Study a distance Music degree with OCA

Our BA(Hons) Music degree is the only programme of its kind in the world.

Being delivered through distance learning, our online music degree is centred upon practice and supported by the development of an understanding of musical contexts. You may opt to specialise in composition, orchestration/arrangement or musicology. You will delve into the historical context and learn the building blocks of harmony, analysis and form. Through the course, you’ll be encouraged to develop a unique identity and style as a practising musician.

You’ll expand your skills and expertise across music supported by a specialist musician, a dedicated student support team, as well as a thriving creative community who share your passion for music.

The course offers additional optional opportunities for group work including a Music and Fine Art collaborative project, with opportunities for your work to be recorded through our tutor network.

If you are new to music, have a look at our Open Foundations Music course!

What is an online music degree?

OCA’s online music education degree is open to anyone with ABRSM Grade 5 Theory or who has completed an equivalent music foundation course. The course is flexible, with optional units that will enable you to select a path that’s suited around your interests and passions.

Studying a music degree from home is a fantastic way to balance your life with your studies and gain a full bachelor’s degree qualification at a pace that suits you best. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a professional career in music, looking for personal development, or wanting to learn more about your passion from experienced tutors – we’d love you to apply to join us.

If you’re looking for a distance learning music degree, begin your journey today with OCA’s BA (Hons) Music course!

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Course Structure

The degree is split into eight units; three at Level 1 (HE4), two at Level 2 (HE5), and three at Level 3 (HE6). There are some core units that all students take, many more optional units, and some prerequisites for units at higher levels.

As a flexible degree, you can complete the programme in 4–9 years, with a maximum of three years to complete each level of the course.

All Music units require the use of music Notation software – either Sibelius or Dorico. Find out what other equipment you’ll need to study with OCA by contacting enquiries@oca.ac.uk

Core Units

All students must take Composing Music and Stylistic Techniques at Level 1 (HE4). These are sequential, and build your musical practice up, level by level. Level 1 (HE4) units have been written by experienced musicians Carla Rees, Gavin Wayte, and Patric Standford; you’ll become proficient with the tools and techniques of composition, which will be relevant if your interest is mainstream classical, or any other genre of music. During your Level 1 journey you can choose Optional Modules mentioned below, which follow on to Level 2.

At Level 3 (HE6), you’ll take Major Project and Contextual Studies at the same time, and these two units bring together everything you will have learnt throughout the degree. Sustaining Your Practice follows this by preparing you for life after study, ensuring you continue your artistic practice, and perhaps become a professional musician.

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Optional Units

At Level 1 (HE4) you have three options to choose from. From the Present to the Past gives you the option to explore western classical music without the need for technical skill, whilst Creative Arts Today lets you discover musical composition in collaboration with other artistic pursuits such as Creative Writing or Photography. You can explore how society looks at the world and has developed a visual vocabulary to describe it in the third option, Understanding Visual Culture.

Level 2 builds on the units taken at Level 1 through Moving on with Composition, Orchestration and Arrangement, Instruments & Repertoire, or History & Context.

These units are all about exploring music in greater depth. For example, Moving on with Composition builds in choral and orchestral elements, or piano accompaniments. With Orchestration & Arrangement you’ll look at case studies of established composing to look at blending orchestral groups and scoring for a range of different ensembles. Instruments & Repertoire allows you to explore the history and development of instruments, and the music written for them, including performance practice and interpretation. History & Context provides an opportunity to research individual areas of interest from the Renaissance to the present day.

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Learn about studying the BA (HONS) Music course from Programme Leader, Carla Rees, with a guest appearance from an OCA Music student.

Carla Rees – Music Programme Leader – Virtual Open Day 2021 from Open College of the Arts on Vimeo.

Music Degree Pathway

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Download the full programme specification

Click here

See more detail about the available units

Click here

Foundations

£915

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,080

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£4,080

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,080

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,360

Per course unit (4o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £430 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £140.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,040

Per course unit (6o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £550 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £140.

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,080

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £860 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £280.

Foundations

£1,052

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,680

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£4,680

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,680

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,560

Per course unit (40 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £560 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £150.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,340

Per course unit (60 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £740 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £150.

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,680

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £1,120 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £300.

More Information

  • With the OCA, you can study a BA (Hons) degree in our flexible online learning model at approximately one third the cost of a degree at a traditional physical university.

    Students study and pay for the course on a unit-by-unit basis, so you only pay for the course as you enrol to each unit.

    This course is eligible for a part-time tuition fee loan from Student Finance England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or you can self-fund the course and break down costs even further through the deposit and instalment option.  Find out more about your funding options here.

  • You will require regular use of a computer or laptop and internet access. Most essential reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks.

    Students are responsible for sourcing and, where necessary, purchasing any additional software and resources specified. These can be around £400 at Level 1, £500 at Level 2, and £550 at Level 3. Where possible, open or freeware equivalents will be discussed alongside industry standard options.

    On this course students will need access to Sibelius or Dorico software.

    You may be eligible for any student discounts on computer equipment and software by using your student email, and you can find out more information about student discounts here.

  • Students wishing to study the Music degree must have ABRSM Grade 5 Theory, or you can take OCA’s Music Foundation which is equivalent. Apart from that all you need is a passion for the arts, and willingness to learn.

    All OCA courses require students to be IT literate, have a good internet connection, and have a good standard of English equivalent to CEFR B2. You can review the study requirements here so you’re prepared for online study at higher education.

  • We accept enrolment for our BA (HONS) courses all year round, so you can start at a time that suits you. You don’t need to wait for a specific intake month, simply complete the online enrolment form and indicate your preferred start date.

    When applying for a Student Finance tuition fee loan, this may take 4- 6 weeks to process, so select a start date reflective of this. If you are also applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and would like this support to be in place before beginning your course, please allow 14 weeks from when you begin your application to your start date.

  • Our part-time degree courses are completed on average between 4 and 9 years. The degree is structured into three levels (instead of three years) so you’re able manage study around other commitments.

    Once enrolled, you’ll have a maximum of 12 years to complete your degree course. There are unit and level timeframes within the overall degree time frame, and you’ll need a minimum of 10 study per week to keep on track. To find out more about course duration and managing your time, click here.

  • Your course materials are accessible online through the virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, where you’ll also have access to student forums, a subject space, the student handbook and the online library. You’ll work primarily from a set text of course materials and resources, but can also sign up to webinars, workshops and study groups in addition to your core learning.

    Once you’ve completed the required assignments within a course unit and received tutor feedback, you’ll submit a portfolio of work to an assessment event. This gives you the opportunity to develop your work before you have it formally assessed to achieve credits towards your degree.

  • Upon completing the BA (Hons) Music degree at OCA you’ll have the skills you need to work in the music industry. Where you take those skills is up to you, and you’ve got no shortage of options to choose from.

    With the skills you’ll have you could be a composer, orchestrator/arranger or musicologist, and will be equipped for a portfolio career as a musician. You could create your own works, collaborate with other musicians and artists, and/or explore many other aspects of the music industry, such as music publishing, music administration, events organisation, become an artist agent or music journalist. The course also provides you will the necessary skills to be eligible for further specialist study at Postgraduate level, including courses in writing music for film and TV, music-related research and much more.

    Whatever option you choose, Prospects have some great advice to help you on your way.

  • The OCA’s New Music Collective (NMC) is an extra-curricular project which focuses on the
    development of skills in collaboration, music-making and performances. The group aims to
    connect creativity and performance, through practical experience of playing new music,
    including student works, improvisation and collaboration.

    The NMC’s long-term goal is to develop a network of musicians from the OCA's student
    body, who will be able to embark on collaborations with our student composers to allow
    them to hear their works played live, as well as engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations
    spanning music and the visual arts.

    Events so far include workshops covering improvisation, solo performance, graphic score
    interpretation and group composition, performer/composer collaborations, recording
    sessions of works for solo flute and a long-term cross-disciplinary collaboration project in
    the 2018/19 academic year which brings together students from across music and visual
    arts subject areas.

    The NMC is open to all OCA students with an interest in exploring contemporary music
    practice, irrespective of subject specialism or level of study. Events can usually be attended
    either in person or online.

  • The Academic Regulatory Framework (ARF) regulations are applicable to all taught courses offered by the Open College of the Arts
    (OCA), and leading to an undergraduate award of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

    You can review the ARF through the link below:

    Academic Regulatory Framework

To Join

Sound like an opportunity you want to make use of? Enrol here, today!