Harness your creativity: Leading universities for Music

Every child is born with the innate ability to be creative, and for some that creativity is expressed through an intrinsic love of music. It is this creative force that has inspired some of the most moving, passionate and universally loved compositions.

While this artistic flame is so vital to powerful performance, it can also be delicate and in need of nurturing within a stimulating environment.

When students make the decision to study Music at university, it is exactly this type of environment they should be looking for; one that provides the avenues to explore your artistic potential while guiding and inspiring you to push ahead with your own personal style.

Inspired creativity awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. It propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. This creativity can be activated, captured and better understood when given an opportunity to express itself.

By providing state-of-the-art equipment on which to experiment, such as studios and concert halls, as well as exposing students to innovative composition and unfamiliar instruments, the right university can see graduates blossom into independent creatives with their own voice.

As an international student looking for a Music school to fit this bill, the UK is a great place to start. Home to some of history’s greatest rock gods, this vibrant cultural hub lives and breathes music of all acts and genres as a melting pot of harmonious influences.

The high calibre of Music departments scattered across the UK undoubtedly reflects this musical passion.

Here are 5 leading UK universities that harness your creativity…


Tap into your creative talents in this cultural hub at the heart of England’s Northern Powerhouse. Home to three professional orchestras and the headquarters of the BBC, Manchester is a vibrant, eclectic city renowned for its thriving arts and music scene. Immerse yourself in the city that helped inspire the nation’s legendary music scene and be a part of its ambitious creative future.

Ranked in the top four university Music departments in the nation according to the Complete University Guide 2018, the Department of Music at the University of Manchester is passionate about cultivating the very best in performance. With the help of the largest student-run music society in the UK, the Department puts on over 100 concerts a year featuring a varied and eclectic range of genres, from Baroque chamber music to jazz Big Band and everything in between.

The Department also has an outstanding reputation for innovations in composition and boasts some of the finest electroacoustic music studios in the world. As a student there, every composition you write as part of your course will be performed and recorded, putting your skills to the test and showcasing your progress as you spread your musical wings and find your unique sound.

The winning formula of ‘Performance + Musicology + Composition’ that gives Manchester’s music courses their unique identity is completed by a team of experts working across the fields of musicology, ethnomusicology and analysis. Overseen by some of the world’s leading researchers and musical talents, Manchester Music graduates are destined for success.


Durham University’s Music Department is one of the leading centres in the UK for the study of Music. Rated among the top selections in the Complete University Guide 2018, Durham is globally-recognised for its outstanding research expertise in a wide variety of topics including musicology, theory and analysis, ethnomusicology, music psychology, performance, composition, and music technology.

Students are challenged to engage actively with music both familiar and unfamiliar, as well as to think about music in new ways under the guidance of internationally-renowned experts. Exploration into your own creativity, framed in the context of the latest research, drives the production of independent project work, making the final result both enlightening and rewarding.

To provide in-depth study, students can choose to read Music either on its own or in combination with another subject or subjects, such as Liberal ArtsCombined Honours in Social SciencesJoint Honours Music and Philosophy or Education Studies and Music.


The historic 19th century, neo-classical Victoria Rooms in the heart of Bristol city centre is the home of this impressive Department. The striking landmark houses nine state-of-the-art studios featuring cutting-edge equipment and software to support composition, performance and research.

All undergraduates get the chance to use the studios, helping them develop technical and aesthetic skills as part of their studies. MA in Composition for Film and TelevisionMA Music: Composition pathway and PhD students also all have access to, and extensively use, all studios in their work.

World-class studios paired with a stunning collection of fine instruments makes for the perfect playground for musicians to hone their craft.

Opportunities to showcase these talents are endless. The Department offers a fantastic range of musical opportunities; from the University Symphony Orchestra to the University Barbershop Singers, from the University New Music Ensemble to the Operatic Society, there is something to suit everyone’s taste, instrument and passion.


The Department of Music at Birmingham is one of the most distinguished in the UK, with a history stretching back to 1905 when Edward Elgar was appointed the university’s first Professor of Music. But that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past…

The Department’s £16 million Bramall Music Building offers students a first-rate learning environment, including a 450-seat concert hall considered the most adaptable space of its kind in any UK university.

Postgraduate opportunities  here are exceptional with a wide variety of Master’s and PhD research areas from which students can choose. Over 85 percent of the Department’s research has been judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internally excellent’ by the national Research Excellence Framework, making it one of the nation’s best places to embark on further study.

Undergraduates can choose to pursue a straight BMus Music or take advantage of the joint honours programmes in Mathematics or Modern Languages.


At York, you will develop your own distinctive approach to Music. The Department offers considerable choice in what you can do, holding incredible value over personal interaction, while keeping the teaching in small groups for that intimate learning experience.

Performance and creativity are deeply embedded in the curriculum and incorporated in daily activities so both undergraduate and postgraduate students grow into creative, critical, and independent thinkers. The flexible approach to study means students are provided with opportunities to specialise and pursue their own direction under the expert guidance of active professionals.

The fascinating and unique Music, Science and Technology Research Cluster brings together an international and interdisciplinary community of staff and research students working across all these areas to study music perception and cognition, develop technology for musical application and critically examine the interactions between technology, culture, business, and creativity.

The Contemporary Music Research Centre allows students to explore the creation of new music through composition, improvisation and performance.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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