The BA in Music Performance is a course that focuses on practice and is aimed primarily at students who have a particular interest in pursuing a professional career in performance. The degree is distinguished by its inclusive approach and will have broad appeal to musicians who specialise in all performing traditions, including classical, folk, traditional, pop, rock, jazz, singer/songwriter, electronic and experimental. Students gain extensive experience of performing in solo, ensemble and improvised settings in addition to developing skills for performing in the recording studio and the use of technology in performance practice.
Students will have access to world leading facilities and concert spaces, including the Sonic Lab which is housed in the world-renowned SARC facility. Teaching is delivered by a team of dedicated staff with a wide ranging expertise covering music performance, improvisation, composition and audio engineering.
Music Performance Degree highlights
QS World University Ranking recently placed Queen’s University Belfast in the top 50 universities worldwide for the performing arts.
- Students may opt to spend a semester studying abroad. The School has links with a number of international institutions including Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espetáculo do Porto, Instituto Politecnico do Porto National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and University of Groningen.
- The School is an Avid Learning Partner and Avid-accredited courses in Pro Tools for music and audio production are embedded into the curriculum.
- The School benefits from strong industry partnerships including BBC NI, Ulster Orchestra, Opera NI, Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, Cathedral Arts Festival, Moving on Music, Diatribe Records, DTS and Dolby.
World Class Facilities
- The Music Department is one of the largest and best-equipped institutions in the UK working in the field of music and sound. Students on the BMus in Music have access to state-of-the-art performing and rehearsal spaces that includes two concert spaces that are used for public concerts. The department comprises two buildings: the Music building is a beautiful older building with several stunning teaching spaces; the Sonic Arts Research Centre is a world-leading facility that includes the Sonic Laboratory – a unique performance space capable of three-dimensional sound projection.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Many of our staff are leading international experts in their fields of research. Additionally, the School employs a number Industry Fellows – internationally renowned professionals in their fields of composition, performance, song-writing, sound engineering and music production.
- Northern Ireland has an exceptional track record for producing outstanding musical talent and has a unique identity within the global music industry. Belfast is the creative hub of the Northern Irish music industry and students on this programme will contribute to the vibrant musical life of both the University and the wider city.
Stage 1 Level 1 of the programme consists of four compulsory modules encompassing both solo and ensemble performance, general musicianship and a historical introduction to music. All students receive weekly performance tuition and participate in weekly performance platforms – an open session for peer critique of solo and ensemble performances. Optional modules include composition, fundamental harmony, sound recording principles, sound synthesis and audio mixing. Stage 2 At Level 2 students continue to develop solo, ensemble and improvised performance practice through individual tuition, group tuition and performance platforms. Student ensembles work in a recording studio setting to create recordings of newly conceived repertoire. Optional modules are available in areas such as song-writing, instrumental composition, sound design, sonic arts, audio production, instrument and installation design, music psychology, or introduction to arts management Stage 3 The primary focus at Level 3 is further refinement of solo performance practice culminating in a double weighted performance recital. All students are also asked to complete a project focusing on an aspect of professional practice in musical performance. Additional level 3 options include modules in designing musical interactions, composing for film and television, instrumental composition, sonic arts, and audio production
People teaching you
Simon Mawhinney is a composer who writes regularly for leading contemporary music performers across Europe. He teaches composition, performance, history and theory at undergraduate level. At postgraduate level he supervises work in composition (instrumental and computer music.)
Contact Teaching Times
Large Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching 6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
Learning and Teaching
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this courses are:
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; on-line assessment; opportunities to use software applications associated with design in practicals and project-based work etc.
: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Personal Tutor
Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Years 1 and 2 who meets with them regularly during the year to support their academic development.
provide opportunities for the development of technical skills and the application of theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, performance practice, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback and assignment research and preparation is carried out.
- Supervised projects
In final year, all students take a ‘Professional Practice’ module which provides the opportunity to develop a body of artistic work in a professional context. Each individual or group will be assigned a member of staff to act as a mentor. Mentors and students will meet fortnightly to review work in progress and to discuss practical concerns.
- Work placements
Students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement in Year 3. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.
Methods of assessment are outlined below:
- The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Many Music modules are assessed solely through practical project work, continuous assessment or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Module Outline Document which is provided to all students at the beginning of each teaching semester.
As students’ progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Ensembles include the Queen's University Symphony Orchestra, Queen's Big Band, Queen's Chamber Choir, QUBEnsemble, Queen's University Brass Band and Queen's Viol Consort.
Excellent facilities for organists and pianists including the Whitla Hall organ. Students also have access to both grand pianos and baby grands in the practice rooms.The School of Music also has an extensive range of early keyboard instruments, orchestral instruments and percussion instruments.
Concert venues include the Harty Room, The Sonic Lab, McMordie Hall, Whitla Hall and Elmwood Hall.
The SARC building contains seven purpose-built studio spaces designed and acoustically treated by ARUP acoustics
The School is one of the largest and best-equipped institutions in the UK working in the field of music and sound. Students have access to state-of-the-art audio resources including:
The Sonic Lab: a unique performance space with variable acoustics, an acoustically transparent grid floor and 48 studio quality loudspeakers to facilitate three dimensional sound projection. The Sonic Lab is capable of projecting multichannel audio in a range of spatial formats including ambisonics and Dolby Atmos.
Studios: The School has 10 studio spaces used for recording, mixing, sound design, composition, foley recording, audio post production and spatialisation. The studios feature a range of active monitoring from Genelec, PMC, ATC, Dynaudio and the larger studio spaces use large format digital mixing consoles from Studer, AMS-Neve and Avid. The School also has an extensive microphone collection including a range of popular models from Soundfield, Neumann, DPA, Schoeps, AKG, Sennheiser and Shure.
Additionally, there are a range of study spaces, rehearsal spaces and teaching rooms distributed across our two buildings.
Currently there are 48 loudspeakers in use in the lab. The house configuration is arranged in 4 layers:
8 x Meyer UPM-1P
Dolby Atmos configuration, arranged in two rows front to back. The loudspeakers hang from six of the nine overhead adjustable ceiling panels.
15 x Meyer UPJ-1P
3 x Meyer UMS-1P subwoofer
Dolby Atmos configuration. The loudspeakers are suspended from the technical gantry approximately 7m above the ground floor.
4 x Genelec 1038B
4 x Genelec 1037B
2 x Meyer UPJ-1P + Meyer UMS-1P sub
The Genelecs are in an octophonic configuration plus two Meyer UPJ-1P/UMS-1P front centre and rear centre.
8 x Meyer UPM-1P
2 x Meyer X-800 subwoofer
At lower ground level (4m below the grid floor).
The loudspeaker system is managed using a QSC QSYS system (2 x Core 510i) with Dante input and 48 analogue outputs.
A Studer Vista 5 console is located at the rear of the lab. The console is fitted with 3 I/O racks - one at the stage, one in the centre of the lab beside the console, and one at the basement level of the lab. The stage rack provides 32 mic/line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the centre rack provide 40 line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the basement rack provide 48 analogue outputs. Also attached to the Studer console is an Apple Mac Pro hosting a ProTools HD system. Connectivity is via an SSL Delta Link MADI interface for ProTools and an RME HDSPe MADI card.
- E-Learning technologies
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.Read more Read less
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
Applicants for this BA programme offering A-level/BTEC Level 3 qualifications must have, or be able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed will also be taken into account and the Selector checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Applicants being considered for entry are asked to submit a 15-minute video audition to the School of Arts, English and Languages. This should demonstrate a wide ranging ability of the applicant’s musical performance style. Any type of repertoire is welcomed and applicants may include supporting musicians in their audition video. Assessment of this audition by the School forms part of the selection process.
Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat candidates is set in terms of three A-levels and may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, will also be considered.
For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits. For those offering a Higher National Diploma, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile but, to be eligible for an offer, the grades obtained in the first year of the HND must allow the overall offer to be achievable. The current entrance requirement for Stage 1 entry is successful completion of the HND with 2 Distinctions, 10 Merits and 4 Passes overall. Applicants with sufficiently high grades in the first year of a relevant HND in Music Production or Music may be considered for entry to Stage 2 and, where offers are made, these are conditional on successful completion of this HND with 3 Distinctions and 13 Merits overall,
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (email@example.com), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
The Stage 3 Work Placement module is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world employment experience. Some of the organisations our students have completed placements with include: The Mac, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast Music Society, Fleming Fulton Special Needs School, JAM (Junior Academy of Music), and a large number of local secondary and primary schools.
Further study, including Masters programmes, is also an option; see the School website for further information.
Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,275 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250 Other (non-UK) EU £4,275 International £16,400
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Music Performance costs
The School is an Avid Learning Partner and optional courses providing Avid certification in the use of ProTools are available as part of the programme. The cost of these courses ranges from £20 to £90 per course.
How do I fund my study?
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How and when to Apply
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2019 from 1 September 2018.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2019 (18:00).
Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students
- Applying through UCAS
Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2019.
- Applying direct
The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
- Applying through agents and partners
The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.
Fees and Funding
- Applying through UCAS