Our courses are designed to give you everything you need for a successful career in music.

Classes & activities

Core Modules

The programme uses a range of teaching methods to ensure that students’ learning processes are stimulating, challenging, diverse and complementary. The principal modes of teaching are summarised below (composers and performers will have different needs):

  • Performance classes

    These classes provide a bridge between one-to-one tuition, masterclasses, and concert performances. They allow students to present work-in-progress and receive informal feedback from departmental staff and from their peers.

  • Masterclasses

    Masterclasses provide students with opportunities to present work to students and members of the public). Like performance classes, masterclasses complement one-to-one tuition by widening the range of interpretative judgment to which the students are subject. They are designed to expose students to the very highest international professional standards and provide additional high-profile performance opportunities.

  • Composition Portfolio

    Postgraduate composers are assessed on a portfolio of work submitted at the end of the year. Academic supervisions provide the opportunity for academic staff to develop, monitor, and critique work in the Portfolio, and to provide specialist input where applicable.

  • Ensemble and Directed Ensemble coaching

    Ensemble and Directed Ensemble coaching is the means by which small or large groups of performers receive one-to-one tuition in preparation for concert performances.

  • Lectures

    Lectures provide a forum for the dissemination of ideas, information and skills to the end of establishing a sound and sustainable knowledge base.

  • Seminars

    Seminars are designed to encourage the sharing of ideas and the development of structured arguments and debating skills.

The modules listed below will vary slightly each year in response to student needs and the evolving musical world.

  • Contemporary Music Workshop

    These classes bring together composers and performers in a collaborative environment in which musical ideas can be exchanged and developed, and the processes of collaboration explored. The classes include practical workshops where students develop their ideas, and seminars in which case studies in collaborative practice are examined. Each student participates in collaborative projects with at least one other student, developing musical materials that can take any form. Students participate in formal group presentations that include details of the collaborative processes and performances of the completed musical materials.

  • Analysis and Aesthetics

    This elective will explore both technical aspects of music analysis and wider aesthetic and musicological topics, with a particular focus on bringing these areas together.

  • Artist Development

    Our Artist Development provision is here to prepare you practically, creatively and strategically for a sustainable career in the music profession. We want you to leave here as fully-rounded, creative and adaptable musicians, with the tools and know-how to gain employment in unpredictable times. Practical sessions and intensive electives through the year include working with online content, personal recording techniques, preparing professional documents, auditioning well, how to get funding, and self-employed finances. Artist Development forms a part of the broader range of your work and activities, which we assess over the course of your studies via a portfolio. For more information please visit our Artist Development pages on the website.

  • Attentive Listening

    An elective designed to hone listening skills across a wide variety of styles and genres. For 90 minutes each week an eclectic selection of music is studied, with class discussions focussing upon analytical issues or matters of interpretation, and across history are also studied.

  • Concert Programmes and Programming

    This elective explores a mix of historical and current factors that underpin programming decisions across a range of music-making experiences.

  • Concert Workshop

    At the heart of this elective has always been the question ‘how do we communicate most effectively in concert scenarios?’ – eclipsing the more fundamental issue of ‘what is a concert?’

  • Creative Collaboration

    A three-day intensive course in collaboration with Glyndebourne, led by Artistic Director Stephen Langridge, for singers, instrumentalists and composers. Through a series of workshops, the participants will explore methods of creating music theatre, and develop their abilities and skills as collaborative artists.

  • Creating your own performance projects

    The focus of these workshops will be how to turn an idea into a small-scale creative project, from inception to promotion and performance.

  • Creative Programming and Research

    This course critically examines different aspects of concert practice, exploring strategies for responding to sources (including recordings) and wider issues around programming, including audiences, venues and concert functions.

  • Enhanced Performance Techniques

    Open to PG students of all disciplines, this elective enables performers to deliver with greater freedom and confidence, through enhanced preparation techniques.

  • Historical Performance

    This Elective will give you the opportunity to explore historically informed performance on period instruments.

  • The Interpreter’s Workshop

    Do you think of yourself as an ‘interpreter’ or a ‘creator’? (Dare we think of ourselves as ‘creators’?) When you practise a work do you consider what other performers have done as much as you try to discover the ‘composer’s intentions’? Close listening to recordings (historical and contemporary) can reveal a surprising range of possibilities for the performer that are not captured – or even suggested – in musical scores. In this class we establish a framework for asking useful questions about these possibilities and gaining technical/expressive resources in the process.

  • Open Academy

    Open Academy is the Academy’s Learning, Participation and Community initiative, working with around 6,000 people beyond our enrolled students and staff each year. As the importance of participatory and community music programmes in areas including education, health and wellbeing continues to grow both in the UK and internationally, it is crucial that our students have the opportunity to obtain skills and experience in this exciting and expanding area of work. Open Academy offers lectures, seminars and workshops alongside hands-on practical experience in the field.

  • Performing Experimental Music

    This elective provides an introduction to performing music in C20th and 21st experimental music traditions.

  • The Pianist’s Heritage

    These sessions provide a unique opportunity for reflection and debate around key repertoire areas of the pianist, and around the most burning performance-practice questions of our time – crucially how these relate to expectations in the current music professions.

  • Principles of Chamber Music

    The Chamber Music lectures are designed to enhance all aspects of practical chamber music.

  • Thinking about recording / The self-directed recording artist

    Led by two critically acclaimed self-producing recording artists, five sessions exploring the challenges and opportunities for today’s musician.

  • Transcription and Arrangement

    Transcription and Arrangement is an elective open to all postgraduate performance students. This elective explores the art of arranging and transcribing music for a variety of ensembles and contexts. It will be of particular use for students wishing to arrange existing music for their own chamber ensembles, such a string quartets or wind and brass ensembles.

Department Classes
And Activities

In addition to individual lessons, composers participate in the following activities:

Orchestration and Analysis

Developing skills in producing scores and performance parts to build confidence in adapting compositional processes to the
demands of different performance contexts.

Electronic Music and Creative Technology

The Academy has a wide range of Creative Technology facilities. These allow the composition, recording, editing and mixing of a wide range of musical styles to be done using professional-quality hardware and software. We have dedicated staff to teach you how to use it.

Composer Workshops

You will be given regular occasions to rehearse and record your work with talented Academy musicians in both studio and concert hall settings. There are many opportunities for student compositions to be played by orchestral and chamber ensembles both inside and outside the Academy.

Composition Concerts

Composer Platform concerts are given at the end of each term, both within the Academy and in external venues in London.


Throughout the year, we offer a number of commissions to our composers to write for a wide variety of events with professional performers both within and outside the Academy. Recently, three of our composers wrote commissions for the annual Spitalfields Festival.

Seminar Series

This series underpins all composition studies and features guest composers such as Brian Eno, Simon Holt, Judith Weir, Beat Furrer, Martijn Padding, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, and Betsy Jolas.

Discovery events

Discovery Events are the perfect way to find out more about the Academy and whether it’s the right place for you.

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