Module WXP-2307:
Ensembles and Groups A

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Chris Collins

Overall aims and purpose

The aims of the module are to engage with repertoire, styles and performance skills in a group scenario, and to be introduced to the professional practice of ensemble performance. This entails forming ensembles, organising rehearsals, and researching styles and repertoire. It can include arrangement of new repertoire

Assessment takes into consideration the individual contribution of each performer in the group, as well as how the ensemble performs collectively, including how each member of the group addresses challenges of repertoire and coordination.

Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of styles and genres. These can include 'classical' music of all kinds (including contemporary and historical repertoires), popular music, jazz, traditional music, music from various (world) cultures, and experimental music. Students may need to arrange new repertoire for their ensemble. Collaboration, communication, improvisation, learning by ear and playing from memory will be emphasised.

The module is open to players of all instruments and singers. It incorporates opportunities to work with the School's collection of world instruments, and there is scope for creative collaboration between home and international students.

Course content

  1. Structured and guided performance workshops: students work in small groups and are provided with suggestions for performing a piece or improvising. The resulting music is performed before the entire class, is discussed, and verbal feedback is given.

  2. Classes introducing ensemble performance concepts, leading to practical experience and experimentation: various approaches to group performance and improvisation are explained and demonstrated. Students then have the opportunity to practice these in performance.

  3. Supervised rehearsals: students work on pieces for examination, with guidance from a tutor. The tutor monitors progress and helps with feedback, suggestions and encouragement.

Assessment Criteria


C– to B+: Performances which are persuasive, displaying good levels of ability in musicality and technique, and with effective contribution to and interaction with other members of the ensemble. Written work that is engaging and informative.


D– to D+: Performances which demonstrate adequate musicality and technique, and adequate contribution to and interaction with other members of the ensemble. Written work that is intelligible.


A- to A**: Performances which are compelling and convincing, displaying high levels of musical and technical ability, and which demonstrate a very strong (but not overbearing) contribution to and interaction with other members of the ensemble. Written work that is insightful and original.

Learning outcomes

  1. Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to adjust co-ordination, tempi, intonation, and so on, in response to other members of the ensemble.

  2. Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to prepare and perform a mixed recital of ensemble repertoire.

  3. Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to experiment with different musical materials, styles and genres.

  4. Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to articulate their experience of the process of research and rehearsal.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
EXAM Final Performance: group

A formal performance of the repertoire prepared during the course of the module. This mark is awarded for the performance of the whole group; each member of the group will receive the same mark. (This is the same examination as 'Final Performance: individual'.)

CLASS PARTICIPATION Workshop contribution

This component is an aggregate of grades awarded for individual contribution to workshops. At least three workshops will be assessed. Students will be told which workshops are being assessed at the commencement of the module.

EXAM Final performance: individual

A formal performance of the repertoire prepared during the course of the module. This mark is awarded for the student's individual performance. (This is the same examination as 'Final Performance: group'.)


A 1000-word reflective write-up of the process of researching and rehearsing as a member of an ensemble.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Supervised time in studio/workshop

Up to one hour of supervised rehearsal per week, for 11 weeks.

Group Project

Group rehearsal, individual practice, and reflection.

Practical classes and workshops

11 weekly sessions, each lasting 2 hours.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Re-creative skills – interpretation, innovation, versatility, and other skills relating to performance
  • Creative skills – conception, elaboration, adaptation, presentation, collaboration, preservation
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • 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)


Resource implications for students

Students may wish to bring their own instruments, but this is not essential as there is a large collection of instruments available in the School.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: