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A new OCA Course in music on the way!

Good news for current and potential music students at the OCA!  We have commissioned Carla Rees to write a new Level 1 Music course.  Gareth’s recent interview with Carla gives some fascinating background on her interests, including her pioneering work on the 21st century flute repertoire and developments with the instrument itself (alto and bass flute).

The new course will have the intriguing title: From the Present to the Past.  It will be targeted at those with a general interest in music history and repertoire but who don’t want to go straight into our Composing Music courses; we know from feedback received that the requirement to have a prior understanding of music theory does put some people off the otherwise very popular composing courses.  We are also hoping that some Fine Art, Photography or Creative Writing students will consider the new music course as an option at Level 1 – but do check the recommended pathways if you are planning to do a full degree with us.
The reason the course has a Back to the Future feel is that, unlike most general music courses which start with the Renaissance and work forward to the present day, this course actually starts with the here and now and then asks ‘how did we get here?’  We know that for some people Brian Ferneyhough or Harrison Birtwistle are too conventional, whilst for others John Rutter or even John Williams are too avant garde!   So we will still cover the 20th century, the romantics, the Baroque and so on, but grounded in an appreciation of the current scene.
We are sometimes asked whether we have any intention of introducing a BA Hons in Music, to set alongside the new specialist degrees in Painting and Photography.  The honest answer is that we have an open mind at this stage.  But clearly if music enrolments continue to rise, and the new course goes well, the case will become stronger.
If you would like to be kept up to date with developments with the new music course, do please drop me an email at OCA andrewwatson[at]oca-uk.com.  We hope to launch it at the end of the current calendar year

Posted by author: Andrew Fitzgibbon
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5 thoughts on “A new OCA Course in music on the way!

  • Would be very interested in a music degree course should you happen to run one. But transfering credits from a music course provider such as yourselves isn’t so straight forward should a student wish to do so. On talking with a University and discussing this matter this was their reply
    “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of substituting modules but we would clearly need to assure ourselves that the module content was compatible. In addition, I imagine that the final decision would have to be taken at a level higher than mine. Perhaps if you could let us know something about the detail of the modules in question, we could attempt to provide a more specific answer”
    Whilst I would endeavour to supply the information requested should I have done any of your modules, I feel it is far more straight forward to choose a provider of the ‘whole degree’. I am not looking to start until the following September. Your music modules do look interesting and I would not hesitate coming on board should you be offering the full music program.
    In the meantime should there be any developments to this end please would you let me know.
    Yours Sincerely
    Robert Holly

  • Hi Robert,
    Having done OCA modules in Music and put together my own custom degree in Music, I can confirm that you can indeed transfer credit obtained from OCA easily. Work sent for assessment is accredited by a UK HE institution and I have transferred this credit without a hitch along with material and credit from other institutions.
    I can only suggest looking at, and asking questions from the potential institutions who you want to award the degree, these institutions will have their own stipulations of what credit you can and can’t transfer in to your degree.
    For what it’s worth, the OCA have stated that they’re working on additional music courses at present, and any credit transfer queries, both in and out, might be better directed to their student services, perhaps Stephanie Gillott who is in charge of APL and credit transfer, who would be better placed to answer your questions.
    Of course, your statement that ‘I feel it is far more straight forward to choose a provider of the ‘whole degree’ is very sensible, but speaking from experience, it would be stupid to do a degree entirely with one institution which meant that you had to pay out, or study modules that were unsuitable for your development just because it was easier than pulling your own degree together.
    However, straight study at a brick university can be very fulfilling to some people, if you want a general education, or when you’re not sure what you might want to specialise in, or you just want most decisions about content taken out of your hands. But hey, I’m biased. Remember, you have to do what’s right for you.
    Having studied at the OCA and with other institutions, pulling in credit to a degree were I alone have chosen the credit, yes, it can be a minefield, and difficult to get solid answers about, but I would never have paid good money out to a brick university for studies that didn’t really relate closely to what I wanted from a degree, that would be substandard studying to me.
    Also, for what it’s worth, when I applied for postgraduate study in my specialist subject, I asked the admissions tutors whether they thought my unconventional study path had counted against me. They all replied that it was to my credit that I’d pulled together the studies that mattered to me, researching and handpicking what I wanted, and that generally, this was suspected to be the way forward for HE study in the future and was counted highly over someone who just had their undergraduate studies spoonfed to them.
    Sincerely, the best of luck in whatever path you choose, and if I can answer any questions you have, please contact me.

  • Hi Robert
    It would be interesting to know who gave you the feedback, but from the ‘I imagine that the final decision would have to be taken at a level higher than mine.’ I suspect it may be a course secretary who would want to be cautious in any pronouncement about credit transfer, I am confident that if you were to talk to the course director they would be more reassuring. As Chis has experienced credit transfer between institutions is usually straight forward.

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