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About Music

Music at York St John is not a course about classical music or rock music – it’s a course about all musics and the way they come together. We believe the study of music should be eclectic and embrace the widest variety of musical genres

“Music should be a verb rather than a noun.”

MusicOur degree provides a relevant, contemporary and challenging programme of study which crosses musical boundaries and equips you with the diverse range of skills which are essential for today’s musicians. We also believe the teaching of music is led by practice, whether in performing, composing, listening or understanding. A creative approach which is designed to help students learn through discovery. We push for high standards and we look for high quality performing, composing and thinking but this is not a conservatoire. Instead, our graduates emerge creative, flexible and able to flourish in all sorts of different environments.

We value musical leadership - people who want to be musical directors/conductors or producers get a very good experience here.

MusicWe are looking for open minded, creative musicians with strong practical skills and the potential to succeed. Students will normally have a fairly high level of accomplishment in a musical instrument but their most important asset is a willingness to throw themselves into our wealth of musical networks. There is an amazing variety of opportunities for performance, either as a soloist or as a member of an ensemble. Our music students play a vibrant and valuable role in the life of the University, providing music for lunchtime and evening concerts and important events, and bringing music to many community groups in the city and elsewhere. There’s a string orchestra, a concert band and various choirs which rehearse weekly while students themselves run a string quartet, flute choir, improvisation group, ceilidh band, a musical production society, rock bands and a ukelele ensemble. A series of weekly lunchtime concerts and regular evening performances provide regular opportunities to hear and take part in live music events.

“We value musical leadership”

All students have access to York St John-funded instrumental tuition and to music technology resources and recording facilities, including:

  • A suite of practice rooms and rehearsal spaces
  • Three specialist Music teaching spaces
  • Two Music Technology Studios
  • Recording Studio
  • Music Library including CDs, DVDs and scores
  • Willis pipe organ and Steinway grand piano
  • Two harpsichords and a range of orchestral and ethnic percussion instruments including Djembe and Samba band

Music at YSJ prepares you for a wide range of careers in music, including community-based work, arts administration and employment in the creative industries. It has also proved to be a good springboard towards further study including PGCEs and Masters degrees.

Here’s a selection of stories from recent graduates:

  • Ben began composing music for computer games and is now head of audio for a major computer game producer.
  • Sadie teaches autistic children in California.
  • Laura successfully completed a PGCE after graduating and is now deputy head of music in a local school.
  • Adam became a peripatetic instrumental teacher and was responsible for the weekly music centres in York.
  • Karl continued his studies on the MA in Jazz Performance at London’s Guildhall College.
  • Paul is a professional performer specialising in medieval music.