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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Music student specification

In the information below each of our admissions tutors has made some observations on the skills and qualities they see as important when they consider an application for BA Music

Instrumental or Vocal skills
If you wish to take performance modules on our course (not a requirement of our degree) you will normally have attained or be working towards Grade 8 (ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool, LCM), or be able to demonstrate an equivalent standard. If you have any questions about your practical music skills please get in touch.

Study skills
At university you'll be spending much of your time working independently. This will mean that you need the ability to organise your own working day, the self-discipline to keep to your own timetable, the ability to prioritise and the planning capacity to meet a continuous series of deadlines. Admissions tutors will be looking for evidence of organisation and self motivation in your UCAS form; further guidance on study skills will be available when you reach university.

At university this means not just the enjoyment of music, but an active willingness to extend your knowledge of music and its context and to acquire the theoretical and practical skills necessary to work effectively. If you're studying full time, you'll be expected during term time to spend about four hours in independent study for every hour in class (roughly equivalent to a working week). You'll need to make sure that your other activities and commitments don't conflict with this.

Writing ability
At the most basic level this means a good standard of written English, allowing you to express your ideas clearly and effectively. We also look for a feeling for style, the ability to use the right words for a particular context. Admissions tutors will look particularly at your personal statement on the UCAS form for evidence of writing ability, during the course your tutors will give you regular feedback on the style of your essays.

Relevant musical and cultural interests
In your UCAS personal statement you should mention any music related activities that you have taken part in: solo, ensemble, choral and orchestral performances; relevant cultural experiences such as poetry readings, going to theatre or cinema and visits abroad.

Intellectual and musical independence
Reading single or combined honours Music at Southampton will introduce you to new theoretical approaches to the subject and actively encouraged to study music in its broader historical and cultural context. This means that you'll need to be open to new ideas, willing to work across disciplines and prepared to modify your expectations of what the study of music might involve. Admissions tutors will be looking particularly for evidence that you are capable of thinking for yourself rather than simply repeating the opinions of others. This quality will help you to keep your bearings among the different and often conflicting approaches to music that you'll encounter during the course - and equip you for further study beyond undergraduate level.

Independent reading and listening
We look for evidence of independent reading and listening to music in our applicants, since it indicates self motivation and a genuine interest in music. It doesn't have to be confined to any particular repertory but admissions tutors will be looking particularly for evidence that you read around the syllabus you are following or have been trying to extend your acquaintance with music that interests you.

Communication Skills
In most occupations whether within or outside academic life, the ability to communicate successfully with others is a valuable asset. We particularly welcome applicants who can make an effective contribution to class discussion and we are increasingly encouraging our students to develop professional presentation skills within their learning.

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