This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a broad introduction to the arts and humanities followed by one module from a choice of two.
- At Stage 2, you’ll study two compulsory modules which will introduce you to the principles of music and using music technology.
- Finally, at Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with two compulsory modules exploring the impact of music in social contexts and the practice of music making.
In Stage 1, you'll encounter a variety of musicians and musical works and practices alongside fascinating insights from across the arts and humanities. This broad foundation will help you develop the academic skills and confidence necessary for studying music at Stages 2 and 3.
At Stage 2, you'll engage closely with musical materials in audio and notated forms and use your study of these as the basis for creating your own music with the help of specialist computer software.
At Stage 3, you'll study music in a broad range of cultural and historical contexts, as well as developing critical and reflective skills to apply to your practice as a musician.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Music uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- finding external/third party material online
- using technology for research purposes involving access to online catalogues and databases
- working in a group with other students
- working with specialist reading material such as musical manuscripts
- undertaking practical work
- using specialist software (for example the Dorico music notation package).
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BA (Honours) Music.
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
Before starting Stage 2 of this degree it would be useful to have some knowledge of music theory equivalent to ABRSM Grade 3 level, as the modules begin at a basic level and quickly progress to more advanced musical concepts and techniques. If you have not yet learned music theory or notation, we recommend studying the OU’s free online course, Introduction to music theory. When studying the Stage 3 module Creative music making (offered by our partner institution Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) you are expected to be actively involved in some form of practical collaborative music making for the duration of that module. You will also be required to attend a residential learning week at Trinity Laban in Greenwich, London. Students at any level of practical musical skill are welcome to take the module.
How much time do I need?
Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year
This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week
If you wish to study full time, it will take you a minimum of:
– 3 years if you fund either of the Stage 3 modules by any means other than a Student Loan
– 4 years if you fully fund this qualification with a Student Loan.
This is because the Student Loans provider will not provide a loan for two Higher Education Institutions in the same Academic Year, as required within Stage 3 of this qualification.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music, all through its central theme of ‘popular protest’. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
Studying music will provide you with an adaptable set of skills that can lead in many directions and which are greatly valued by employers. Broadly summarised these are critical thinking, analysis, collaborative working, communication, and expertise in working with abstract structures and processes. You will sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking skills, and develop an ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information when constructing an argument. These are key skills in complex organisations, and are highly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
Study of the arts and humanities requires an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural environments and historical contexts. The breadth of study and range of musical repertoire and practice explored, combined with clear thinking and communication, make the BA (Hons) Music relevant to a wide range of careers, including:
- the cultural and creative industries
- public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
- advertising, journalism, publishing, and public relations
- business, banking and retail
- human resources
- charities and campaigning
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:
- teacher - private/secondary/primary
- arts administrator
- community music leader
- music producer / sound designer
- sound recordist
- theatre stage manager
- music therapist
- event organiser
- public relations manager
- media researcher
- civil servant
- marketing manager.