The course has been designed so that you can align your studies to your passion in music and graduate with a degree that represents your interests and skills. With a wide range of optional modules leading to named degree pathways, you can graduate with any of the following titles:
You will become a part of our friendly and supportive international community of more than 300 music students, based in the purpose-built Grove building at our vibrant North London campus. You'll collaborate with students from other courses in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, especially in Dance, Theatre, Animation, TV Production, Art, Fashion and Design.
Benefit from more than 40 permanent and visiting music staff of national and international standing in their fields, as performers, composers, songwriters, scholars and music industry specialists.
Make the most of our state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including an industry standard recording and mixing studio, concert grand pianos, sound insulated practice rooms and computer suites.
You will gain key industry links to the music world with regular visiting guest speakers and master-classes from leading practitioners and music industry managers and the opportunity to work with a range of artists and professors in residence including the Firebird Orchestra, Allegri String Quartet, Daniel Miller, Founder of Mute Records and Grammy award winning producer Alan Branch.
You’ll get plenty of support throughout your course, including access to professional staff, coaches, and personal instrumental lessons in your first study instrument or voice. You can also take advantage of our library and music practice facilities.
While you’re learning, you’ll be matched with a Personal Tutor directly related to your course. You’ll also get support from our Student Learning and Graduate Academic Assistants, who have experience in your subject area.
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You’ll explore performance, composition or songwriting, music technology, studio music production, music theory and specialise in genres such as classical, jazz and popular music.
You’ll be encouraged to think critically about music by studying key ideas and concepts, from the historical, political and economic to the technological and aesthetic. You'll learn harmony
, instrumentation, orchestration and musicianship, and how to write and/or perform music convincingly in a range of styles.
This module explores the reative practice in Music in performance/improvisation and composition/songwriting. You'll develop proficient skills and techniques in these areas and can select areas of creative practice as major and minor components in the summative assessment. The exploration and development of creative practice provides a solid foundation for later specialist creative work.
This module will give you the skills to both understand and utilise music theory. You'll look at the use of music notation and develop a knowledge of harmony and analytical insight. You'll also develop essential musicianship skills such as aural perception, melodic/harmonic transcription, sight-reading, and the practical application of notation conventions and symbols.
This module will develop your understanding and technical ability in making, recording and producing music using digital, electronic and acoustic sound sources.
This module will develops your ability to think critically about music, and introduces key ideas, concepts and approaches such as the social, the material, the historical, the political, the economic, the technological, and the aesthetic.
You'll also explore current units including:
This module will develop your songwriting and compositional skills to specific briefs. You'll develop your own distinctive voice through exploration of various writing techniques and approaches as well as using a range of styles and genres.
This module will develop your knowledge in the styles and techniques of small group bop and hard bop. You'll gain an awareness of the roles of instruments in these styles and their inter-relationships in practical performance and workshop groups.
This module will explore creative practice in Music through performance and musicianship. You'll gain skills and techniques in these areas and begin to develop an individual and distinctive voice as an artist.
This module will act as a study of music production theories and practices. You'll learn to confidently apply advanced techniques and procedures in digital and analogue recording and mixing environments. You'll also be able to adapt these to achieve the desired creative results.
This module will explore and evaluate the appraisal of recent, current and significant trends in popular music and related concepts. You'll be encouraged to view the dialogue between musical practice, reflective thinking, and critical evaluation that benefits and develops creative and academic work.
This module develops critical understanding of how musical practices intersect with cultural domains. You'll examine the role of music in the production and transmission of identities, knowledges, beliefs, values, attitudes and understandings, and explore how, in turn, these shape music and its interpretation.
This module will allow you to study the contemporary business of music. You'll learn about the large and small companies that operate in this field, as well as how to self-manage a music career. You'll develop a knowledge of working in music as well as gaining a critical understanding of the issues that affect this sector.
This module explores a range of stylistic approaches in Music. You'll be able to develop the relevant skills and techniques in these via performance or composition/pastiche work in specific styles of classical, jazz or popular music.
This module will develop your expertise in theoretical and practical approaches to expressive sonic manipulation in studio, installation, live, interactive and virtual environments. You'll explore the principles of synthesis, interactive sound, spatial audio and visual programming through the invention and development of different sound worlds.
This module will develop your songwriting or compositional style and technique. You'll also develop an individual and professional approach to composition/songwriting. You'll be encouraged to explore and establish a distinctive music identity – a personal creative ‘voice’.
This module will enhance your understanding in the conventions and practice of improvisation in Jazz. You'll gain practical improvisation skills and associated aural awareness, and learn sophisticated techniques for the development of musical ideas through improvisation.
This module develops your technical command of an instrument or the voice so you can confidently perform in public. You'll develop the necessary knowledge and skills in forming programmes/sets for performance, gain interpretative insight and begin to project their own individual voice/identity as performer.
This module will develop your knowledge, understanding and expertise in recording and producing music by allowing you to produce a self-developed project. You will be supported to achieve a highly effective and original musical output.
This module will give you an advanced knowledge of popular music theories through a range of critical approaches or critical perspectives including cultural theory, sociology, political economy and musicology. You'll understand how theory can be used to explore popular music practice, and how popular music practice can be developed by using popular music theory.
This module is designed to be a specialist study of musical works, composers and approaches since 1968 through the lens of contemporary classical music. The relationship between music and its cultural, political and philosophical contexts is examined through concepts such as the rise of postmodernism across the arts and its relationship with philosophy/political theory.
This module prepares you for successful engagement with the music industries. You'll gain a working knowledge of contracts, copyright, funding applications and policy documents, as well as a sophisticated understanding of theories relating to decision making and success, which can be applied to a range of music-based projects.
This module develops the tools and competencies for making electronic and electroacoustic music for screen and virtual realities, in relation to some study of the aesthetics of screen music. You'll also gain the appropriate training in contractual and negotiation issues to support in-house and freelance composer-producers.
This module develops musical practice in collaboration with students from other courses such as Dance, Theatre and Fashion. Critical and contextual study will support practical work with relevant theory, repertoire and case studies.
This module enables the exploration of a specific area of academic interest and/or vocational/professional practice, providing a platform for the development of placement-related employability skills, or for the exploration and mapping of a specialised academic project that may provide the basis for further studies at MA level and beyond. The nature and aims of each project are negotiated.
This module is a work placement in a professional music studio setting. You'll build upon knowledge and skills developed from previous modules in production and studio skills and be able to apply theoretical knowledge and technical skills to the challenges of a workplace environment. You'll also be able to critically reflect on practices and processes in music production, as well as evaluate your workplace experience.
See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:
Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.
The well-attended Pop gigs, held multiple times per year in a variety of London venues, are an outlet for both solo and band artists to perform.
Popular music students perform at their end of year gig held in the Hope and Anchor, Islington.
A vocal pop group performs on stage in the Grove Concert Room at one of our popular ‘Grove Sessions’ open mic nights.
|2019 graduate Euan Lloyd-Taylor performs the solo part in Emmanuel Séjourné’s Conterto for vibraphone and string orchestra.|
The University Choir conducted by Jonathan Rathbone performs with members of our ensemble-in-residence the London Firebird Orchestra at our showcase concert in St Pancras Church, spring 2019.
A moment of light relief in a University Choir rehearsal
Jazz students across all three years perform as part of a large Post-Bop ensemble led by Nikki Iles.
A trio of Middlesex University Jazz students performs as part of the 'MDX Jazz Presents' series at the Spice of Life Jazz Club in Soho.
A vocal jazz ensemble, led by MDX graduate Joy Ellis, performs a cappella arrangements of jazz standards.
|Artist Management||Audio Production|
|Concert Performer||Event Management|
|Legal (Music)||Music Arranger|
|Music Distribution||Music Industry Accountancy|
|Journalism (Music)||Music Mastering and Post-Production|
|Web Design (Music)||Orchestral Management|
|Session Fixers (Music Contractors)||Session Musicians|
|Specialist Music Insurance||Studio Design and Construction|
Teaching is also a popular choice, and might be combined with any of the above to form a ‘portfolio’ career.
You could also go into further (postgraduate) study, and our graduates have gone on to such prestigious institutions as the Royal Hague Conservatoire, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, York University and King’s College, London.
Dr Inglis makes and writes about music. He studied at City University London (PhD, MA) and the University of Durham (BA), and has previously taught at Trinity Laban and the Royal College of Music. Having been involved in a range of genres and projects, including 2000s artrock band Hicks Milligan-Prophecy, his music and arrangements have been heard at the Sonorities Festival (Belfast), Huddersfield Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Deal Festival, Guildford International Festival, Secret Garden Party, Greenbelt, Truck, Bestival and I Kärlekens Namn (Sweden) as well as on BBC Radios 1&3, BBC2, BBC Wales, Radio Cymru and Bayern 2 (Germany). His interests encompass composition, musicology and journalism, and his writing projects include pieces for Tempo and PRS for Music’s M magazine and for BBC performing ensembles/Proms.
Recent projects include a piano music album Living Stones (Sargasso); book chapters on classical music and copyright for The Classical Music Industry (Routledge) and on music and spirituality/John Tavener (Peter Lang); and an acclaimed edition (with Barry Smith) of Kaikhosru Sorabji’s letters to Peter Warlock (Routledge). He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, a trustee and board member of alternative classical record label Nonclassical, and an organiser of the international research network Music, Spirituality and Wellbeing.
Dr Evans is a composer, music producer and conductor. His film scores include Edgar Wright's first feature A Fistful of Fingers, Stefan Archetti's The Mermaid Mushroom, Shaun Mosley's The 3 Kings (featuring Ron Moody and Vanessa Redgrave) and Darren Ward's Sudden Fury. Trained in Paris, he is a player of the rare ondes Martenot and has performed live at Glastonbury with members of Portishead and Goldfrapp.
Dr Evans studied film scoring at Goldsmiths' College University of London and music at the University of Ulster, before winning a RVW Trust scholarship to work at IRCAM in Paris under Tristan Murail. He completed a PhD in electroacoustic music composition at City University and has research interests in spectral music and audiovisual sound languages including Barry Gray, whose Centenary Concert he conducted in 2008 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
An award-winning teacher, Dr Evans runs a vintage recording studio in West France, and is working on the solo album The Lunatic, the Lover & the Poet for La.M.P. Recordings.
Dr Palermo studied sonic art with the composer, performer, instrument inventor and musicologist Hugh Davies. After obtaining an MA in sonic art researching on concrete and sound poetry, he was awarded a PhD on Davies’ work in 2015. He has presented his research internationally and at institutions such as the British Library and the V&A.
In 2012 he co-curated the Sho-Zyg exhibition at Goldsmiths College. His latest output details how a queer, critical organology could help understand better Davies’s invented instruments as well as serve to question received notions about musical instruments more broadly.
Dr Palermo is also interested in popular music studies and in particular in the articulation of queer identities in song. His current publication focuses on exploring the mechanisms and metaphor of the gay closet in the genres of pop/country, indie/rock, and dance/electronica. He presented this research at the twentieth conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) held in Canberra, Australia.
Jenna is a platinum-selling songwriter, lyricist and musician. Training in voice and piano, she has been writing and producing commercially-released works, under the pseudonym Jenna Donnelly, for over a decade. With US Billboard #1, Japanese Oricon #1 and Spanish iTunes #1 records under her belt, she has also diversified into music for primetime ITV television shows and critically acclaimed musicals.
Signed to Galactic Music and Peer Music as a member of production house Audiofreaks, Jenna is also one half of Donnelly & Maltby, with works published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. She also recently contributed a chapter to Innovation in Music: Performance, Production, Technology and Business, published by Routledge.
Mike Dines is a musician, writer, scholar and publisher. He gained his undergraduate degree in Music from the University of Chichester and gained an MA in Music focusing on aesthetics and musical analysis at the University of Sussex. He then moved to Salford University to complete his PhD on punk under Professor Sheila Whiteley. His thesis focused on the anarcho-punk scene of the 1980s, specifically on the work of Crass. He founded Itchy Monkey Press, a DIY punk publisher with the publication of the anarcho-punk novella the darkening light (2014), followed by Tales From the Punkside (2014), Some of Us Scream, Some of Us Shout (2016), and And All Around Was Darkness (2017).
As a scholar, Mike's research interests cover subcultures and the cultural context of popular music, recently co-editing The Punk Reader: Research Transmissions from the Local and the Global (Intellect, 2019), Punk Now!! Contemporary Perspectives on Punk (Intellect, 2020), Trans-Global Punk Scenes: The Punk Reader Vol. 2 (Intellect, 2020) and Punk Identities, Punk Utopias: Global Punk and Media (Intellect 2021). His current writing takes him in the direction of popular music and spirituality with the co-edited collection Exploring the Spiritual in Popular Music: Beatified Beats (Bloomsbury, 2021).
Saxophonist Rob Townsend has performed with many notable jazz artists such as Eddie Henderson, Sam Rivers, Django Bates, Mark Lockheart, Iain Ballamy and Tim Garland. He plays regularly with iconic acid-jazz organist James Taylor. As well as working with jazz artists, Rob is a member of legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett's band, appearing on more than 10 CDs and DVDs. Rob has also performed with Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford and played with Robbie Williams at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert.
As a composer, Rob works mostly in the commercial world. He has scored 8 computer games for companies such as Sony, Disney, Supermassive Games, DR Studios, Frontier Games and Blitz Games. Most recently, he wrote the music for F1 Racestars, a multi-platform worldwide release for Codemasters. Rob has written music for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and Discovery. In 2011 he wrote the music for Mechanical Musical Marvel which was nominated for BAFTA in the best childrens' animation category.
Trumpeter Chris Batchelor was a founder member, composer and soloist with the influential British big band Loose Tubes and has performed alongside many international stars, such as Michael Brecker, Sam Rivers, Hermeto Pascoal, Uri Caine and John Taylor. His band Big Air won a BBC Jazz Award for Best New Work and their 2009 CD was described by Brian Morton in Jazz Journal as "the best British jazz record for 20 years". In the same year Chris won the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers.
He currently leads two groups, Pigfoot which is dedicated to reinterpretations of iconic repertoire from Mozart to Elvis, and the chamber jazz group Zoetic, featuring fellow Loose Tubes guitarist John Parricelli, which he formed to play his own wide ranging compositions. He is an extremely experienced jazz educator, having taught on the jazz courses at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban, Guildhall School of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Sam is a London-based jazz pianist described by JazzFM as 'One of the brightest stars in the Jazz piano galaxy, a heavenly improviser, and a brilliant prospect for the future.' His eponymous 2011 debut album was listed in MOJO as one of the 'Top Ten International Releases of the Year.' The 2013 follow up, Places, was described by The Guardian as 'surefooted creativity... way beyond respectful expertise,' and by BBC Music Magazine as ‘assured and sophisticated acoustic jazz with deep roots in the tradition, that knows exactly what it's trying to do - and succeeds.’
Jamie Cullum introduced Leak's cohort as ‘the heavyweights of the British Jazz scene’ and described himself as a fan of the band in his regular BBC broadcast. In 2018, Leak released Adrift, a duet with New York's Dan Tepfer, a long-time collaborator of legendary veteran saxophonist Lee Konitz. Of this album, The Wire wrote: “Sam Leak and Dan Tepfer are two of the best pianists of their generation, and their convergence on this recording is astonishing.” The New York City Jazz Record described it as "magical" and "constantly evolving and engaging."
He’s a regular jazz and pop performer, having played internationally with jazz musicians including Gregory Hutchinson, Colin Stranahan, and Stan Sulzmann, and pop musicians including Detroit Techno Pioneer Derrick May, B*witched, and Postmodern Jukebox's Aubrey Logan. He holds a BMus Hons in Musicology from Kings College London, an MMus in Jazz Studies from the Royal Academy of Music, and is currently working towards a PhD in Music Psychology at Cambridge University.
His main research interest is in absolute pitch (otherwise known as perfect pitch). Recently, he has also embarked upon research, alongside Julia Haferkorn and Brian Kavanagh, into monetisation strategies for online content for musicians, in the wake of coronavirus. He is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Richard is a music scholar and researcher. He has played in several bands, worked in music retail and music copyright, and published widely in the field of popular music studies. His academic qualifications span a BA in English Literature and History, an MA in Popular Culture and a PhD in Cultural Studies.
Richard’s research interests include the music industries and music technologies. His book Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record was published by Ashgate in 2012. He co-edited Mute Records: Artists, Business, History, published by Bloomsbury in 2018. An edited collection, Music by Numbers: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in the Music Industries is in press; a monograph on sound recording copyright is forthcoming. He is engaged in a new research project examining creators’ earnings from streaming.
Richard is reviews editor of IASPM Journal, and his blog Pop Bothering Me looks at a wide range of popular music matters.
You will benefit from the input of a wide range of part-time and visiting staff.
Teaching on this pathway is also contributed by:
Mark Vallance is a part-time lecturer in Songwriting and Music Business Studies. Juggling his teaching with a busy career as a songwriter and music manager, he also has several hits to his name featuring artists including Tom Walker, Flynn and Zak Abel.
Part-time jazz lecturer Nikki Iles is an award-winning pianist and composer in the front rank of British jazz musicians. She has published with OUP, Faber Music and ABRSM and leads on harmony teaching as well as performance/improvisation.
Music BA graduate
Music BA student
One of the reasons I came at Middlesex University was because I wanted to collaborate with other people. Having a module where you can collaborate with theatre and dance students has been really important for me, and being around the other music courses has led to loads of collaborations. I don’t think I’d have done that if I went anywhere else, because here it’s all in one building. This year I got an amazing singer from the pop course to do a rock solo in the middle of my opera!
There are topics that have come up that I wouldn’t have looked at before, that have really captured my attention. I got a placement with the English Touring Opera, before even thinking about writing opera or studying it, and now I might go into opera after I graduate. Before university I was just writing short piano pieces, and I would never have dreamed of writing something that could be called a string quartet or an opera. Now I’ve got two string quartets and an opera, and I’m writing a viola concerto for another student.
Music BA student
A highlight of my time at Middlesex has to be performing as a soloist with the London Firebird Orchestra in the university’s Spring Concert. Being given the opportunity to work with a professional ensemble while still at university is something that many do not get the chance to do, and so for Middlesex to offer this really made a positive impact on my time here.
We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.
Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.
Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.
At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.