The MFA Creative Practice is designed for graduates who wish to develop their musical and creative practice through an extended period of postgraduate study, leading to a significant creative output by the end of the degree.
The MFA is designed to attract students wishing to develop their skills across the Artist-Producer-Creative nexus. To this end, the programme is specifically constructed to appeal to performer/composers able to produce innovative practice-based outputs which are well-attuned to both their aspired audience and its wider production context.
This is a three-year full-time, six-year part-time, or two-year ‘intensive’ Level 7 programme which enables graduates to create music as instrumentalists, vocalists or composers at an exceptionally highly professional and employable standard. Students on the MFA programme study concurrently with those on the MMus programme throughout the first two years of their studies (or first year if in ‘intensive’ mode). Their MFA specific studies take place during their final year of study only.
You will have established a secure artistic personality and developed a range of sophisticated professional skills. As an emerging artist you will have created music – solo, small and large ensemble – in a variety of settings and in relation to a range of audiences. You will have gained understanding of the music profession and its audiences in contemporary society. Through your understanding of audience you will develop collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurial skills in support of a professional career. The programme prepares you to communicate at the highest levels as an artist through your instrument/voice/compositions and to engage audiences through informed discussion and text where appropriate.
Towards its conclusion, this programme enables you to identify and develop your own programme of study, and to spend a considerable period of time developing an analytical stance for your own work within a practice led research environment. It offers the opportunity to develop work in a rigorous yet supportive environment and to gain the intellectual, practical and interpersonal skills needed for a career as a musician or practitioner in a related field. Cumulatively building your knowledge, understandings and skills through broadly-based M-level studies, you will undertake an extended project (or series of projects), investigating particular aspects of your musical practice with the support of a supervisory team. The work will have the potential to generate a substantial area of research, and is likely to culminate in the form of a performance event or events.
The programme is designed to allow the skills and experience of the individual student to flourish and for new skills and insights to be gained. The programme is structured to enable progressive development through the material studied and the assessments undertaken, leading to your increased autonomy and independence as a learner, in preparation for professional life and/or study on the MPhil/PhD programme.
- The first two full-time years of the programme (or four years if you are studying part-time) are the same as the MMus programme.
- The third full-time year (or fifth and sixth years if studying part-time) consists of a dedicated programme of independent learning based on practice-based activity supported by Principal Study lessons and dedicated academic supervision.
- During this final third of your MFA programme, you will develop an extended project, or series of projects, which investigates particular aspects of creative musical practice. The presentation of your project, or projects, will demonstrate your capacity to research, develop and realise your ideas.
Learning takes place through a blend of formal tuition, experiential learning and personal study. Instrumental, composition, or vocal tuition is the central element of the provision, consisting of individual one-to-one learning, group tuition, rehearsals, workshops, seminars and masterclasses. Students will develop and contextualize their individual tuition within a broad range of solo, small-group/chamber, and large-ensemble activities. Most tuition within the Research Lab and Electives modules is delivered through formal taught sessions, seminars and tutorials, and consolidated in extensive self-study. CoLab module learning is largely student-led, supported by mentors and interventions from a range of internal and external professional colleagues including staff from the Faculty of Dance. All learning is delivered in small groups, and wherever possible practical experience is blended with theoretical knowledge to develop students’ informed musicianship and employability skills. Throughout the programme, visiting artists, ensemble directors and lecturers expose the students to a variety of views and approaches current within the profession.
Certain modules/components in the programme may involve you studying with another student or students in a collaborative way (e.g. with other musicians, dancers or other artists in a working relationship). This may involve you working alongside, and/or undertaking leadership or supervisory responsibilities for other (possibly undergraduate) students engaged in projects with you as, for example, assistant directors or performers. Collaboration is considered to be at the heart of professional artistic life and, as such, opportunities such as these represent valuable learning experiences.
The Personal Project places a significant responsibility on the learner, and shifts the role of the tutor to that of a mentor or facilitator. Learning within the Extended Project module takes place through a mix of formal tuition (seminars, Laboratory Forum and individual tutorials), experiential learning and personal study, with instrumental, vocal, and/or composition tuition as a central element of the provision. The programme aims to enable you to develop independent learning strategies for lifelong learning. Your supervisory team will regularly encourage you to reflect on learning and to formulate personal programmes of study and targets for learning. The first two years of the programme aim to enable you to develop independent learning strategies for lifelong learning, prior to your final year of study (MFA year) which is devoted to independent learning through practice-based activity. Your tutors will regularly encourage you to reflect on learning and to formulate personal programmes of study and targets for learning.
This programme assumes 3,800 (3,500) learning and teaching hours with at least 880 hours average contact time.
Graduates from the MFA programme have considered progression to a PhD programme either in the UK or internationally or alternatively now work in the field as, for example, independent / freelance performers/composers in a wide variety of contexts, music facilitators with professional music ensembles and organisations, as teachers in schools, colleges and universities or as music administrators and project managers.
Assessment methods as far as possible mirror professional contexts with all aspects of the mode of assessment negotiated directly between the Programme/Module Leader, supervisory team and individual student depending on the material under consideration.
In the assessment for Professional Studies performance/composition activities will include a combination of solo, chamber/small ensemble, large ensemble and technical work. Other programme components, including CoLab, Research Lab, the Electives and the Personal Project will feature a blend of written and practical assessment methods (including, but not exclusive to essay, analysis, composition, improvisation, performance, editions etc.) arrived at through negotiation between the student and tutor depending on the material under consideration. Elective assessments will focus on employability skills and knowledge.
The assessment for the Extended Project module usually comprises a performed event/exhibition/installation/presentation, which may be collaboratively delivered as appropriate, together with the prior submission of substantial supporting visual and written reflective documentation as agreed with your supervisory team and the Programme Leader.
- High 2:1 pass in a BMus (Hons) or equivalent
- Or recognised Performer's Diploma (such as LTCL, LRAM, LRSM, ARCM, etc)
- Equivalent qualifications and/or relevant prior experience may be considered
Applicants must demonstrate through the application, audition and interview procedure the potential to carry out detailed investigations of topics in which they have a particular interest, and to communicate their ideas coherently and effectively to others. They will show the capability to deliver at the end of the relevant programme a series of performance, written and/or oral submissions, which display both a critical awareness of the implications of their topic, and the ability to synthesise and communicate their ideas effectively.
Applicants for whom English is not their first language should demonstrate proficiency in English equivalent to IELTS 7.0.
Fees and Finance
Fees for this course can be found on our current Music Fees (Please note that fees for Vocal Studies students are listed separately on this table).
It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as fee changes are linked to government policy. Fees may increase by up to 5% each year.
Accommodation and Living Costs
This information can be found on our Costs of Living page.
Read about financial awards and external funding opportunities in the Fees and Finance section.
|UCAS||804F (Full-time) / 801P (Part-time)|
|Location||King Charles Court|
|Duration||3 years (Full-time) / 6 years (Part-time)|
|Start Date||September 2019|
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