Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time
This programme is designed for students who wish to specialise in performance while studying for an academic degree. Students have the unique opportunity to develop performance in specific Asian and African music traditions to a professional standard. They acquire expert knowledge about performance and the geographical or stylistic region of their performance specialism.
The performance component of the programme, in which students choose an Asian or African performance tradition, includes practice-based research. Students study the music of a particular region alongside performance theory training. Through a range of optional modules, they pursue additional interests as well.
The programme is particularly suited to performing musicians who wish to deepen and broaden their theoretical perspectives and musical horizons. Many former students have found their performance careers enhanced, while others have gone on to engage with their performance from more critical, academic perspectives, including MPhil/PhD research.
A postgraduate degree in Music Performance from SOAS gives students improved competency in performance and a better understanding of global music which will enable them to continue in the field of research or engage in related work. Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, teamwork, passion and dedication. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Specific Graduate Destinations
- Helen Evans is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit.
- Jo Shaw (née Hoskin) was gamelan co-ordinator for the London Symphony Orchestra’s educational Discovery programme but is moving on to set up her own Indonesian music and dance programme in southwest England.
- Sarah Hall has worked as India regional director for two different charities.
- Jon Kertzer directed the Smithsonian Global Sound Network and is now working on the business development of the Microsoft MSN Music Service.
- Hélène Rammant is a Producer for BBC Radio 3, specialising in World Music.
- Megan Jones is a Producer in the Music Department of BBC Cymru Wales.
- Katie Vickers (née Hall) is a music Marketing Officer for the South Bank Centre, London.
- Sally Pomme Clayton is a storyteller and lecturer on world oral traditions at Middlesex University.
- Rachel Ireland first served as an executive assistant at the Great Britain-Sasakawa Foundation and is now Executive Officer, Operations for the London-based charity Youth Music.
- Chua Siew Ling is a music officer in the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
- Louise Taylor was an administrator for Folkworks at the Sage Gateshead music centre and has now moved on to a related community post in Newcastle.
- Elie Gussman is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit. London.
- Nobuko Miyazaki is an Education Officer for the Asian Music Circuit, London.
- Many other MMus graduates continue on to do MPhil/PhD research. Others return, enhanced, to their previous careers. For example, Belinda Sykes is Professor of Medieval Song at Trinity College of Music and singer and director of the Arabic and European medieval song ensemble Joglaresa.
Students are required to take a total of 120 credits modules in addition to Performance as Research (60 credits).30 credits modules being two-terms in duration, while 15 credits modules are taught in one term only. In addition to these formal elements, students may attend postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities.
Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.
Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.
- The part-time MMus may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
- Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.
- Performance As Research
- Music in Global Perspective
Choose modules to the value of 15 credits from List A.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A or List B or List C.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the recommended options list below or from the Open Options list if approved by programme convenor.
List A: Area Modules
- Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia
- Atlantic Africa: Players in the Mediation of African Popular Music
- Ethnicity, Religion and Gender in Middle Eastern Musical cultures
- Indian vocal music: Styles and histories
- Klezmer Music: Roots and Revival
- Music in Africa: Critical Listening
- Music in Africa: Travelling on a Song
- Music, Place and Politics in Cuba
- Music, Urbanism and Conflict in Jaffa
- Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
- Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)
- Sacred Sound in South Asia
List B: Additional Modules
- Analysing World Music: Transcription & Analysis in Ethnomusicology
- Gender and Music (MMus)
- The Music Business (Masters)
- Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology
List C: Modules Taught at King's College
SOAS MMus and MA Music students can also take as a credited part of their programme up to 30 credits at Kings College London Music Department, choosing modules from the list on the KCL website.
Please note that:
- modules in Performance and Composition are not permitted as part of the agreement, and
- you will need to obtain the written consent of the convenor of the KCL course before enrolling.
Please check with modules tutors at King’s for requirements.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.
Admissions and Applications
You can apply for this course via the online application form.
We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.
Consideration of Application
The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.
Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.
Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.
Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent), usually in Music.
English Language Entry Requirements
Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).
For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.
If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.
About the School
SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.