BMus (Hons)
Professional Music Studies

Key Information

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Academic Year

Course Overview

Delivered in Portsmouth, this programme allows musicians in the Royal Marines Band Service to pursue a professionally relevant degree programme that incorporates their professional work and training. Delivered by the Royal Marines School of Music, the programme covers areas of performance, composition, history, and theory.

The programme has professional relevance at its heart. Students gain credit for performance within a professional context; they play in wind bands, parade bands, orchestras, big bands ,and small ensembles. Development of students' ability to reflect critically on their practical work is emphasised throughout.

The degree is structured around strands of study that become progressively more in advanced in both scholarly and practical elements as the degree progresses.

How You Study

This programme is designed and delivery by the Royal Marines School of Music (RMSoM) in Portsmouth. Teaching and learning on the degree involves a range of strategies. Due to the work-based nature of the degree (in which students are also serving in the Royal Marines Band Service), a range of appropriate virtual learning and support are employed. Support from colleagues in the band is also an important part of students' learning.

Teaching methods include individual instrumental lessons, individual instrumental practice, lectures and presentations by staff, class discussions, demonstrations, discussion of recorded extracts, presentations, individual research, tutor support, and work-based learning.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Ensemble and Solo Performance 2024-25MSS1001Level 42024-25As a Royal Marines musician, students engage with a wide range of performance related work as part of their day-to-day work. This module aims to develop students' skills of ensemble playing in this professional context, with students 'learning through doing' in a working, professional musical environment. The module covers core repertoire and involves rehearsals, concerts, and recitals relevant to the student’s instrument(s).CoreFundamentals of Harmony 2024-25MSS1002MLevel 42024-25This module aims to develop understanding of chords and progressions for this level. It goes on to apply this knowledge in various contexts via the skill of writing in certain styles (pastiche), giving a stylistic context to the work. It includes analysing the styles as well as the chords/progressions and practising the necessary skills. It will also develop aural awareness of harmony, chords, modulation, and instrumentation.CoreInstrumental Studies 2024-25MSS1003Level 42024-25The module develops performance and instrumental skills along with critical reflection on performance and surrounding areas culminating in a recital examination. A viva voce allows students to reflect on their work and contextualise it through other areas of study (for example, through knowledge of the history and composition of repertoire).CoreMusic History and Analysis 1 2024-25MSS1004MLevel 42024-25This module aims to develop a broad understanding of the central areas, trends, and structures of music from circa 1700 to the present day. It introduces a range of perspectives for analysing music and stimulates debate of issues surrounding the performing musician. Critical reading is developed along with writing in a variety of styles and presentation skills.CoreHarmony and Elements 2025-26MSS2001Level 52025-26In this modue, students practise and extend skills in music theory and harmony learned in the previous year. The syllabus places emphasis on developing fluency in topics such as ornamentation, musical terms, advanced notation, harmony, modulation, and figured bass.CoreInstrumental Recital 2025-26MSS2002MLevel 52025-26As a Royal Marines musician, students engage with a wide range of performance related work as part of their day-to-day work. This module focuses on their specific instrumental skills as they develop a recital programme equivalent to diploma level and featuring a variety of styles.CoreMusic History and Analysis 2 2025-26MSS2003MLevel 52025-26This module continues the study of music history and analysis started in the previous year. It covers historical and analytical concepts and skills related to key musical periods: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Some of the technical features and set works included are of direct professional relevance, whilst other material is intended to ensure that students gain a sufficiently broad history curriculum.CorePerformance within Band 2025-26MSS2004Level 52025-26This is a work-based learning module, undertaken from the point at which the student has completed Initial Training until completion of the M2 Course. It includes all professional work to with their performance work within the band in which they are now based.Core

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.

How you are assessed

Assessment of students matches the professional, practical, and work-based characteristics of the programme, whilst ensuring students synthesise practical and scholarly knowledge at an appropriate level. This degree is built around the twin strands of practical music making and scholarly musical understanding, and, crucially, how knowledge and understanding of both is brought together.

Assessment methods include recital examinations; ensemble performances; timed practical examinations; viva voce examinations, timed written examinations; essays, critical programme notes, and reports; assignments in harmony, composition, and arranging; an assessment of task book; and portfolios of practical and contextual work.

Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

All student recruitment is managed by Royal Marines School of Music via the University Liaison Officer. The programme is open to all Musicians in the Royal Marines Band Service. To be considered for the BMus programme, students should have completed their M3 Elements and Aural training. Students are able to commence the programme later in their careers, and previous vocational training will count towards their studies. Students will also need to have agreement from the Director of Music Training and the course leaders to enrol on the degree.

Enrolment and Fees

Students must have written consent from their respective Director of Music to be able to enrol on the programme. Study on the BMus is fully funded through the Royal Navy.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.