Undergraduate

Music Specialist Studies

Whether you love performing or composing, Music Specialist Studies equips you with the skills for a career in the music profession. Study music at UWA and join one of the world's highest ranked performing arts programs.
8
AP Exams
3
Years Full Time

Careers and further study

This major opens up a world of future study pathways and career opportunities.

Career Pathways

Graduates pursue careers in a wide range of areas including the creative and performing arts, music education, the entertainment industry and associated fields. Many graduates have careers as performing musicians, either with an orchestra, an ensemble, as conductors or composers, or a combination of these. Others go on to become music administrators, music or arts managers, music journalists or librarians.
Graduates pursue careers in a wide range of areas including the creative and performing arts, music education, the entertainment industry and associated fields. Many graduates have careers as performing musicians, either with an orchestra, an ensemble, as conductors or composers, or a combination of these. Others go on to become music administrators, music or arts managers, music journalists or librarians.

Further Study

Students who undertake a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with two music majors will have postgraduate options across all areas of music specialisation. Recent graduate destinations include Australian National Academy of Music, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as well as Oxford University, Royal Academy of Music and the Academy of Ancient Music.
Students who undertake a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with two music majors will have postgraduate options across all areas of music specialisation. Recent graduate destinations include Australian National Academy of Music, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as well as Oxford University, Royal Academy of Music and the Academy of Ancient Music.

Fees and scholarships

Learn more about the fees that apply to you for this major. For fee type definitions and further assistance, see the Fee Calculator Help page. You can also search our database for scholarships that are relevant to you or your desired course.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available to students from a diverse range of backgrounds, including academic achievement, financial need, educational disadvantage, leadership and community service, artistic or sporting achievements, and being from a rural or remote area.

Cost of living

There are a few things to consider before applying to study at university. One could be your cost of living. This can depend on factors such as lifestyle, accommodation, tuition fees, medical insurance, textbooks and more. For an indication of expenses and average costs, see our Cost of living page.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available to students from a diverse range of backgrounds, including academic achievement, financial need, educational disadvantage, leadership and community service, artistic or sporting achievements, and being from a rural or remote area.

Cost of living

There are a few things to consider before applying to study at university. One could be your cost of living. This can depend on factors such as lifestyle, accommodation, tuition fees, medical insurance, textbooks and more. For an indication of expenses and average costs, see our Cost of living page.

Admission requirements

The University of Western Australia welcomes applications from international and domestic school-leavers, mature-age applicants and those with previous tertiary study. If you’re interested in studying this major, find out the admission details below.

Minimum entry requirements

Below you’ll find a list of admission equivalencies for this course's Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

Admission requirements

To be eligible for school-leaver entry to UWA you are required to achieve the Western Australian Certificate of Education and obtain the minimum ATAR to gain a place in your chosen degree.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENT

Audition process

Prior to the audition, you will be asked to prepare two contrasting pieces. Remember to bring a copy of your music for the members of the audition panel. Given the time constraints for each audition, it is likely you will only have the opportunity to play a portion of each piece. If the members of the panel ask you to stop playing at a certain point, this does not mean the performance is going badly. Being asked to stop is not an indication of anything but a lack of time.

After the performance component of the audition, you will undertake a short aural quiz, followed by a brief discussion with the panel. They may ask about your musical experiences, what sort of music you like, and what else you intend to study. You will be able to ask questions and the members of the audition panel will answer to the best of their ability. During your audition, one of the panel members will look at your prepared portfolio. The whole audition process may take as little as 10 minutes. The length of the audition, however, is no indication of its success.

Read frequently asked questions about the audition process or book your audition here.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENT

Frequently asked questions

Do I need an accompanist?

The decision is entirely up to you. We have found that for most players, the provision of an accompanist makes little difference to the decision of the committee. Due to the special nature of vocal auditions, we provide an accompanist for the voice auditions. However, you are free to use your own accompanist if you wish. Note that the first audition dates will align with WACE exams. Most accompanists will be unavailable for these dates, and we are very comfortable for performers to audition without accompaniment.

I play percussion. Is that different?

For percussionists, the audition is a little different. You will play material that you have prepared, perhaps on Tuned Percussion, snare, mixed percussion or kit, and then will be asked to demonstrate some rudiments of percussion.

What is the portfolio and what do you do with it?

In addition to performing as part of the audition, students are asked to bring a portfolio containing samples of their current work. For instance, audition panel members would like to see examples of academic writing, musical exercises and/or compositions, music certificates and other supporting documentation. A member of the audition panel will look at the documents during the audition process. As part of the portfolio, we would like to see whatever you have done during the course of your studies. However, if you do not have any such examples, we can make a decision without them.

What is the aural quiz?

The aural quiz is undertaken as part of the audition. Its purpose is to assist the audition panel members to determine each applicant’s level of musicality, as well as provide the panel with an indication of an applicant’s musical training. The aural quiz is very short, and will only last a couple of minutes.

Elements of the aural quiz

To begin with, a simple melody will be played on the piano. You will be required to clap back the rhythm you have heard. The second task involves matching pitch. A note will be played on the piano, and you should sing it back. Next you will be asked to recognise some melodic intervals. Two notes will be played on the piano one after the other. You should name the interval. The final part focuses on harmonic intervals. Two notes will be played on the piano simultaneously. You should name the interval. To help you prepare for this component of the audition, a sample of the aural quiz is provided below.

I was really nervous. Can I audition again?

Everyone who auditions is nervous. As experienced musicians, however, the panel members are used to seeing nervous students audition. Even if you are nervous, be assured the panel will probably have an accurate view of your musical ability. However, if due to nerves you believe the audition does not provide the panel members with an accurate indication of your musical ability, there may be some remediation. Contact the Conservatorium of Music for more information.

Do I need an audition to play in an ensemble?

Some ensembles are confined to Music students; some ensembles are available to students from across the University, subject to passing an audition; others are available without any audition.

I’m interested in composition – do I still need to audition?

Yes, we still ask you to audition on your chosen instrument or voice. In addition to your audition, you should submit a composition portfolio (in advance of the audition if possible) and we will arrange you an interview with our composition coordinator.

I’m an international applicant – how do I audition?

You will need to provide a recorded audition either via Dropbox, USB, Youtube or DVD. You should perform two contrasting pieces on your instrument or voice in a single take (do not edit the recording afterwards). You’ll also need to provide a certified letter stating the authenticity and date of the recording. Once you arrive at UWA, you may be asked to do a separate informal audition. If you are interested in composition, also provide a portfolio.

Can I defer my place in music?

If you are planning a gap year or will not be taking up your place within six months of your audition, you will need to successfully re-audition before being offered a place. It is up to applicants to ensure they retain a high standard of performance until entry into the Conservatorium of Music.

English competency

English is the language of instruction and assessment at UWA and you will need to meet the English language requirements of the University to be eligible for a place.

Admission requirements

Perform a successful audition (required standard AMEB Grade 7 or above) and/or submit a portfolio of compositions. Applicants should also possess a theory background equivalent to Music ATAR (AMEB Grade 5 theory). Visit the Conservatorium of Music website for more details or book your audition here.

How to apply

Ready to apply for this major? Follow the steps and you’ll be on your way to joining us at UWA.

Course details

Within this major you will work with world-class musicians to develop your skills as an emerging musician or composer. As a well equipped 21st century musician, you will have the opportunity to pursue postgraduate training in many areas, including national and international centres of music excellence, and be ready for a career in the creative arts industry.

About The Course

This major provides you with a rigorous, high-quality tertiary music education and an intensive concentration in a chosen area of specialisation: performance, composition or musicology.
Music Specialist Studies

Quick Details

Status
  • Available 2019
Locations
  • Perth
Attendance
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
Delivery
  • On-campus
Starting dates
  • Semester 1, Semester 2
Weekly contact time
  • Approximately 15 hours plus own practice and study time, rehearsals and performances
Level of study
  • Undergraduate
Course Code
  • MJS-SPMST
Full time/part time duration
  • 3 years (BA); 4 years (BPhil [Hons])
Music Specialist Studies
Status
  • Available 2019
Locations
  • Perth
Attendance
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
Delivery
  • On-campus
Starting dates
  • Semester 1, Semester 2
Weekly contact time
  • Approximately 15 hours plus own practice and study time, rehearsals and performances
Level of study
  • Undergraduate
Course Code
  • MJS-SPMST
Full time/part time duration
  • 3 years (BA); 4 years (BPhil [Hons])
TISC Codes
  • UWMUS
  • UWBPH
Honours Available
  • Yes
Degrees course is available in
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)
Faculty
  • Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education - Arts

Carissa Soares

Carissa Soares

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GRADUATE STORY

Thea Rossen

Thea Rossen headshot

After graduating from UWA, Thea was accepted into the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in Melbourne and moved there to study percussion. She now runs an ensemble called the ‘Ad Lib Collective’ (with two other UWA alumnus Jared Yapp and Jesse Deane) which has taken them all over the world with performances and concert curation. She also presents concerts with her percussion/clarinet ensemble ‘Enyato Duo’.

GRADUATE STORY

Thea Rossen headshot

After graduating from UWA, Thea was accepted into the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in Melbourne and moved there to study percussion. She now runs an ensemble called the ‘Ad Lib Collective’ (with two other UWA alumnus Jared Yapp and Jesse Deane) which has taken them all over the world with performances and concert curation from Strasbourg, France to Banff, Canada and Boston and the US. She also presents concerts with her percussion/clarinet ensemble ‘Enyato Duo’ and tours a children’s show around Australian schools with Musica Viva.

“In 2008, I began studying a Music and Engineering but fell in love with music and ended up leaving the engineering to complete a Bachelor of Music with honours in 2013. I majored in percussion performance and had the opportunity to study with Perth’s best percussionists including [UWA's] Dr Louise Devenish.

The staff and lecturers at UWA were inspiring and deeply committed to their work, I am lucky to still be in touch with many of them, and am grateful for the time I spent studying with them. Being a member of the Piñata Percussion Ensemble exposed me to a world of new music that I had never experienced before.

During my studies, I was heavily involved with the Music Students Society (MSS) and was lucky enough to be the President in 2013. We began a new concert series for composers to have their works premiered by students, organised the annual ball for Music Students, and facilitated engagements between other faculties on campus. The skills that I developed working on the MSS committee have been incredibly useful in my professional career as a performer, creator and educator and the people that I worked with are still dear friends and collaborators today.

UWA is well known for being a strong supporter of the arts in Western Australia and nationally. From their support of the Conservatorium of Music on campus to the International Arts Festival, that sort of leadership is vital for an arts community to flourish, and is what makes me proud to be an alumni.

I am passionate about using a high level of music and performance to connect with and engage audiences in new and exciting ways. Through this work I hope to be able to convey messages of global importance such as issues surrounding climate change. While music in itself is one of the most abstract art forms, it has an incredible power to express experiences and emotions we cannot put into words. This is what I believe makes it such a uniting force.

I feel very lucky to have such a variety of work in the music field; I am proud of my Perth roots and grateful to UWA for helping me.”

Thea’s advice to new students

“Balance at university is a great idea. Pick subjects that you love and study hard. But remember to spend time making friends and building networks. The people I studied with at University are now my colleagues, collaborators, peers and friends. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong network of people who are passionate about the same things as you.”

Facilities & equipment

Eileen Joyce Studio

Admission requirements

Perform a successful audition (required standard AMEB Grade 7 or above) and/or submit a portfolio of compositions. Applicants should also possess a theory background equivalent to Music ATAR (AMEB Grade 5 theory). Visit the Conservatorium of Music website for more details or book your audition here.

Your degree options

This major can only be taken by Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) students concurrently enrolled in the Music Studies major.

Conservatorium of Music

The University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music provides classes and activities that support and promote music in the community for everybody.
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Updated
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 12:31 AM (this date excludes nested assets)
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