Studying in the Historical Performance department will enable you to further your individual musicianship, instrumental technique, knowledge of historical performance practice and artistic creativity.

Classes & activities

Core Modules

Undergraduate students take weekly academic classes in addition to their principal study. The classes are designed to complement and add to every student’s creative development as performers.

BMus Core Modules, Years 1 and 2

  • Principal Study

    Principal Study is the core of your programme. It is taught in individual lessons with your Principal Study Professor and through a range of activities organised by your Department.

  • Analytical Skills

    The module provides a grounding in the basic materials of tonal common-practice harmony and counterpoint, and the analysis of smaller-scale musical form.

  • Aural Skills

    Aural Skills develops the skills necessary to receive, form, understand and use musical structures in your inner ear, thus giving your performance authentic power and expressive meaning.

  • Contexts for Performance

    This module in year 1 develops your understanding of the broader social and cultural contexts of the repertoire and performance practices of Western music from ca. 1600 to 1850. You will explore the stylistic and cultural significance of music at different times and in different places; become more familiar with composers, performers and musical institutions that have shaped music throughout history; and gain a broader understanding of the different ways music has participated in ideas, events and changes in society more widely. In the second year, Contexts for Performance develops your understanding of the broader social and cultural contexts of the repertoire and performance practices of Western music from ca. 1850 to the present day.

BMus Elective Modules; Year 3 and 4

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

  • Analysis of Post-Tonal Music

  • Attentive Listening

  • Aural Skills, Further

  • Baroque Performance on Historical Instruments

  • Baroque Performance Vocal

  • British Music and Culture

  • Compositional Techniques of the Germanic Traditions c.1780-c.1880

  • Concert Programmes and Programming

  • Conducting, Intermediate or Advanced

  • Contemporary Music Workshop

  • Free Composition for Performers

  • Fugue

  • Italian Opera from Rossini to Puccini

  • Keyboard Skills, Advanced or Creative

  • Landscapes of Postwar Music

  • Methods in the Analysis of Tonal Music

  • Musical Culture and Aesthetics

  • Open Academy: An Introduction to Community and Participation

  • Open Academy: Leadership Skills

  • Musical Culture and Aesthetics

  • Orchestration

  • Performing Baroque Music

  • Performing Experimental Music

  • Repertoire Studies

  • Research Project

  • Responding to the Music of Bach

  • Russian Music

  • Song Accompaniment

  • Silent Film Improvisation

  • Transcription and Arrangement

Department Classes
And Activities

Undergraduate students take weekly academic classes in addition to their Historical Performance studies. Classes such as Techniques and Analysis, Conducting, Technology, Keyboard Skills and Western Music History are designed to complement and add to your creative development as a performer.

In addition to weekly individual lessons, both undergraduate and postgraduate Historical Performance students participate in the following activities:

Performance Classes/Masterclasses

Performance Classes are led by renowned musicians from around the world and give you an opportunity to experiment and explore communication skills in solo repertoire and to receive direct feedback about all aspects of your performance.

Chamber Music

Chamber music is at the heart of the Historical Performance Faculty and you will have opportunities to perform in several mixed ensembles, playing repertoire from Renaissance to Romantic. There are also opportunities to join the recorder consort, oboe band, viol consort and other ensembles. All groups are coached by Academy professors or visiting guests who help guide and prepare students for assessed performances and frequent public concerts.

Repertoire sessions

We hold dedicated classes for learning and preparing standard professional repertoire such as Passions, masses and other orchestral works to ensure our students are already familiar with major pieces when playing in gigs and professional ensembles.

Baroque Dance

You will take part in dance projects. All of our students learn to play dance music, in order to work effectively with dancers and to appreciate dance elements in instrumental music. Most of our students also learn to dance, but anyone with any physical issues is able to set their own pace.

Basso Continuo

Whatever instrument you play, you will have lessons in keyboard continuo playing and realisation depending on your individual experience, expertise and interest. You will learn what to listen for, and what to ask for, from continuo players.

Lecture Workshops

Lecture Workshops are held throughout the year and discuss the main areas of historical performance practice from the Medieval to the Romantic. Classes combine theoretical explanation and discussions with practical application to relevant repertoire.

Orchestra and Ensemble Performance

Students gain unrivalled experience in ensemble playing on historical instruments through orchestral opportunities at the Academy and beyond. You will rehearse and perform regularly and concerts are often led by members of the Academy’s own team as well as visiting artists.

Discovery events

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

Read more >