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BA (Hons) Community Music

Our BA (Hons) Community Music degree course is ideal for musicians who also see themselves as teachers, and whose motivations may be socially-engaged as well as musical (e.g. wanting to work with children and young people, or people with disabilities, people over 50, music therapy, in schools or community settings).

What is Community Music?

Community musicians are musicians who regularly teach or facilitate groups of participants, as a key part of their professional portfolio of employment. Most musicians teach at some point in their career, and this course helps you to develop strong teaching and leadership skills. Community Music involves using your own musical skills to help others make music, and is an exciting opportunity for musicians with a passion for making a difference or who want to put something back into the community. This might involve working with amateur choirs and orchestras, for example, or groups of young people or people with disabilities. As a community musician, you help other people to develop personally, artistically, socially and culturally through music. Community music encourages musical excellence and innovation, whilst enhancing the quality of life for people in all communities, enhancing community cohesion, and the social and economic aspects of community regeneration.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for anyone who is musically skilled, from school leavers to professional musicians, who want to apply their talents to working with people in a broad range of educational and community settings. You may already be an established performer, or have previous experience of leading or facilitating others’ music-making. Sunderland is proud to be the only university in the North East offering students the opportunity to study for a Community Music degree. According to The Guardian University Guide 2012, Sunderland is within the UK’s top third of universities that offer music courses.

Course Content

This is a practical course where you will develop your creative and artistic skills to facilitate musical activity with others through projects, placements and community events. You will also develop transferable skills in communication, organisation, self-resilience, leadership, teamwork and evaluation. You will develop an awareness and understanding of distinctive traditions, conventions, practices and contexts that have helped shape contemporary practice within community music and you will become familiar with current trends and developments.

You will have the opportunity to study:

  • Musicianship
  • Music teaching, facilitation and leadership
  • Personal and professional practice
  • Business and enterprise
  • Music in context
  • Creative arts practice
  • Independent study

As well as class-based study and skills development, you will develop your practical teaching and facilitation skills through extended placements within Sage Gateshead’s extensive Learning and Participation programme, which works with over 100,000 people every year in projects of every kind of music-making imaginable. By working closely with more experienced practitioners inside outstanding authentic participation projects, you will develop valuable skills as a practitioner which will increase your employment prospects. Graduates from the course have been employed by Sage Gateshead after they graduate, and recent undergraduates have even found employment within Sage Gateshead’s Learning and Participation programme while still studying on the course.

There is an equal focus on developing as both musicians and as educators, with a lot of learning in one area being applied to the other. For example, everyone in Year 2 leads a student ensemble in a genre of their choice, which helps to develop leadership skills which you can then apply in your educational work.