Bachelor of Music Degree
In the Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree there are three main types of teaching: practical, theoretical and academic. These run concurrently through the first three years of your degree. The practical teaching happens in the Music Performance Studies courses and includes one-on-one instrumental or vocal tuition, class practical (in which you perform for your peers and learn critiquing techniques) and ensemble lessons (performing in groups). The theoretical teaching happens in the Music Literacies and Skills courses. In this course you work progressively from establishing musical literacy (that is, reading and writing music) to learning various composition techniques as well as developing aspects of general musicianship. The academic teaching is done in the Music in History and Society courses and develops your ability to think about and reflect on music.
In each of your first three years you will have one Music Performance Studies course, one Music Literacies and Skills course and one Music in History and Society course to focus on. In your first two years you take two Bachelor of Arts (BA) courses (one in the first semester and one in the second) in addition to your music courses. You are able to choose from a wide variety of BA courses. In third year you will also have the opportunity to pick up other courses such as Performing Arts Management, Introduction to the World Wide Web as Creative Medium and Introduction to Animation.
Fourth year is about specialisation. In addition to compulsory courses in Music Criticism and Music Business Studies you can choose a specialisation in composition, performance, community music, music research, and/or music business. Each of these specifications runs through the whole year.
See the electronic Prospectus for detailed descriptions of the different disciplines of study: Performance, Composition, Music History, Community Music, and Music Business.
Wits Music offers Foundation music courses for school learners who haven’t had any formal music education. If you are talented and passionate about studying music we encourage you to apply to do the Foundation courses. Doing the Foundation courses adds an extra year on to your music studies. There are three Foundation music courses:
- Foundation in Music Performance Studies focuses on developing, initially, basic skills in music performance proficiency and works towards progressively more advanced skills by the end of the year-long course. The aim is to prepare students to attain a level of performance equivalent to the external examinations of Unisa/ABRSM “practical” Grade 6 in preparation for the first-year BMus Music Performance Studies course. Students focus on a primary instrument/voice of study, in classical, jazz, or musical theatre traditions, and cover technical and repertoire work.
- Foundation in General Musicianship focusses on developing foundational skills in several inter-related areas of music studies that are crucial to the practice of music. These include aural, listening and sight-reading skills, a basic orientation of the keyboard, and an introduction to music ensemble performance through choral and marimba practices.
- The Foundation in Music Literacies courses cover fundamental music theory materials in their symbols, correlating concepts, and sounds. Students are introduced to tonic sol-fa and staff notations and the course draws on musical examples from a range of musics. Simple music analysis is introduced, with examples being sung, played and internalised so that theoretical principles are put into practice. A minimum level equivalent to the external examinations of Unisa/ABRSM theory Grade 5 is aimed at by the end of the year.