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Academic Studies


‘Royal Academy of Music has such a vibrant atmosphere of musical life and many of its events are open to the public, mostly free; with such brilliant young performers it is well worth a visit’ Words and Music, May 2010


Charlotte Reid (Violin) ‘My main dilemma when deciding which path to take after school was whether I should go to university or music college. Ultimately, it was what the Academy offered that swayed me towards the latter — the course, the teachers, the combination of the academic and the practical elements of music and the institution itself. All these made me realise I would be getting the best of both worlds! The instrumental teaching at the Academy is, of course, second to none but the level of academic teaching really surprised me — all the academic staff are fantastic specialists in their own fields and have a lot to offer and pass on to students.


In my time here, I have realised that it is the individual that determines exactly what they get out of the Academy. With so many chamber music, orchestral and solo concert opportunities, interesting academic electives and great facilities and teaching there is an endless amount to what you can do if you choose. The Academy is a lovely environment and, the Academy being a fairly small place, you get to know most students studying there at least well enough to say hello!’


Introduction Academic Studies are essential to every student’s creative development. A comprehensive range of topical courses is offered across the disciplines of Historical Musicology, Analysis, Performance Practice and Composition, as well as Aural Training, Keyboard Skills, Technology, and Conducting (Supporting Studies) courses which are designed to reinforce students’ critical awareness as performers and/or composers.


Years 1 and 2 of the BMus comprise a common core. In Years 3 and 4, students select their own specialisms from a wide range of electives. The programme’s flexibility encourages students to pursue their own individual interests in order to prepare for a range of careers within the music profession.


The Academy collaborates with King’s College London, where a range of specialist courses is available for Academy students.


Techniques and Analysis This two-year, seminar-based course aims to develop understanding and appreciation of music at a technical level. Pastiche composition aims to provide facility in manipulating musical materials and ideas. Analysis of musical processes cultivates an ability to make informed performance decisions. Electives in T&A are available in Year 3.


Introduction to Performance Practice An investigation of performance techniques and interpretative issues. This equips students with tools to investigate repertoire in both historical and contemporary contexts.


Technology Students use state-of-the-art music software and newly-refurbished studios in ten creative technology-based courses, all of which are designed to enhance the learning experience and stimulate musical creativity. Using the Academy’s intranet, students also learn how to collect, store, and manipulate data electronically.


Class Electives Offered to students from the third year onwards, class electives encourage exploration of specific repertoire (e.g. Mozart Opera, Brahms, Messiaen, etc) and development of areas of specific technical expertise (e.g. Instrumentation, Specialist Keyboard Skills, Historical Performance, etc).


Classes run as seminar groups, and students are expected to engage with emerging critical ideas and take the initiative in individual project work.


Topics in Western Music History This one-year course focuses on the musicological, social and political context of composers within the western art tradition.


Presentational methods range from formal chronological surveys of historical periods to discussions of selected works. The course aims to generate an environment where students feel able to question received terms and definitions.


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