University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Master of Music


The Master of Music (Performance) provides unique opportunies to develop high-level skills in the production of research-based creative work. Candidates will organise and present creative work (a recital, lecture recital, recording or other appropriate form) that demonstrates independence of thought, critical awareness and interpretive capacities, and high potential as a scholarly musician. Candidates will be able to articulate the contribution which their creative work makes towards extending the boundaries of the discipline of musical performance.

Course Structure

The Master of Music (Performance) helps candidates in the development of research-led performance and scholarship. The first year Creative Work units of study focus on the candidate’s creative research development under the guidance of the supervisors. Also normally completed as part of the first full-time year are Research Methods and other elective units of study supporting research development. During the second year, candidates work towards completion of their thesis comprising the final creative work presentation and written research dissertation. Candidates should plan their candidature in consultation with their supervisory team, including the date for presentation of the final creative work. Typical progression patterns are shown below.

Candidature includes

  • enrolment in appropriate units of study to support the candidate’s development as a researcher
  • supervised performance research on an approved topic in preparation of a thesis which comprises both the final creative work presentation and the associated 10,000-20,000 word written research dissertation. This includes 24 one-hour sessions across each year to be divided between written research supervision and one-to-one lessons (instrumental, vocal, conducting) as appropriate to the needs of the student.
  • a confirmation presentation late in the first full-time year of candidature
  • annual progress review (APR)
  • presentation of research at an appropriate graduate symposium at some time during the candidature
  • attendance and presentation at the interdisciplinary Postgraduate Creative Work seminar
  • the final creative work presentation of 50 to 80 minutes duration in an appropriate format (recital, lecture recital, recording and so on), demonstrating originality and making a contribution to knowledge beyond its aesthetic merits
  • production of critical notes to accompany the final creative work presentation, articulating its aims and its place in the area of the candidate’s research enquiry.
  • the written research component of the thesis which will be a 10,000-20,000 word dissertation on the approved topic. This will investigate the topic normally developing one or more hypotheses and placing the research within the relevant body of knowledge.

Candidates normally complete the following research units of study during the first full-time year or equivalent:

  • PERF5001 Creative Work (Performance) 1
  • PERF5002 Creative Work (Performance) 2

Candidates normally complete 18 credit points of coursework units of study chosen as follows:

  • PERF5600 Graduate Research Methods, or an approved alternative
  • Two other units of study chosen from the list of postgraduate electives, or an approved alternative

Example progression pattern for Master of Music (Performance)*

Semester 1 Semester 2

PERF5001 Creative Work (Performance) 1

PERF5002 Creative Work (Performance) 2

With guidance from the supervisory team, work on performance development and early stages of your dissertation

With guidance from the supervisory team, work on performance development and early stages of your dissertation

PERF5600 Graduate Research Methods** Postgraduate elective
Postgraduate elective Confirmation presentation
Semester 3 Semester 4

With guidance from the supervisory team, work on preparation of both thesis components

With guidance from the supervisory team, work on completion of both thesis components

Postgraduate Creative Work seminar (optional) Postgraduate Creative Work seminar (optional)
  By end of the final research period, submission of the full thesis for examination including the recording of the final creative work presentation and the written research dissertation

* This pattern is for a full-time student. For a part-time student the pattern will be adjusted.
** For students commencing in the 2nd half of the calendar year, Graduate Research Methods can be taken in the 2nd semester of enrolment, , or an alternative option may be available.

Preparation and examination of the final submission

At the end of your candidature candidates will submit the thesis for examination. The thesis will include the recording of the final creative work presentation and the written research dissertation. A preface can be used to introduce the two components of the thesis. The thesis will be examined in accordance with University of Sydney policy by two approved examiners, including at least one examiner external to the University of Sydney.

An internal panel including the supervisory team will normally attend the final creative work presentation and will assess its suitability for inclusion in the final thesis and for examination. If this is found not to be ready, there is normally a second opportunity to give the presentation.