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BA (Honours) Music - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This degree aims to impart:

  • a critical understanding of musical parameters and structures, and practical knowledge of how to manipulate these compositionally;
  • the ability to read and represent music through music notation;
  • the capacity to communicate clearly about a range of musics using appropriate vocabulary and style;
  • the ability to understand and deploy a range of technologies for producing, manipulating, disseminating, storing, and transmitting music;
  • critical and reflective skills to apply to your practice as a musician;
  • familiarity with key approaches to the study of music drawn from music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology;
  • an understanding of how musicians respond to and effect consequences within their musical and social contexts;
  • the ability to evaluate arguments about music and to produce coherent, well-supported arguments yourself.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • scholarly approaches to the study of music
  • a broad and substantial repertory of music, including some works and performances studied in depth, and detailed knowledge of the repertoire, techniques, performing practices and traditions of at least one chosen musical genre or discipline
  • the key terms, contexts and notational practices relating to western and some non-western musics
  • the principal concepts, theories and analytical procedures used in the study of music and sound, including scholarly approaches to exploring performances, compositions, their contexts, and their participants and audiences
  • the technologies by which music has been produced, manipulated, disseminated, stored, and transmitted.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • listen to music accurately and critically, read critically, and think logically.
  • communicate sophisticated ideas about music using appropriate vocabulary and style.
  • deploy, read, and interpret a range of musical notations.
  • critically evaluate and compare ideas, arguments, theories and approaches used in the study of music.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • independently and critically search for, access, select, evaluate, summarise and synthesise information and ideas obtained from a variety of sources, including written and aural media, making use of a range of IT tools.
  • present the results of study in an appropriate manner and in several media, including writing, musical notation, and performance or composition.
  • make and notate music in a range of representative repertoires or styles.
  • understand professional practice in music across a range of roles and repertoires. 

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • study and learn independently, and carry out autonomous research. Assess tasks and make plans across a programme of work and be able to reflect on, plan, and use time strategically in order to fulfil those tasks
  • engage in reflective personal practice and seek and use feedback from a tutor to evaluate the learning process, and improve performance
  • write clearly about music and sound using appropriate terminology.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will 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.

In the programme a range of types of assessment is used, in accordance with the recommendations of the national music benchmarking statement. Most modules include continuous assessment and an examinable component. The tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that make up the continuous assessment component may take the form of essays, compositions, reflective writing, and reports, depending on the module and the level.

The examinable component may take the form of a traditional unseen examination or a project that demonstrates your ability to engage with music in different ways, such as through an extended piece of writing, a composition, or a practice-based portfolio.