Conducting (Choral or Orchestral) - MMus / PgDip

Attendance:
Part Time, Full Time
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Fees:
£7,500 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Designed for recent graduates and suitably qualified mature students, our taught Master of Music (MMus) and Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) courses in Conducting provide the technical training, collaborative opportunities and podium time necessary to launch a career as a professional conductor.

Birmingham Conservatoire is currently the most exciting destination for choral and orchestral conductors, with an active recording and concert schedule.

Our established Choral Conducting specialism allows you to work with a dedicated chamber choir, rehearsing and performing a variety of works throughout your training. You'll be offered tailored individual tuition from our principal conducting tutor Paul Spicer (Finzi Singers), and will also come into contact with Jeffrey Skidmore (Ex Cathedra) through the Conservatoire’s Chamber Choir.

As a first-study Orchestral Conductor, you'll be offered individual tuition from our staff conductors, Edwin Roxburgh and Daniele Rosina, and also from the many distinguished guest conductors who work with our ensembles and orchestras on an occasional basis throughout the year.

You'll work across the whole spectrum of the Conservatoire’s musical making, from core contemporary repertoire and student composition projects, through the central romantic and classic masterpieces back to period performance techniques. 

It's normal for conducting students to be proactive in presenting performances of projects that they've generated themselves. You'll receive support and professional advice in pursuing such projects, which should be viewed as an essential element of your studies. Both PgDip and MMus courses provide excellent opportunities to develop other skills relevant to a future career in the music profession.

What's covered in the course?

For Choral Conductors
  • Regular individual specialist tuition
  • Vocal lessons
  • Opportunities to join orchestral conducting classes
  • A dedicated chamber choir, ‘Camerata’, managed and nurtured by students on the course
  • Involvement in rehearsals of the Conservatoire’s highly acclaimed Chamber Choir, which has a regular and highly successful recording programme
  • Many other choral singing opportunities within the Conservatoire
  • Bespoke support classes in musicianship and repertoire, as well as seminar sessions relating to professional development for conductors
  • The flexibility to choose from a broad menu of Professional Development Option modules designed to help you work towards achieving your personal career aspirations
  • Personal support as you plan your future career
  • The flexibility to transfer from PgDip to MMus once you have begun your studies (but before completion of the PgDip course)
For Orchestral Conductors
  • Regular individual specialist tuition
  • Opportunities to join choral conducting classes
  • Access to the Conservatoire’s broad range of ensemble activities, including Symphony Orchestra, ‘Repertoire’ and ‘Pops’ Orchestras, Thallein (Contemporary Music) Ensemble, Brass Band and Brass Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
  • Regular opportunities to rehearse and perform with ensembles within the Conservatoire
  • Regular opportunities to observe orchestral and ensemble rehearsals, including sectional rehearsals directed by departmental heads or specialist guest tutors, giving valuable professional insight into the detailed working of the different instrumental areas of the orchestra
  • Regular sessions with pianists in orchestral repertoire
  • Bespoke support classes in musicianship and repertoire, as well as seminar sessions relating to professional development for conductors
  • The flexibility to choose from a broad menu of Professional Development Option modules designed to help you work towards achieving your personal career aspirations
  • Personal support as you make plans for your future career
  • The flexibility to transfer from PgDip to MMus once you have begun your studies (but before completion of the PgDip course)

Why Choose Us?

For most aspiring professional performers, postgraduate study at a conservatoire is accepted as a required continuation of their training. Furthermore, if you have other specialisms – notably composition, music technology and musicology – Birmingham Conservatoire offers the ideal environment in which you can hone your craft, with a multitude of opportunities both to collaborate with each other and with performers.

While it's a characteristic of conservatoire study (at any level) that your principal study area is at the heart of your course, and that advanced skills in this specialist area are a pre-requisite for a successful career in the music profession, we recognise that you also need to be equipped with a range of additional essential attributes – especially as most of you will be destined for freelance, portfolio careers which will rely on self-motivation and good organisational skills.

Our aim is to send you out with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed in your chosen branch(es) of the music profession, giving you a head-start in meeting the challenges involved in becoming a professional musician in the 21st century.

A distinctive feature of our postgraduate courses is that you can make choices within them directly relevant to your future career aspirations, both within your principal study area and – for PgDip, MMus and MA students – in your supporting studies; the latter take the form of ‘Professional Development Options’, which you choose from a broad and varied selection.

We also offer you guidance in making your choices by encouraging you to consider your plans for the future, and your priorities in terms of what you want to gain from your course. This will ensure that your module choices are made strategically in relation to your professional development and future employability.

Visit our open day

Birmingham Conservatoire Open Days

Our next Conservatoire Open Day is Thursday 26 January 2017.

More about our Open Days

This course is open to International students

Birmingham Conservatoire

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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

MMus/PgDip
Essential

UK students should normally hold an honours degree, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Non-UK students should hold a Bachelor's degree or a similar degree-equivalent diploma, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Audition requirements

All applicants for this course will be auditioned.

Home student auditions will be scheduled live in Birmingham, while special arrangements will be made for EU/international students unable to travel to the UK.

Further details about the audition will be supplied once we have received an application.

English language requirements

You must have a minimum of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in all four skills areas to secure a visa

You must have IELTS 6; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK;*.

 

* If your first language is not English, and you choose Professional Development Options which involve placements/activity in the local community in your first year (ie Teaching Matters; Music, Community and Wellbeing; Music Management) you will normally need to show evidence of IELTs 6.5 or equivalent at the start of the course.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2016 FT 2 years £7,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
PT 3 years £5,000 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 2 years TBC Apply via CUKAS
PT 3 years TBC Apply via CUKAS
PgDip Sep 2016 FT 1 year £7,500 Apply via CUKAS
PT 2 years £3,750 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC Apply via CUKAS
PT 2 years TBC Apply via CUKAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2016 FT 2 years £15,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 2 years £15,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
PgDip Sep 2016 FT 1 year £15,500 Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £15,500 Apply via CUKAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Completing your application

Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Professional Development Options - List A

Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
30 credits

This module provides a context for instrumental/vocal teaching by engaging with current ideas, theories and research, and incorporates teaching observations with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service) and elsewhere, as well as a small amount of teaching.

Historical Performance Practice
30 credits

This module focuses on case studies in Historical Performance Practice, incorporating practical workshops which involve the application of research/theory to practice.

Issues in Contemporary Music Composition and Performance
30 credits

This module focuses on compositional and performance issues in contemporary music.

Music Technology Contexts
30 credits

This module engages students in researching the aesthetic and contextual issues that underpin and justify artistic choices within music technology.

Concepts in Jazz Improvisation
30 credits

This module focuses on the concepts and language of contemporary jazz improvisation.

Professional Development Options - List B

Instrumental/Vocal Teaching Placement
30 credits

This module involves a teaching placement with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service); Teaching Matters module is a prerequisite, so this module can only be taken in a 2- or 3-year course. Numbers in a given year will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Music, Community and Wellbeing
30 credits

This module is concerned with music in health and therapeutic contexts, involving real-life placements. Numbers in a given year will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Music Management
30 credits

This module introduces you to the principles of artistic self-management, and involves you in defining and managing an actual project.

Self-defined Professional Project
30 credits

This module enables you to define you own project in an area relevant to your professional development; assessment will centre on documentation of and critical reflection on the project.

Lecture-Recital
30 credits

This module supports and guides you in developing your own Lecture-Recital.

Historical Keyboard Performance
30 credits

This module provides Principal Study keyboard players with the opportunity to gain skills in playing a historical instrument and to enhance their knowledge of relevant performance practices and practical musicianship skills; numbers will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Performing and Producing in the Studio
30 credits

This module combines practical, technical, theoretical and sociological training to enable you to deliver and evaluate recorded performance.

Interactive Music Technology Performance
30 credits

This module will engage you in the development and delivery of your own live music technology projects.

Writing Music for Media
30 credits

This module involves composition for different media contexts.

Orchestration
30 credits

This module is aimed specifically at composers and orchestral conductors.

Research Project
30 credits

This module engages you in defining and executing your own mini-research project.

Advanced Music Criticism
30 credits

This module enables you to develop your experience as a music critic, and also engages you with the history of the discipline of music criticism.

Critical Editing
30 credits

This module enables you to hone your experience as a critical editor.

Music and Ideas
30 credits

This module explores a range of approaches across the centuries to describe, investigate, rationalise and classify music.

Issues in Jazz Studies
30 credits

This module provides a historical and theoretical background to studies in Jazz: this is a core module in the School of Media’s MA Jazz Studies programme, and is taught within the School of Media.

Course structure

MMus students will take two Principal Study Project modules (60 credits each), plus four Professional Development Option modules (30 credits each).

PgDip students will take one Principal Study Project module (60 credits), plus two Professional Development Option modules (30 credits each).

Principal Study Project modules

The experience of managing rehearsals and directing performances is at the heart of the Principal Study Project modules in our postgraduate Conducting courses. These modules will enable you to become self-directed in tackling - and capable of solving - technical and musical problems, acting autonomously in planning and presenting performances at a high artistic level.

You'll be supported both by the specialist individual tuition you receive and by your experiences as a conductor throughout the course. Assessments for Principal Study 1 and 2 include assessed rehearsals and (except for Principal Study Project 1 for Choral Conductors) performances.

Both groups of conductors are also tested on aural skills (including sightsinging for Choral Conductors), while Orchestral Conductors additionally undertake exercises involving orchestration, programming and score knowledge. Work on all these elements is aided by bespoke support classes.

Professional development options

These are listed above, together with brief descriptions. They are designed to cover a range of areas of activity, enabling you to focus on areas directly relevant to your interests and your predicted future professional needs.

PgDip students must choose two options, taken from either or both lists; MMus students must choose four, of which one (or more) should be from List A. Note that there are some prerequisites, and also that some modules will have a limited number of places in any one year (and in the case that demand exceeds the number of places, there will be a formal application process).

You'll be supported in making your module choices: starting in Welcome Week and continuing for two weeks beyond that will be an extended period of induction and counselling for all new postgraduate students.

During this period, you'll be encouraged to discuss your career aspirations, and to reflect on what choices you can make within your course to equip you with skills/knowledge relevant to those aspirations. This process will take place through course meetings and information sessions, as well as small group and individual tutorials, and will be aimed at ensuring that you can make informed decisions in relation to your course choices.

At this stage, you'll be assigned a Personal Tutor from within the postgraduate course team; at later points during the year, your Personal Tutor will invite you to discuss your progress on the course, as well as your developing career plans, although you can make contact with your Personal Tutor – or any other member of the postgraduate course team – at any time.

If you need to choose Professional Development Options for subsequent years, you'll be invited to a review meeting towards the end of your first year of study to discuss and confirm your choices for the following year.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Birmingham Conservatoire has a growing community of international students from across the world.

We appreciate the challenges of moving to a new country to live and study, and aim to be as supportive as possible.

Aside from being friendly and welcoming, we have various support mechanisms in place to help you settle in as an international student, including:

  • An international students' 'orientation week', including a special Conservatoire welcome event

  • A dedicated international student admissions administrator

  • A full-time staff member employed as international student mentor (who speaks Mandarin)

  • A pastoral mentoring system in which you, as a new postgraduate international student, are mentored by continuing postgraduate international students

  • Additional academic skills support provided by expert tutors from the University's Centre for Academic Success, and by postgraduate academic mentors from among continuing postgraduate students

Further information for prospective international students is available on the University's international pages.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our conducting course is most popular with international students from:

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Norway

Our music technology facilities are some of the best of their kind in the country. All of our studios are capable of recording from any of our concert halls or live rooms.

Practice rooms

Our purpose-built site includes over 50 dedicated practice rooms; some of the most heavily used rooms in the entire University!

Additional practice facilities are available after 6pm, including some spacious studios used for teaching during the day. Most practice rooms are equipped with one or two upright or grand pianos and all are fitted with sound-dampening panels.

Conservatoire Café

The Conservatoire Café is open weekdays during term time from 8.30am to around 4.30pm (closing times vary a little, depending on what’s going on in the building). Hot food, freshly prepared, is available at breakfast and lunch times, with sandwiches, snacks, cold and hot drinks available throughout the day.

Coffee Bar

Serving hot and cold drinks and a selection of snacks, the Conservatoire’s Coffee Bar generally opens before and during the interval of concerts in the Adrian Boult Hall, Arena Foyer and Recital Hall.

Conservatoire Bar

Our licensed bar is open before and during the interval of major concerts at the Conservatoire. However, most students prefer the comfort and laid-back atmosphere of the local pubs, many of which have been co-opted as student bars!

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295