by visiting composers that brings together MA and PhD students with staff and colleagues from other disciplines. Industry and academic speakers also present their work at the commercially-orientated Music Think Tank (recent speakers include Paul Brindley, CEO Music Ally; Paul Gray, Musicians Union; Vick Bain, BASCA; Chris Carey, EMI; Will Page, chief economist PRS for Music; John Minch CEO Boosey and Hawkes/Imagem).

Careers

ou'll develop a broad range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills. We'll help you develop a portfolio career built around your creative practice, drawing in other related areas of work such as:

  • teaching;
  • editing;
  • performing; and
  • work in other areas of the creative industries.

On graduation from the programme, we aim for you to develop core problem-solving, analytical and critical skills to support you in the changeable and unpredictable work environment.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Resources

Networked music technology labs with highly specified workstations running core software including Pro Tools, Logic, MAX/MSP, Macromedia suites, and Final Cut.

  • Five purpose-built digital recording studios
  • A variety of portable sound-recording equipment, digital cameras etc.
  • A purpose-built concert hall with excellent acoustics and PA
  • 17 practice rooms, three with electronically variable acoustic
  • Large, well-stocked library of books, periodicals and CDs
  • A wide range of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque instruments, and a large collection of percussion and orchestral instruments
  • A Javanese Gamelan

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMAHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 year
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7195International course fees find out
  • The awardMAHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7195International course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study4 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry £7,195 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2018/19 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 £3,600 Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2019 Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2020 Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry £13,900 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

Entry requirements

What we look for in potential students

We value an enquiring approach to music, with an interest in developing your practice and exploring the many contexts in which it is situated. We support work in a wide range of styles and genres, while maintaining an experimental and exploratory approach.

What students think about Bath Spa University

    Yasmina Van De Peer, BA (Hons) English Literature and Film Studies, Spain

    Where to start with this year? There have been so many new friends, a new life-style with freedom and no muYasmina Van De Peerm bossing me around. My year has not been easy but I would do it all again, life challenges you in many ways and this experience definitively has.

    When I arrived in September, I felt like a lost girl trying to find something that I could grasp and change my life forever. My first year in a foreign country was fantastic and thanks to the creative writing department, I will never forget my second year as I have the privilege of studying in Chicago for a full academic year! However, this has no real connection with why I chose Bath Spa University.

    I worked as an ambassador for this University and a lot parents have asked the same question, why did I choose it? After 50 parents it gets tiring- especially when I was unsure. As everyone else I want to succeed in life. I have dreamt about going to Oxford, Harvard or any well known University. But the one thing that I have learnt in life is that you can be successful and come from the smallest place in the world. The key to success requires determination to reach your goal.

    Bath Spa just felt right and it allowed me to combine my subjects [English Literature and Film Studies], be myself and it also has an inspiring and picturesque scenery. For me it was perfect.

    Johannes Gerdes, BA Business and Management, Germany

    I chose BA Business and Management as I have always been inspired by my dad who runs a world leading business. The opportunity to work for him during holidays gave me a chance to look inside a company and to experience what management, leadership and communication is all about. I wanted to widen my knowledge and hence started my Business & Management career here at Bath Spa.
    My parents always wanted to give me the opportunity to study abroad. My old school, near Bristol, where I stayed as a boarding student for the last two years, helped me to discover where most of my interests lie. In addition, friends of mine started studying here at Bath Spa.

    I would describe Bath Spa in three words as: Cultural, Wonderful, Friendly.

    In the future I hope I will be working together with my dad and widen the market to countries which haven't been discovered yet.


    Don't be afraid of university life. University is the best time in your life. You meet so many new people from different nationalities and all come together! You will settle down easily. You make friends so fast and there is always someone around to help you! Even language barriers can be fixed with a perfect Writing and Learning Centre [the English Language Unit (ELU) is also available for all international students to access where English is not their first language] here at Bath Spa. Come to Bath and experience the whole range of activities they offer and be open to new things!

    Nassos Polyzoidis, MMus Songwriting, Greece

    Even though I live in Greece, I'm familiar with many British Universities, as I work for some English Examination Boards for Music and I've attended some Summer Schools in UK over the years. Bath Spa University's reputation in Songwriting and Commercial Music was known to me for a long time. Being a guitarist and working for the RGT at the same time, I have heard stories about Bath being the birthplace of guitar magazines and other music and artistic events. I was accepted to study Commercial Music as an undergraduate student about 4 years ago, but due to some sudden accidents I have to decline my offer. After this unfortunate event, I decided to become better Musician and Songwriter, so that I can return as a postgraduate applicant. When I noticed that there was a distance learning degree, MMus Songwriting, I knew I had to do this. Meanwhile, I did my research, which only lead me to ensure my initial decision to study at Bath Spa University.


    I was attracted to this course as I was already familiar with Bath Spa University's reputation in this field. In addition to that, Songwriting isn't taught in my home county at all. I knew that only few Institutes offer Songwriting as a postgraduate degree, so I did my research over the last 3 years. During this time, I was only ensuring myself that I have to apply for this course. I really want to become a successful songwriter, and also, probably one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece, so I know that this course is best for me. I knew that the course will help me become more confident and enhance my professional skills in the field. Finally, being mainly inspired by British Songwriters, it was really important that my songwriting skills would develop a lot lyrically, which can help me open the door to an international market.


    I would describe Bath Spa University in three words as: Innovative, modern, artistic.


    Once I have my degree, I am really hoping to become a successful songwriter. Being inspired mainly by British Songwriters, I would really like to write songs for the UK and international market. In addition, I will probably become one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece. Last, but not least, as I'm already collaborating with several English musicians, I'm considering in my future plans to apply for a PhD and probably seek for more collaborations in UK, which might extend my visits there.


    My advice I would you give to other international students who want to study in the UK would depend on the ethics and societal context of each county. So, a general advice I would give is "Do not be afraid of failure, do your best and apply to the courses that you really like!"

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