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Studying Music at 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).
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.
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.
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 (called Organ Trials) and choral awards, through the inter-collegiate choral awards scheme. Churchill also takes part in the University’s Instrumental Award for Chamber Music Scheme.
All Churchill musicians receive support, advice and guidance from the College Director of Music-Making, Dr Mark Gotham, who also teaches analysis, harmony and counterpoint, and composition to our Music students:
"Studying Music at Churchill was a fantastic experience for me. The small number of Music students not only allowed for more personal attention, but also encouraged us to engage and form friendships with students of other disciplines too, thus broadening our horizons. The excellent Music facilities at Churchill are some of the best in the University and the largely student-run music ensembles and societies provided a wonderful opportunity to conduct, manage and generally shape the musical life of the College - a highlight of my time at Cambridge."
"Churchill has a highly active Music society, excellent rehearsal and recording facilities, and a great amount of support available for musicians, particularly in the form of instrumental/vocal bursaries. As for the academic side, the relatively small number of Music students means that you always receive a good amount of personal attention - and you don't need to worry about competition for library books either."
The College Director of Studies (DoS) is responsible for your academic welfare: this includes guiding you through your degree, keeping an eye on your progress, and helping you with any problems that you encounter in your studies. Our Music DoS is Delphine Mordey. Delphine completed her BA and Master of Studies in Music at St Peter's College, Oxford, before studying for a PhD at King’s College, Cambridge, specialising in late-nineteenth-century French music. She'd be happy to answer your queries or to meet with you at any time.
If you want to read Music, you should be taking A Level Music and/or ABRSM Grade 8 Theory (noting that Music Technology cannot substitute for either of these). Your other A Levels can be in almost any subject, whether from arts or sciences. The main qualities we want to see in you are your interest in the intellectual study of Music, and your flexibility to approach musical studies from a wide variety of directions.
We will normally expect you to achieve a minimum of A*AA at A Level (or equivalent).
Although some keyboard proficiency is very useful (all first-year students are required to take a course in keyboard skills), you don't need to have keyboard grades or other piano qualifications. If you're not a keyboard player, you should not be put off from applying.
|A Level/IB Higher Level Music and/or ABRSM Grade 8 Theory
can be offered as a substitute
|Grade 5 piano is useful|
We will ask you to submit two examples of teacher-marked written work, which can be on any subject (though will preferably include at least one on a musical subject). In addition, we ask for two teacher-marked harmony and counterpoint exercises or, if you do not study harmony and counterpoint, two examples of any teacher-marked technical musical work or compositions that you have written.
If you have any questions or concerns about the written work, please don’t hesitate to contact the Director of Studies in Music.
If called, you will normally have two interviews: a subject interview, which lasts about 50 minutes and is carried out by the College's Director of Studies and another music specialist; and a shorter (about 30 minutes) interview with the Director of Music-Making and a member of the College's admissions team. The aim of the interviews is to determine your enthusiasm and aptitude for the course.
For the interview with the Director of Studies, you'll be asked to comment on a short piece of music and a passage of text about music, which you'll be given time to look at before the interview. During both interviews, you might be asked to expand on, or to explain some of the ideas advanced in your application and any written work you have sent, as well as to talk about the different kinds of music you are studying at A Level.
Although no special preparation is required for the interview, it is useful to listen, and to think about, as much music as possible, be it classical, jazz, pop, folk, or any other genre. If you would like a few suggestions of books and scores to study, have a look at the Music Faculty’s guidance for study. This is in no way intended to be prescriptive, but is there to give you some ideas. If you would like further reading, listening, and studying suggestions, please contact the Director of Studies in Music.
For more information on applying to Cambridge and interview procedures visiting the University of Cambridge website.
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.
For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.