Study Day with the OAE at the Southbank Centre, 22 February 2024

The Music Department is pleased to present a Study Day in collaboration with its partner orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE). The day will take place at the Southbank Centre, London, on Thursday 22 February 2024. The title for the day is Informed Listening, Informed Performance.

The day is open to students registered on any of the following modules: A232 Music, Sound and Technology, A234 Inside Music, A342 Central Questions in the Study of Music, Creative Music Making (presented by our curriculum partner, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance), or the MA in Music (A873 / A874). Students registered for the BA (Music) degree or the BA (Humanities with Music) degree and studying Level 1 modules are also welcome. Associate Lecturers in Music are also welcome to attend.

The Study Day sessions will take place in the Foyle Pavilion, the Southbank Centre. The evening concert, with a programme entitled Mozart: Love is in the Air, will take place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The draft schedule for the day is:

  • 12:00–13:00 Study Session I: Panel discussion with members of the OAE
  • 13:00–14:00 Lunch break
  • 14:00–14:30 Music at the Open University (survey of current activity and future plans)
  • 14:30–15:30 Study Session II: Informed Listening, Informed Performance
  • 15:30–17:00 OAE final rehearsal (Queen Elizabeth Hall)
  • 17:00–18:00 Dinner Break
  • 18:00–18:30 Pre-concert Talk (Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer, open to public)
  • 19:00–c.21:30 Concert (OAE, Riccardo Minasi, Louise Alder) Mozart: Love is in the Air

The charge for the day is £9.00 payable in advance through the booking page at This includes all study day sessions, and admission to the evening concert. Full booking instructions are given on the page.

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OAE concert with pre-concert talk, 25 October 2023

The department’s partner orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), begins its Southbank Season this year on Wednesday 25 October at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

The concert is also the first event this year in the partnership between the OU and the OAE, with Robert Samuels of the music department giving a pre-concert talk. The programme, entitled ‘Haydn first and last’, features Haydn’s symphonies nos 1 and 104.

The talk is free, and will start at 6:00pm. The concert is at 7:00pm. All students can buy tickets for only £9.00 through the OAE box office. Full details can be found at

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EDI Scholarships in Music for UK Schoolteachers

We are delighted to be able to offer three fully-funded EDI scholarships for teachers in UK state schools wishing to study either of the following Open University modules:

  • A232 Music, Sound and Technology
  • A234 Understanding Music

These scholarships, funded by the OU’s Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, will be awarded to UK schoolteachers who intend to introduce or develop the provision of music technology or music theory in the non-fee-paying school or college where they work.  They are open to teachers of any discipline (i.e., you do not have to be a music teacher) and at secondary level looking to develop their knowledge of these areas with this aim in mind.

In the award of these scholarships, preference will be given to:

  • teachers (broadly defined) working in schools with a high proportion of students from backgrounds which are traditionally under-represented in the music studies, e.g. those from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background and/or where a high percentage of pupils are eligible for Free School Meals;
  • individuals from backgrounds which are traditionally under-represented in the teaching of music, e.g. those from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background (including people with a mixed ethnic background) or from a working class background.

These scholarships are open to those teaching in non-fee-paying secondary schools as well as sixth form colleges. Please note that applicants will normally be expected to have worked for at least two years as a teacher.

Studying with the Open University

A232 Music, Sound and Technology and A234 Understanding Music are 60-credit modules, requiring regular study each week.  Students are supported by a dedicated tutor, enjoy access to regular tutorials, and study primarily online. The Open University’s distance learning model gives students the flexibility to study where and when they want.  Modules run from October to May and are assessed via a series of assignments submitted throughout the year.

A232 Music, Sound and Technology

This module explores the nature of musical sound and the ways that technology can be used by musicians working in the creative industries. You’ll be introduced to the skills needed for making recordings, and the module resources include software packages for analysing and editing recorded sound. You’ll study how the physics of sound underlie musical experiences, and investigate the acoustic properties of different instruments. The module aims to deepen your understanding of the nature of sound and to equip you better as a musician, whatever your background and musical interests. The material covered provides a strong foundation for the teaching of music technology up to GCSE level (or National 4/5 Music in Scotland).

Further information about this module is available on the OU website , and on our departmental website.

A234 Understanding Music

This introduction to the fundamentals of Western music theory will allow you to understand and use music notation. You’ll study the elements of music and how these are assembled into larger musical structures, focusing on music encountered in Western traditions (popular and classical). You’ll learn to make sense of a wide variety of notated music, and you’ll be encouraged to make meaningful connections between the topics you study and your own experiences and tastes through independent study. You’ll develop practical musicianship skills, using professional music-notation software, that will provide you with a grounding for arranging and composing. You don’t need any prior knowledge of musical notation in order to study this module, but some basic preparation in advance will be helpful. You’ll be directed to websites where you can gain the relevant information. The material covered provides a strong foundation for the teaching of music up to GCSE level (or National 4/5 in Scotland).

Further information about this module is available on the OU website, and on our departmental website.

What’s included in the scholarship

The Open University EDI scholarships consist of a grant of £3,462 to cover the full cost of the tuition fees for the module.

Successful candidates will be provided with support and advice on developing or introducing music in their school. They will also be asked to provide brief written and/or oral updates on their progress and plans during their studies and to complete a report following their completion of the module.

Developing the teaching of music in schools

Note that your plans to introduce or develop music in your school need not necessarily mean offering a formally examined course (such as a GCSE).  Your plans might instead involve introducing teaching music-related classes or clubs off-timetable, for example.  Please outline your plans and their expected impact (e.g. in terms of student numbers) in your application.

How to apply

To apply for the scholarship, please complete the application form and send it to

With the form you should also send:

  • a separate curriculum vitae (CV) of no more than two pages;
  • a copy of your degree certificate (or a transcript of your degree that makes clear the level of your academic achievement);
  • a statement from your headteacher indicating that they are willing to support your plans to introduce or develop music technology or music theory in your school or college. (This need be no more than one side of A4.)

The application form includes a section for a short personal statement (of no more than 800 words). You should use this section to outline:

  • the nature of the school you work in and its student body (where possible, please provide information on the percentage of pupils with English as an Additional Language, Special Educational Needs and Free School Meals, plus a link to the latest Ofsted report);
  • how you propose to develop the provision of music in your school;
  • how the scholarship will facilitate greater access to music for those from backgrounds which are traditionally under-represented in the field (this may apply either to you as the candidate and/or to your students);
  • your teaching experience to date;
  • your need for this professional development.

The successful applicants will be selected on the basis of this statement, their eligibility, and their academic and professional achievements to date, also taking into account the level of support from the school or college.

Stronger applications will normally:

  • show evidence of clear, well-developed plans;
  • outline how the knowledge and skills acquired by studying the module will enhance the candidate’s ability to teach music; and
  • demonstrate that the candidate’s study of the module will make a meaningful contribution to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in music education.

The scholarships will not be awarded to students receiving full funding from other funding bodies. It is not necessary to register for OU study before making this application.

The Open University is proud to promote diversity in education and we welcome applications from all sections of the community. If it would help to have the application in an alternative format, please contact:

The deadline for applications is midday on Monday 3 July 2023 and we intend to inform all applicants by late-July. Informal enquiries about these scholarships can be made to: Dr Martin Clarke (

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PhD Studentships in Music at The Open University

The Department of Music at The Open University invites applications for October 2023 entry to its PhD programme.

We have a wide range of expertise, from the medieval period to the present day. Our specialisms include historical musicology, the social and cultural study of music, music analysis, editing, performance practice, iconography, ethnomusicology, music and gender, film music, music and literature studies, music technology and music computing.

The 2022 REF judged 92 per cent of our music research as ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’.

For further details of staff and student research interests see: and


Successful applicants to the Music PhD programme will have the opportunity to apply for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge (OOC) AHRC studentship. OOC is a doctoral training partnership (DTP), funded by the AHRC. The three participating universities share extensive expertise in delivering successful doctoral training, developed in collaboration with our students and a wide range of non-HEI partners.

An OOC studentship covers university fees in full and provides a tax-free stipend for living costs at the UKRI rate (currently £17,668 per year). Awards are made for the full duration of fee liability.

How to apply

Informal enquiries about PhD studies and studentships in Music should be made to Helen Barlow at in the first instance. Potential applicants are encouraged to email a draft research proposal as soon as possible and ideally at least two months before the deadline.

Further details of the application process for OOC studentships can be found here:

Initially, applications for studentships will be assessed for a place on the Music PhD programme. Successful applicants will then be forwarded to studentship panels for further assessment and ranking.

Please note that the deadline for all postgraduate research degree applications, including for OOC studentships, is 12 noon on 11 January 2023.


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BBC Proms interval feature

Gustav Mahler, around the time of the First Symphony’s composition (Bridgeman images)

On Monday 5 September, Robert Samuels from the Music Department will be in conversation with presenter Ian Skelly as the interval feature for that evening’s concert in the BBC Proms season.  The discussion will focus on Mahler’s First Symphony, which will be played in the second half of the concert.

The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio Three, and available on BBC Sounds.  The website for the concert can be found here.

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World Premiere Concert: 24 May 2022

The conductor, harpsichordist and OU PhD student Bridget Cunningham brings Handel’s pasticcio opera, Caio Fabbricio HWV A9, back to life in a concert by London Early Opera on 24 May 2022 – the first modern-day concert performance of the work.

Caio Fabbricio was first performed in London in 1733 and is based on an earlier opera by Johann Adolf Hasse. It is an internationally important work and contains a brilliant and well-considered collection of some of the finest 18th-century Neapolitan arias by composers such as Hasse and Leonardo Vinci, all chosen by Handel and woven around his own dramatic recitatives.

The plot looks back to Ancient Rome when the incorruptible Roman ambassador, Caio Fabbricio, was sent to Tarento to restore peace and order between republican Rome and the Greeks under the leadership of the warlike King Pyrrhus (Pirro) in the wake of the latter’s self-damaging ‘Pyrrhic’ victory in 280 B.C.

Bridget is currently studying towards a PhD in music at the OU, funded by an AHRC OOC stipend and supervised by Dr Helen Coffey, Professor David Rowland and Professor Donald Burrows. Recently she gave a paper for the Open University Music Research Day which explored Hasse’s operatic music and Handel’s pasticcios including Caio Fabbricio – a piece that she has researched, edited and recorded in her Handel series with Signum Records. You can listen to part of the recording here.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased here.

Caio Fabbricio HWV A9 by G.F. Handel

Tuesday 24th MAY 2022    19:00 (Ends at 21:45)

St George’s Church Hanover Square, Mayfair, London, W1S 1FX








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Pre-concert talk on 8 March

Daniel Bates of the OAE

Following our successful Study Day held on 15 February, the next event in our partnership with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will be a pre-concert talk by the Music Department’s Robert Samuels on 8 March at the Southbank Centre, London, before the OAE’s concert in the Royal Festival Hall.

The concert, conducted by Ádám Fischer, is of works by Gustav Mahler, concluding with his Symphony No. 4. Robert, the author of a book and several articles on Mahler’s music, has called his talk, ‘Who came up with this little song?’.

The talk is free, open to all, and will take place at 6pm before the concert at 7pm. Tickets for the concert can be booked via the OAE website at Student tickets are available for £5.

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ConductIT website is launched

ConductIT, an ERASMUS funded collaborative project to create online resources for learning the art of conducting will be launched this week in a hybrid live-online event in Aveiro, Portugal. The Open University is one of four partner institutions in the venture. The others are the University of Stavanger, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Universidad de Aveiro. The launch event will be streamed live on Friday 26 November 10am-4pm. To view the livestream, go to

The project was badly affected by the pandemic as many of the live rehearsals and performances scheduled for filming were cancelled. In spite of the difficulties, some uniquely creative materials have been produced that will enable anyone wanting to pursue a better knowledge of conducting, to develop their skills or to get advice from some of the best conductors in the world.

The ConductIT website  features a ‘study room’ offering a collection of workbook resources with downloadable instrumental parts for short orchestral extracts that can be studied alongside videos demonstrating specific techniques.  In the ‘careers office’ section, experts in the business share insights about how to develop a career in conducting. The ‘library’ also includes a unique series of ‘downtime’ videos created during the lockdown in which conductors reflected on how they were using their unexpected time off.  A freestanding MOOC on basic conducting skills for beginners has been available on the website since December 2020, but it has now been translated and is available in Portuguese and will soon be available in Spanish.

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Call for Papers: Amazing Grace and its legacies: reflections at 250

Amazing Grace and its legacies: reflections at 250

15-16 July 2022, The Open University and Olney Parish Church

Call for Papers

John Newton’s ‘Amazing grace’ can lay claim to be one of the best-known hymns worldwide. Believed to have been written in late 1772 in preparation for a New Year’s Day service at the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Olney, where Newton was curate, in the ensuing 250 years it has been sung and heard around the world in many different guises, both sacred and secular. Its connections with John Newton’s own life and ministry, its popular status in the USA and beyond, and performances of it by famous singers, religious leaders and politicians are several of the ways in which its meanings and influence have been expressed.

This conference, co-hosted by The Open University, The Cowper and Newton Museum and Olney Parish Church, seeks to examine the hymn and its legacies in this 250th anniversary year. It will feature keynote addresses from Prof Bruce Hindmarsh (Regent College, Vancouver, BC) and Prof Anthony Reddie (Regent’s Park College, Oxford University). Scholars from any discipline and drawing on any methodology are invited to propose twenty-minute papers on any topic relating to ‘Amazing grace’, its influence and legacy. Possible topics may include but need not be limited to the following:

  • ‘Amazing grace’ and its eighteenth-century contexts
  • Literary and theological analyses
  • The words and music of ‘Amazing grace’: tunes, arrangements, re-tunings
  • Performances and performers, e.g., Aretha Franklin, Barack Obama, Andrea Bocelli
  • ‘Amazing grace’ and the Black Christian Experience
  • ‘Amazing grace’ and American identity
  • The global afterlives of ‘Amazing grace’, e.g., interpretations or popular/religious place in Africa, Asia or South America
  • ‘Amazing grace’ in film and other media

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be submitted via by 1 January 2022. Decisions will be communicated by 1 February 2022. Papers will be presented on Friday 15 July 2022 at The Open University. We are currently planning to hold the event in-person but will also facilitate online participation for delegates who are unable or do not wish to travel (details TBC). The second day of the conference will be held at Olney Parish Church and will feature keynote lectures, a roundtable discussion, tours of the Cowper & Newton Museum, and a concert.

Please direct any queries to

Conference committee

Gareth Atkins (Cambridge University)

Nancy Jiwon Cho (Seoul National University)

Martin V. Clarke (The Open University, chair)

Matthew Williams (University of Bristol)

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Instruments INDIA Young Creator’s Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the Instruments INDIA Young Creator’s competition, a competition held by Dr Manuella Blackburn and Milap, as part of their funded ED&I AHRC fellowship programme.

Winners announcement graphic

The competition saw Instruments INDIA make available a selection of samples from their upcoming commercial sample pack, for young producers and musicians aged 14-21 to experiment with and create new music of any style or genre with. The sample pack showcases the beautiful sounds of Indian instruments, performed by renowned Indian musicians in partnership with Milap – the UK’s leading Indian arts development hub. There are three awards being given as part of the competition, for the age categories 14-17 (UK), 18-21 (UK), and 14-21 (International), with a £500 prize for the winner of each category.

Dr. Manuella Blackburn: “It’s great to be able to offer this sample pack of Indian musical instrument sounds to music production communities worldwide. What is special about this opportunity is that it is specifically aimed at young composers, artists, and producers. Hearing the range of responses and interpretations of Indian instrument samples has been a pleasure and it has clearly captivated the imaginations of these submitting artists who are starting out in their creative journeys.”

The competition received over 30 submissions from around the world, with the winning tracks being chosen by an expert judging panel. The jury featured Ramshanker Sathianarayanan (composer and orchestral conductor), Girishh Gopalakrishnan (producer, composer and singer), Kousic Sen (Tabla), Jonny Batchelor (sample pack producer), and Hayley Suviste (composer).

The winners selected by the jury are:

Age 14-17 (UK): Joshua van der Hagen (Liopli) – Confused Circus

Joshua is 17 years old and based in the UK. He has been making music for just over two years, and was initially inspired by watching others on YouTube make music.

 Age 18-21 (UK): Nicolas Garcia-Peguinho (Acrux) – Silk Stria

Nicolas is 20 years old and from London, and is currently in their third year of studying music at the University of Manchester.

Age 14-21 (International): Eugene Mantilla (EUMAN) – Blinding Daylight

Eugene is an 18-year-old from from Peabody, Massachusetts. He has been making electronic music for over five years using Ableton Live.

Visit the Instruments INDIA SoundCloud page to listen to a podcast episode in which the judging panel announce, listen to, and discuss the winning submissions, and showcase a selection of other highly recommended submissions.

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