The Academy’s brass department aims to maximise the musical skills of each individual student preparing them for a fulfilling and successful career in music.

Classes & activities

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.

  • Individual lessons for Principal Study

    Regular one-to-one work with a Principal Study teacher underpins the core aims of the programme. This working environment (which is a defining feature of specialist conservatoire training) is designed to foster the passing on of discipline-specific professional/artistic practices, and to enable students to develop key professional skills that relate directly to their individual abilities and artistry: musical technique, interpretation skills, repertoire building, programme/portfolio building; audition techniques, and so on. Principal Study accounts for 75% of the degree for MA.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • Individual portfolio supervision

    Academic supervisions provide the opportunity for academic staff to develop, monitor, and critique work on the Portfolio, and to provide specialist input where applicable.

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

  • 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.

  • Composition

    The Composition elective is available for postgraduate performance students who have prior experience of instrumental and/or vocal composition at degree level (or equivalent).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Performing French Music

    This elective is offered to instrumentalists, singers and conducting students, covering song, solo and chamber repertoire and orchestral works (for everyone’s mutual interest)

  • 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.

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