Music is something that nearly everyone does in one form or another. History would suggest that listening to music and playing music seems to be a vital part of what it means to be human. Certainly in our own time we can recognise how society has become saturated by musical activity and how impossible it would be to live a completely silent existence.

Consequently the course at Oxford engages with music as a rich, multi-textured subject. There are many aspects to the course – including music history, analysis, composition, performance, philosophy of music, orchestration to name a few – and it is this variety which makes studying Music at Oxford so rewarding. All of these different areas are linked, however, by the necessity of critical thinking.

It is important that you consider what you want from a Music degree. If you want to focus exclusively on performance and on the betterment of technique on your instrument, then possibly another university or conservatoire might be a better fit. That is not to say that performers will regret coming to Oxford. Many wonderful performing musicians have benefited from study in Oxford and it is common for music graduates to attend conservatoires or to enter the profession directly after their degree. When considering whether to apply to Oxford, however, it should be remembered that performance is only one part of a discipline which has numerous scholarly sub-disciplines. Studying Music here involves reading and writing about music, as much as playing it.

Subject facts

Course duration: 3 years

Student uptake: 2 or 3 undergraduates a year