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 in Music. 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 Music Faculty 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 of over seven million 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.
Churchill Music Society
We currently admit two students each year, but Churchill’s musical community is much larger than the number of its Music students. 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 boasts one of the most active and innovative music societies in the University.
Music 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 Award for Chamber Music Scheme.
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 equipped with the skills required to pursue a job in the musical world, but also with an invaluable array of transferrable 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.
- University of Cambridge Music Faculty Website
- University Undergraduate Prospectus Music entry
- Alternative Prospectus entry on Music
For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.
Some Churchill graduates who are active in music
- 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 frequent appearances at the Wigmore Hall, South Bank, and Carnegie Hall, among other 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 is Principal clarinettist 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.