Choral Studies

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 27.9 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 43.9 k / Year(s) Deadline: May 31, 2025
6 place StudyQA ranking:6986 Duration:1 year

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The aim of the course is to train musicians in the art of choral conducting; to instruct them in diverse aspects of the history and practice of choral music; to provide the technical skills required to work with historic repertoires and, for organists, to develop organ playing skills as both soloist and accompanist; to facilitate research into and performance of new or little-known choral repertoire; and to give students the experience of observing and working with the collegiate Chapel choirs.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be fully equipped to work as choral conductors, and have a good understanding of the discipline of choral training, relating both to adult and young voices. They will have acquired a good knowledge of the way choral music works within the liturgy of the church and other historical and technical issues. Graduates will have developed their writing skills as well as their practical skills. They will also have developed specific skills by completing one optional task: the writing of an extended essay, the editing of early choral music, or a performance in the form of either an organ recital or continuo performance on organ and harpsichord.

The course consists of six elements:

1. Choral Conducting: Weekly instruction, leading to a practical examination;

2. Seminar course: Weekly seminars, resulting in two coursework essays;

3. Choral Project: Candidates develop, rehearse and direct a recital programme which draws on their own scholarly research into repertoire, performance practice or pedagogical techniques.

4. Optional Elements: Students select either:

       a) an extended essay, on a topic relating to their choral project; or

       b) editing project, related to their choral project; or

       c) organ or continuo performance

5. College Placements and Observations

6. Aural Classes

Detailed Content of the Six Elements

Choral Conducting: This part of the course consists of regular classes on conducting technique and, in addition, occasional seminars on vocal issues (such as rehearsal techniques, working with boys’ voices, and vocal health) and issues of repertoire (such as interpreting early choral repertoire and preparing modern choral scores). A weekly rehearsal choir provides extra opportunity for conducting experience and a resource for masterclasses. At the end of the course candidates will be required to rehearse and conduct a choir for approximately thirty minutes, using set works announced at the start of the course.

Seminar course: These seminars will cover a wide range of subjects, grouped under two main headings, ‘Theological and Liturgical Contexts’ and ‘The English Choral Tradition: Cultural and Historical Contexts’.  Candidates will submit one essay (3500 words) at the start of Lent term; and a further essay (3500 words) at the start of Easter term.

Choral project: Candidates will prepare a choral programme of no longer than 25 minutes. Projects should seek to be innovative in their choice of repertoire, and would usually involve research into neglected repertoire and/or the creation of fresh editions.  Projects may also engage with performance practice research, or (if a children’s choir is involved) engage with issues of pedagogical training. 

Options: Candidates are required to select one of the following three options:

  • Extended essay of not more than 7000 words, on a topic related to Option (iii): Choral Project. 

  • Editing or Source Studies project, presenting fresh editions and/or source discussion of the repertoire presented in Option (iii): Choral Project. 

  • Organ or Continuo recital. 

College observations and placements

Candidates will be encouraged to participate fully in college choirs, arrangements for which will be facilitated by the Course Director in conjunction with the Directors of Music at the College involved.  Placements will be made on the understanding that the candidates will on occasion have opportunities to direct the choirs in which they are involved.  Opportunities are also offered to observe College choirs in rehearsal and performance.

Aural Classes

Delivered in association with the 1a Undergraduate course.

  • Magistr (Master's Degree) at Pass level. Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of good or 4/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 4/5 Bologna Bachelor's from other institutions with an overall grade of 5/5, Excellent
  • Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of Excellent or 5/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 5/5
  • IELTS (Academic) 7.5
  • TOEFL Internet Score 110
  • £50 application fee
  • First Academic Reference
  • Second Academic Reference
  • Transcript
  • Choral Video. Shows you conducting and rehearsing a choir or vocal ensemble. The video should be approximately 10-15 minutes in length, and should be focused primarily on you as director of a choral ensemble (rather than on the ensemble itself).  It should include footage of you rehearsing the ensemble as well as some longer sections of 'performance' - though these need not be in front of a live audience.  These should be submitted through Dropbox by sharing electronic files with graduate.applications@mus.cam.ac.uk
  • Sample of Work. Relevant to your proposed area of study and c.3.000 words (no more than 5.000).
  • Personal Reference. This is only required if you are applying for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Global Education
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships
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