Music faculty changes undergraduate curriculum

Image description: a piano. 

In an email sent to students this afternoon, the Music Faculty has detailed its plans to change the curriculum. This comes after a commitment was made during the summer of 2020 to diversify the curriculum.

The changes will come into force for Prelims 2021-2022, and for finals papers being sat in 2023. The email read:

“In accordance with the commitment that we made last summer at the Town Hall meeting (and at the previous Faculty Board), concerning curriculum diversification, the Faculty Board met on Tuesday of week 2 formally to agree the undergraduate curricular changes that have been under consultation since the summer. It approved a new structure for the curriculum which I am attaching here. This will be implemented for Prelims 2021-22 and for FHS 2023.”

Students were encouraged to offer feedback through their UJCC representatives, although the Faculty warned that there would be no further changes to the plans in the coming year, due to time constraints.

“If you would like to offer your thoughts on these curriculum changes, you are very welcome to share them with your UJCC reps — though, because of time constraints, there will be no further changes made to these plans for the coming year. There will be a review to find out how these changes are settling in (whether they’re working as intended) a year from now, at which stage the Faculty Board will seek student contributions.”

The most significant changes to the curriculum will be the removal of keyboard skills from the compulsory curriculum, and the reduction of the number of compulsory special topics from five to four. The inclusion of compulsory keyboard skills has previously been criticised by students for favouring students with long-term classical training.

One music undergraduate told the Oxford Student:

“It’s really encouraging to see such a big move in the right direction. Members of the Faculty, including staff and students, have been trying to get changes like these implemented for years. It’s a real turning point and we’re extremely excited to see changes in the content and structure of the course. Modules like Keyboard Skills have been a point of contention for years for their privileging of certain kinds of students and musics. The fact that it’s no longer a compulsory module is really symbolic. This is definitely a beginning rather than an end point for anti-racism and decolonisation in the Faculty and music course, but it’s brilliant to see changes like these!”

Prelims students will have to take six papers in total, with four of the six compulsory modules.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee via Creative commons