In September 2018, NUI Galway admitted its first cohort of students undertaking a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Music. This is an exciting development for music making and music education in the west of Ireland, and builds on the University’s established reputation for excellence in creative arts subjects.
A feature of the four-year BA degree is that all students will have the opportunity to undertake a music-related placement in their third year. Students will also be able to work with top musical professionals throughout their degree, notably the current Galway Musicians in Residence, the ConTempo String Quartet, who performed at the official launch this week at the University.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Aidan Thomson, the newly appointed Senior Lecturer in Music at NUI Galway, said: “The new degree is ideal for students wanting a career in music. It combines rigorous musical training with the chance to work with top musical professionals from a variety of fields. I am confident that it will attract academically excellent students, for it has already done so: this year, the Leaving Certificate points for entry to the course were the highest for any Music degree in Ireland.”
The core of the degree is a thorough grounding in musicianship – theory, harmony, keyboard harmony and critical listening – and training in the repertory and culture of western classical and Irish traditional music. Students will also take core modules in performance, composition and sound technology over the course of their first two years. The degree is thus aligned with the requirements of the Irish Teaching Council, meaning that graduates would be equipped to take postgraduate teaching qualifications in Music at primary and secondary level.
The degree complements many other disciplines within the College of Arts: English, Irish Studies, modern languages, and, most significantly, Drama and Film Studies. Students will have the chance to take modules that look at the relationship between music and theatre, and music and words, both academically and practically. In their final year, they will also take a module in writing about music and performance criticism, which is a feature of all creative arts subjects at NUI Galway.