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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Postgraduate > Music Performance
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Music Performance PG Dip

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
1 year full time
2 years part time
Department Music »


Already a strong musical performer, but looking to further your qualifications towards a career in performance and/or teaching? This course is ideal if you're looking to further your performance skills in the intellectual and creative environment of a university, rather than a conservatoire.

You will be able to study individually either with our excellent Royal Holloway-affiliated performance teachers, or an external teacher of your choice, subject to agreement with the Music department.

You will work towards a final recital performance, with the support of group seminars and individual tuition on your instrument or voice. You'll also be able to take two courses from the MMus Advanced Musical Studies syllabus.

  • Join one of the largest postgraduate Music communities in the UK (with more than 50 research students and 20 MA students each year)
  • We are ranked third in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and the only music department in the country to hold a prestigious Regius Professorship.
  • You will have access to well-equipped studios and recording facilities, including a Disklavier, as well as incredible performance spaces including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel.
  • Be a part of our creative campus.  You will have many opportunities for performance, including the Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonietta (for new music), an Andean Band, a Korean percussion band, and a Gamelan Orchestra (Gamelan Puloganti). We support and encourage students to take the initiative in forming your own performance groups.

Core module

Special Study - Performance

In this module you will develop your technical abilities as a performer or conducter. You will make interpretative decisions based on an informed knowledge and analysis of performance, practising conventions and an understanding of specific musical styles. You will work closely with your chosen instrumental, vocal, or conducting teacher to prepare for a final recital lasting up to one hour. You may focus on a specific repertory, for example the music of the Second Viennese School, or cover a broader range of styles with an emphasis on contemporary music. You will gain confidence and experience as a performer or conductor through weekly seminar work, regular performances and recitals. Conductors will benefit from opportunities to conduct the Royal Holloway Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles. In addition, you will be expected to keep a reflective diary and produce scholarly programme notes.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

You will choose two from the following options:

Skills in Advanced Musical Studies

This module will introduce you to the field of musicological research, looking at contemporary debates in musicology and research techniques. Skills training opportunities are provided in the Department of Music and at the Institute of Musical Research, enabling you to develop musicological language skills and further musicological specialisms. You will explore the application of approaches covered within your chosen area of specialism, enaging in both formal and informal discussion.

Documenting Performance

In this module you will develop specific performance skills on an instrument or in a chosen musical style learnt, possibly from scratch. You will work closely with a consultant performer, who will act as your teacher, documenting and critically reflecting upon the music learning processes. You will consider the ethnographic dimensions of learning to perform, including analysis of teaching methods, techniques, cultural expectations and learning strategies. 

Techniques of Performance Studies

In this module you will look at the methods and approaches used in performance studies research, including the philosophies of performance and historical performance practices. You will examine the practice of Western music between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, considering the multi-faceted components of the art of performance and the philosophical, historical and stylistic issues that underpin it.

Short Recital

In this module you will develop your interpretative, analytical and technical abilities as a performer at an advanced level. You will design an intellectually coherent and aesthetically satisfying concert programme based on specialist repertory, and manage the occasion of performance at a professional level, including the writing of scholarly programme notes.

Formative assessment will be provided during the programme, in the context of one-to-one performance tuition and seminars, as well as classes and individual tutorials.

Summative assessment will be made of the final recital, and of further submissions as part of the electives (a combination of further performances and written work).

Entry criteria:

A Bachelor's  Honours degree in Music with  a mark of Upper Second Class Honors in the Performance component. Candidates will only be offered places following audition.

Alternatives will not normally apply, however the department welcomes all enquiries.

English language requirements:

IELTS score of 6.5 with 7.0 in writing and no sub-score below 5.5 for non-native English speaking applicants.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor you to study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • wide performance experience
  • an interest in creating innovative concert programmes

Our recent graduates have gone into careers as music teachers, composers and musicians. Others have gone into PhD studies at Royal Holloway or other leading universities, and then into academic careers, with some working in the highest-rated research departments in the country.

Many Royal Holloway alumni are now making careers as professional musicians and composers, including:

  • Helen Reid
  • Dame Felicity Lott
  • Tansy Davies
  • Richard Baker
  • KT Tunstall
  • Joby Talbot
  • Michael Zev Gordon
  • Deirdre Gribbin
  • Jonathan Cole
  • Paul Newland

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £4,670

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,670

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5 per cent for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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