How we teach

Teaching is divided between tutorials in college, and lectures and classes in the Music Faculty.

A tutorial is crucial to the Oxford system of teaching and learning. A tutorial is something like a conversation between a tutor and one or two students which is centred on a particular topic. In the course of a tutorial your views will be challenged and you will be asked to defend your ideas and to give logical reasons as to why you think something to be true. In the case of music history, for example, you will be asked to examine sources and to decide which sources are the most reliable, for what reasons and to assess their usefulness in describing music’s place in history. In musical analysis you will be asked to look within the music itself for evidence.

Typically you will be asked to prepare a piece of work to be handed in before the weekly tutorial. This will be an essay or a techniques exercise. In the course of the tutorial, your work will be discussed and questioned. The effectiveness of the tutorial relies on the student being prepared for each tutorial and, unlike a lecture situation, there is nowhere to hide when there are only three people in the room! As a result, tutorials require a high degree of self-organisation and motivation on the part of the student. The central role of the student also means that there is plenty of opportunity to explore areas of personal interest within the broad framework of the term’s course of work.

At the music Faculty you will receive lectures and some classes, taking on average between four and six hours per week. These will be led by Faculty members, all of whom are experts in their field. Here you will receive much of the information and reading lists to be made use of in tutorials.

Practical music is not taught within college or faculty. The faculty provides a certain amount of money per student which is to be spent directly by the student (in consultation with their tutor) on their music lessons. Many students choose to continue learning with their current teacher but guidance can be given should you wish to change teacher. For more information on performance opportunities and teaching, please see the faculty’s page.