I would love to talk to you about the multidisciplinary approach to studying Music at York. This is through modules, facilities, and events. If you have interests across different areas of musical study and want to explore and combine them, then read on!
I will discuss how staff approach the studies of musicology, performance and composition and how these disciplines overlap. This was the main reason why I chose York. As I identify as a musicologist and performer, I’d love to talk to you about the opportunities on offer!
There are a wide variety of modules available at York with a multidisciplinary approach. Each year, you choose compulsory core modules and option modules. There are option modules in musicology, performance and composition. So, you can tailor what you study to fit your interests! I’m interested in musicology and performance, so I chose modules that overlap these areas of study. For example, I did an elective module last year called ‘Piano Literature’, which investigated the philosophical, historical and musical nature of piano playing. I was able to choose to be assessed through a recital or an essay.
Another option module I did in first year was ‘Introduction to the Psychology of Music’. I studied how the brain processes sound and the psycho physiological impacts of listening to music. One of my core modules this year is ‘Critical Thinking and Listening’. We looked at the relationship between musicology and ecology, gender studies, sociology, history and more! At York, you study the role music plays across varying time periods in different contexts. You start to think about music in ways you may have never even considered before. For example, the relationships between music and the environment or music and disability studies.
York gives you the opportunity to study a wide variety of different topics with a multidisciplinary approach. But, if you still feel like what you want isn’t on offer, then you can create spaces to make it happen! I recently founded the Musicology Forum, which brings students together to talk about their musicological interests, current research and reading material.
At York, the facilities are truly like no other university. Our on-site concert hall, seminar rooms, studio spaces and many practice rooms show how York prioritise creative music making and academic approaches to study. So far this academic year, I have been performing and rehearsing in the concert hall several times a week!
If contemporary composition interests you, there are opportunities to have your work performed and recorded by the Chimera Ensemble. You also get the help of the high-quality sound recording equipment in our recording spaces. I have been able to record some piano repertoire in the concert hall for a MaSR (Music and Sound Recording) student. Also, most concerts or recitals you do are professionally recorded.
There are many ensembles to join, including the University of York Symphony Orchestra, University Choir, The Chimera Ensemble, Piano Ensemble, Baroque Ensemble, and much more! These all use the concert hall for rehearsals. As part of the core module ‘Performance Studies’, you write about your experiences of being an ensemble player. It is a great way to collate your ideas on group music-making and reflect on your performances in writing.
As part of the core module ‘Listen to This’ in first year, one of the assessments is to write about the York Concerts. This is a year-wide public event in Music. There are usually weekly concerts which you can attend for free(!) to enjoy and later talk about in your essay.
This essay is a great example of where you can express your interests in performance practice through writing. You can discuss performance techniques, communication in performance, listening experiences and much more! Due to the wide variety of ensembles that perform in the series, you are bound to find performances of musical styles that interest you.
So, whether you consider yourself a musicologist, performer, or composer (or all three!), York facilitates your interests and encourages you to study what you are interested in. The wide variety of modules on offer, multidisciplinary approach, modern facilities and city-wide events all show York’s mission to do this. The rich diversity of people that make up staff and students make the learning environment such a joy to be part of. You are always learning with people of different interests.
The research and teaching quality at York is extremely high. This is in both traditional concepts in musical study such as analysis and harmony, but also in more multi-disciplinary topics like historical performance practice, music psychology, music and politics and social studies. York values your interests, so whatever you are curious about, York would love to have you on board!