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Module WMP-4103:
Music in Society

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Chris Collins

Overall aims and purpose

This module explores a number of manifestations of music within society, taking approaches from ethnomusicology and applied practice.

Students on this module will extend their knowledge and understanding of ethnomusicological issues through one or more case studies arising from staff research expertise. Students will develop skills in fieldwork, ethnography, and the analysis of music in a cultural context, and will acquire an understanding of ethical and practical concerns. In addition, students will explore theoretical and practical aspects of the applied practice in music, with particular reference to the role of music in health and wellbeing.

Students will acquire skills of observation, evaluation and critical thinking that can then be put into practice in their own research projects.

Course content

Topics will vary from year to year, responding to the research expertise of staff allocated to teach the module, and, to some extent, student interests. Proposed possible topics include:

Ethnomusicology topics – Ethnomusicology – Organology – Celtic traditional music – Welsh fiddle music – Music in museums

Music in health & wellbeing topics: - History & development of music therapy - Music & wellbeing in everyday life - Music therapy (with specific focus on case-studies, e.g. autism; dementia; depression, addiction etc.). - Medical ethnomusicology - Music & childhood development - Music & community regeneration: the ‘Sistema’ approach

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (50-59) Work which displays a good grasp of factual knowledge, with adequate ability at conceptual thought, and some awareness of methodological issues (albeit limited), and showing sufficient evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression.


Good (60-69) Work which displays a sound grasp of the subject, a good level of conceptual thought, awareness of methodological and other issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and good expression.


Excellent (70+) Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of extended study, profound conceptual thought, originality of approach and excellent presentational skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of the module, students will be able to provide novel and original insights into specific topics in the field of music in society.

  2. On completion of the module, students will be able to provide novel and original insights into selected topics and issues within the field of music in health and wellbeing.

  3. On completion of the module, students will be able to develop appropriate, tailor-made methodologies.

  4. On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate enhanced communication skills.

  5. On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate critical and analytical skills of high order.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

An essay on a topic of the student’s choice, that relates to one of the subject areas discussed in class. The exact essay question will need to be agreed with the module tutors by Week 6.


Prepare an oral presentation lasting ca. 20 minutes’ duration on a topic of your choice, agreed with the module tutors. You may wish to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, include musical examples (up to a maximum of 3 minutes’ duration), as required.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Supervised time in studio/workshop

Individual consultation with the module tutor will be available on demand, up to a total of 3 hours

Private study 275

One weekly seminar of 2 hours’ duration


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: