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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MUSS2822 Music in Practice

20 creditsClass Size: 16

Module manager: Dr Ewan Stefani

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module syllabus will vary depending on the nature and focus of the topic area on which the Music in Practice is based.Synthesizer EnsembleThis is a research-led practical option for students. I will use my on-going research into synthesizer performance practice and composition techniques to explore the analogue synthesizer as an instrument with the students in a series of hands-on, directed classes. Students do not need prior experience with the instruments, keyboard skills, or staff notation reading skills. We will devise appropriate text-based and/or graphic notation to record sequences of parameter changes and note patterns with the students, in addition to learning sequences of changes by memory. Ideas will be derived from directed and semi-improvised exploration of a). different types of sound design, to learn the full sonic potential of the instrument, and b). methods of combining interlocking rhythmic, abstract/textural and melodic parts together as an ensemble. Musically, we will explore new aesthetic approaches to using the instruments that draw upon practice from both pop and experimental electronic genres. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own independent short pieces for synthesizer, drawing upon the techniques that we have investigated in classes. They will be required to undertake a survey of literature and contemporary practice to underpin their work. The module will culminate in a public performance of the ensemble works that we have developed in class, making use of the notation that has been devised. Participation in the class work will be assessed by learning logs, where students are required to record weekly diaries of their practice and research outwith classes. Individual work will be assessed using performance criteria, with background thinking and research recorded in a short commentary to accompany the recorded performance.


Music in Practice aims to introduce students to specific topics within the field of academic practice-led research. Students will be involved in the development of project work, as directed by an individual member of academic staff, or a group of staff. A range of practice-led project themes will be offered each academic year. The content of each topic will be determined by current staff research and scholarship interests and activities. Projects may be interdisciplinary, combining different approaches to musical practice with the aim of increasing understanding of a specific research topic.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate the broadening of their musical knowledge through study of a defined area of practice;
- apply appropriate historical, analytical, critical, technological, psychological, scientific or comparative methodologies as appropriate to the design and development of a folio of practical work;
- demonstrate the development of musical practical skills;
- demonstrate the implementation of practice-led research skills;
- develop a sophisticated awareness of contextual approaches applicable to a specific musical repertoire or field of study.

Skills outcomes
Subject specific skills in music will include any combination of the following:
• Performance / improvisation skills
• Compositional skills
• Applied music technology skills
• Applied scientific research in music skills


Students will study one topic chosen from a range of research themes to be advertised to students in advance. The topics offered will cover different areas of practice-led research in any appropriate musical sub-disciplines or genres. Areas of study will typically involve activities such as musical performance, composition, improvisation, music technology, scientific investigation of music or combinations of any of these areas. The module will be taught via a combination of practice-led seminars and lectures.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be directed to online resources developed to support the module as appropriate, and a reading list will be provided for each area of study. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant research context in their approach to practical work.

Private study time will typically include:
• 3 hours of writing up notes per lecture (12 hours in total),
• 4 hours of preparation per class (24 hours in total),
• 4 hours of independent development of practice techniques per class (24 hours in total),
• 100 hours for creation of the portfolio,
• 20 hours of self-directed background reading and listening relevant to the topic

One of the six scheduled group-learning/practice-led sessions may be substituted for individual or group tutorials as appropriate. In this case, students should spend the additional private study time preparing for and working on ideas and approaches discussed in the tutorial.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Practice-led classes will provide opportunities for staff and peer feedback. Staff feedback on interim assignments and monitoring of progress will also be available via email and/or the VLE. Where a learning contract forms part of the portfolio submission this will also provide an opportunity for feedback and the monitoring of student progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PortfolioPractical work; equivalent to 3000-4000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/09/2019


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