Cambridge is a brilliant place to study Music. The undergraduate degree (referred to as the Music Tripos), is designed in its first year to give you a solid foundation in a broad range of musical skills and techniques (harmony and counterpoint, aural and keyboard skills), as well as approaches to studying music (historical, analytical, critical). In the second and third years of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue particular specialities, and to tailor the course to your personal interests, such as composition, history, performance, ethnomusicology, music and science, and popular music.
As a Cambridge Music student, you’d attend lectures and seminars organised by, and held at, the Faculty of Music. Every lecture course is complemented by individual and small-group teaching sessions (supervisions), led by supervisors who are specialists in the subject areas, and arranged by your Director of Studies. Supervisors set and assess work on a regular basis, often in the form of essays and class presentations.
Cambridge Music students have the advantage of being surrounded by some of the best facilities in the country. The Faculty of Music houses a professional concert hall, the Centre for Music and Science (which includes a studio and excellent computing facilities), period instruments, a Javanese gamelan, and a very well stocked library. And if you can’t find a book in the Faculty Library, you can turn to the Churchill Library, or the University Library – one of the finest libraries in the world, with a collection comprising millions of books.
Although the Cambridge Music degree is largely geared to the study of music as an academic discipline, performance is an option for each year of the degree. In addition, the opportunities for you to perform outside the curriculum – be it as a soloist, chamber musician, choral singer, orchestral player, pit-band or jazz musician – are second to none. In addition to the hundreds of established ensembles that you can join, Cambridge would also offer you incredible opportunities to form new ensembles, and to stage concerts of works that you particularly want to perform (including your own compositions).
Tom, Music Student
Music at Churchill
There are lots of reasons why Churchill is a great College at which to read Music. Located just a fifteen minute walk from the Music Faculty, Churchill has some of the best musical resources in the University. In addition to an excellent College library, you’d have a piano/keyboard in your room, as well as access to Churchill’s fantastic Music Centre. This Centre includes: a purpose-built recital room equipped with a Steinway grand piano and a Rubio harpsichord; a practice room; a spacious recording studio, which houses a piano, keyboard, bass guitar and amplifiers, the College drum kit (great for band rehearsals); and a fully-equipped control room. Churchill also has a Chapel, which contains a Yamaha grand piano and a pipe organ.
Check out our fuller Music at Churchill page for more information.
Churchill Music Society
Churchill’s musical community extends beyond its Music undergraduates. We host numerous ensembles and events, including Jazz in the Bar, Churchill Jazz Band, Hill Chorus Choir, Inter Alios Choir, and Orchestra on the Hill. Indeed, Churchill Music Society is one of the most active and innovative in the University.
Bursaries & Scholarships
Churchill supports College music in many ways, not least through instrumental, vocal, accompanist, and choral director bursaries .In addition, Churchill offers an Organ Scholarship through the inter-collegiate competition and Choral Awards through the inter-collegiate choral awards scheme. Churchill also takes part in the University’s instrumental awards for chamber music.
To find out about admissions, go to undergraduate applications.
Course-specific information, including the University’s typical offers and the attainment level of the University’s typical entrants, is available by selecting your course from the University’s Course List then looking at the Entry Requirements tab. Academic offer conditions can vary by College so if you want to apply to Churchill then check out our entries in the by-College list of entry requirements that’s available on the same tab. The University’s Entrance Requirements and International Entry Requirements webpages may contain guidance relevant to you too.
You can learn more about the academic profiles of Churchill entrants and our approach to setting conditional offers on our undergraduate applications page.
If you apply to Churchill, we’ll ask you to submit two examples of teacher-marked written work. These should be taken from your present or most recent studies, and should not be re-written or corrected for your Cambridge application. Ideally, each piece should be 1500 to 2000 words in length, and at least one should be on a musical subject. Additionally, we’ll request two teacher-marked harmony and counterpoint exercises, or – if you don’t study harmony and counterpoint – two examples of any teacher-marked technical musical work or compositions that you’ve written.
Churchill does not use a written assessment in Music.
The role of academic interviews in Churchill’s admissions process is explained on our interviews page. We’ll ask you to comment on a short piece of music and/or a passage of text about music, which you’ll be given time to look at beforehand. You may also be asked to expand on or explain some of the ideas put forward in your application and any written work you’ve sent, as well as talk about the different kinds of music you’re studying or interested in. Although no special preparation is required for the interview, it’d be useful for you to listen and think about as much music as possible, of any genre.
Music is a great subject to study at University, not least because of the many doors it opens for possible future careers. As a Music graduate from Cambridge, you’d not only be equipped with the skills required to pursue a job in the musical world, but also with an invaluable array of transferable skills that are highly prized by employers in numerous sectors.
After graduation, many Music students decide to stay on in Cambridge or to go to another university or conservatoire for further study — academic or performance-based. A large number of Music graduates each year go on to work as professional musicians, or go into music education or arts administration. Recent Music graduates from Churchill, for example, have gone on to work for the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Teach First, and the Britten Sinfonia. But Music graduates from Cambridge have also gone on to work in such diverse fields as law, politics, business, retail, management, banking, accountancy, and publishing.
Churchill graduates who are active in music include:
- Cellist Adrian Bradbury started reading Veterinary Medicine at Churchill, but changed (permanently) to Music. After Churchill Adrian won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, and then went on to continue his studies in Berlin with Berlin Philharmonic solo-cellist Goetz Teutsch. Adrian now has a very active life as a professional musician, making regular chamber music broadcasts on BBC radio, and appearing frequently at prestigious venues.
- James Brady is a freelance jazz trumpeter, teacher, composer and arranger.
- After graduating from Churchill College, Morwenna Del Mar went on to study cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Eastman School of Music, earning many awards along the way. She is now much in demand as a freelance soloist, chamber and orchestral player.
- Danyal Dhondy has gone on to enjoy great success as a composer and arranger.
- Lynsey Marsh was Principal clarinetist with the Hallé Orchestra. She also does solo and chamber work, and has performed with many orchestras, including the renowned Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
- After first touring the world as a cruise-ship jazz pianist, Peter Nickalls , is now a composer for media; he has scored TV programmes for channels including the BBC, Channel 4 and PBS.
- Alison Rowley is a folk violinist, composer, and teacher.
- Graham Waterhouse has lived in Munich (Germany) since 1992, and has had a busy and successful career as a composer and instrumentalist.
- John Butterworth, professional orchestral french horn player, who has played with the LSO and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
- Rachel Stott works in the world of Early Music as a viola player and in Contemporary Music as a composer. She performs with chamber ensembles such as the Bach Players and the Revolutionary Drawing Room and has written music for string quartet, solo voice, massed saxophones, viola d’amore ensemble and youth orchestra, which have been performed in festivals and concert series across the UK, Europe and North America.