Classes & activities
- Principal Study
30 hours per year of one-to-one instrumental lessons culminating in an end-of-year recital.
- Second Study (optional)
Provision is available for tuition on a second-study instrument (5 or 10 hours per year). You must apply to your tutor at the start of the academic year.
- Ensemble Projects
These comprise weekly workshops and culminate in a public performance. The programme of concerts varies from year to year and provides a foundation of core knowledge, enabling you to undertake a broad ensemble schedule throughout your studies. First-year students take part in two projects featuring the music of some of the great African American Jazz Masters. In February there is an intensive Jazz Festival featuring inter-year ensembles with various guest artists.
- Jazz Orchestra
All Undergraduate students get the chance to participate in the Jazz Orchestra during their studies. Projects feature a wide range of repertoire, guest soloists, composers and directors, culminating in a public concert in the Academy or at an external venue.
- Artist Development
In an increasingly competitive musical profession, you will need to be equipped with the essential tools to flourish. We have excellent links with the jazz media and industry, resulting in regular seminars with journalists, broadcasters and record label owners. At the end of the BMus and Postgraduate Programmes there is a Artist Development Portfolio that includes many key skills and real-world examples, such as writing funding applications and press releases. You also have the chance to take electives in Principles of Education and Music in the Community, and to study for the additional LRAM teaching diploma.
- Composition and Arranging
This core course has been designed to give students the tools and the confidence to continue composing when they have left the Academy. At undergraduate level you will cover specific harmonic approaches to writing throughout the year, with regular performance workshops of the compositions. Students in the fourth year complete two contrasting large-scale projects: creative writing for Octet and a major work for Jazz Orchestra performed in a public concert.
- Jazz Supporting Studies
This module provides opportunities for students to develop skills in writing two-stave short scores and fully notated piano parts, supporting the requirements of the C&A course.
- Aural and Transcription
This course cultivates the aural skills that will underpin your improvisation and playing. You will learn to recognise and identify different chord qualities, modal sounds and key centres. You will also undertake regular transcription projects to internalise the vocabulary and phrasing of the great players in history.
- Contemporary Rhythmic Skills
This introduces non-Western principles of rhythm drawn from Asian, African and Latin American traditions. The course aims to familiarise you with techniques of group co-ordination and with individual and collective learning methods appropriate to aural/oral methodologies.
- Repertoire and Improvisation
You will learn a list of commonly played tunes by ear, all of which typify a particular harmonic or compositional device. You will then use these tunes to explore a variety of improvisational approaches and strategies.
- Creative Technology
This course explores the latest developments in interactive technology within live and recorded music. You will be encouraged to experiment through practical projects, and develop an integrated approach with software such as Ableton Live, Logic and various hardware pedals and controllers. You will also gain studio experience to explore the basic requirements and practical considerations of the recording environment.
- Jazz History: from African American origins to todays multicultural world jazz
Familiarity with the history of jazz has been central to the learning process of all jazz innovators. This BMus course develops critical awareness by analysing major works and linking them to their cultural context. Concentrating on the genre’s African American and European origins, the intention is to stimulate critical debate over the aesthetic, social, political and ethical decisions facing contemporary jazz practitioners.
- Rhythmic Studies of the African Diaspora
This introduces non-Western principles of rhythm drawn from Asian, African and Latin American traditions. The course aims to familiarise you with techniques of group co-ordination and with individual and collective learning methods appropriate to aural/oral methodologies. Teaching areas include case studies of tribal musics; rhythm studies; transcription; composition and arrangement analysis; group movement and co-ordination; ensemble drumming; additive rhythm; and percussion techniques.
Open Days are the perfect way to discover more about the Academy and whether it’s the right place for you.
Find out practical information about the application process, finances and career development on the Open Days Home Page.