Community Music MA

Our MA in Community Music is designed for those students who have a strong sense of themselves as practitioners. The programme is directly linked to our International Centre for Community Music and as such promotes a global perspective of the field. This MA is designed for those that want to deepen their understanding by exploring practice-led research through a variety of theoretical frameworks. 

York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 20 Full-time Home & EU students: £6,500, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
Full-time & Part-time options available
Start date
September 2019


Course overview

Professor Lee Higgins, director of the ICCM, writes that ‘music making is a fundamental aspect of the human experience and is therefore an intrinsic and foundational part of human culture and society. As a perspective those that work this way do so with a commitment to musical expression as a crucible for social transformation, emancipation, empowerment, and cultural capital.’ We also run an MA in Music Composition, which you can have a look at here

You can find more information about ICCM here



Course structure

Studying an MA in Community Music at York St John University enables you to reflect deeply on your existing practice whilst receiving support to test new ideas through appropriate research designs and theoretical frameworks. As a member of the ICCM, you will have opportunities to contribute to the development and growth of community music practice and scholarship worldwide. Your own practice is placed at the centre of the programme with an independent supervised project flanked by two distinctive modules, Community Music Perspectives and Research Ideas and Practices.

As a member of the ICCM you will be expected to play a key part in developing its activities which includes:

  • Student research symposiums
  • Our online journal, Transform: New Voices in Community Music, plus various
  • Networking events 
  • Conferences.



Modules include:

The Reflective Practitioner (20cr)

Through this module students become articulate practitioners able to communicate the research within their practice and place it within appropriate contexts. Students will explore, test and model approaches to the theory/practice nexus and interrogate the possibilities for the generation and communication of knowledge in and through practice, and by doing so will deepen and broaden their understanding of the interrelationship between arts practice, knowledge and research

Community Music Perspectives (40cr)

During this module students will interrogate concepts, ideas, and approaches directly related to international conceptions of community music. Lectures, critical discussion, reflective engagement, and practical explorations will form the basis of the sessions. With the following aims in mind, students will advance their conceptual understandings of the field through current research and practice, in order to enhance their evaluation and critical skills.

Community Music Independent Project (120cr)

This module offers the opportunity for the student to engage with the production of a significant work or body of works that represent the culmination of their skills, knowledge and creativity. Along with this body of practice the student will develop reflective, critical and contextual work that articulates and communicates an understanding of their practice.

Project Examples:

Led by guiding questions projects may include explorations of specific practical approaches to community music. This may be situated within particular musical genres such as improvisation, working with voice, drumming etc. Within the practice-based research methodology students would be expected to make new work and/or lead workshops as a key part of responding to their questions. Projects may also include case study analysis and ethnographic field work resulting in contextual narratives that reveal significant insights into organization(s) and/or practice(s). With an orientation surrounding in-depth reflection of existing practice, the Independent Project offers a wide scope through which the student can develop and grow their professional practice.  

Teaching and Learning

The programme will be delivered through a number of lectures, seminars, workshops, and individual supervisions from York St John University staff and visiting practitioners/scholars. Our Academic Support Team provides help in areas such as written English, study, research and technology skills.

Assessment and Feedback

There are three summative assessment points cumulating at the end of each module. In dialogue with the learner our staff provide regular formative assessment that scaffolds the students journey, helping them to consolidate learning. The Independent Project will require an Individual learning pro-forma which is tailored to the students project and ensures that the assessment strategy is appropriate to the research area.

Research Opportunities

Since its inception in 2014 the ICCM has been involved in the growth and development of research activity in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Norway, Italy, and Germany. We are regularly working on, and developing funding bids in order to nurture community music research, teaching, scholarship, professional practice and pedagogy. You will be expected to get involved in these activities playing an active role in making the ICCM relevant for the contemporary community music field. You can find out more information about ICCM here

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For part-time options, see the  webpages for more information

Postgraduate Loan: A Postgraduate Loan is available to help you pay for your Master’s course. Find out more about the .

A 10% discount is applicable to all YSJU Alumni (subject to a minimum of 120 credits and achievement of a recognised award) undertaking PG level study (excludes PGCE).

Overseas 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the  webpages.


How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Apply Now: Full-time

Apply Now: Part-time


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