Dear student,

My name is Martin Parker and I am the Head of Music at the University of Edinburgh.

On 27 May, you received a message from the Principal of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), Professor Juan Cruz. As promised in that message, I’m writing to you today to provide more detail about the exciting plans we have been working on for students joining us in Music this September.

Music at the University of Edinburgh

At the Reid School, music is practised, composed, analysed and understood on many levels and across a wide range of disciplines. Music as acoustics, music psychology, musicology and music technology cut across music history, music analysis, composition, performance and sound design. Whichever of our programmes you are on, your studies will touch on almost all of these areas. You will engage deeply with the power of music and sound in culture and across society. The diversity of our curriculum means that we are a music school that explores music in all of its forms and where no particular styles and genres are prioritised over others. Our curriculum demands a deep engagement with music both as personal expression and social force, whatever its origin or purpose.

Our teaching plans for 2021-22

From September 2021 we expect our campus to be open and available to support your learning, Scottish Government Covid-19 guidelines allowing. Alison House is the heart of Music at Edinburgh, with production studios in the building’s basement, an atrium space for small gigs and lectures on the ground floor, rooms with organs, harpsichords and a suite of practice rooms furnished with Steinway pianos – all available to be booked to use throughout the week alongside gear from our richly stocked music store.

The nearby Reid Concert Hall features a fabulous acoustic recording space and two Steinway concert grand pianos. We hope that Reid Hall will also be in regular use for concerts, lectures and performance seminars. We also have an ambisonics-ready multichannel speaker system and high specification VR systems with which to explore the latest approaches to sound immersion as a science and art.

Our teaching will combine small-group, in-person, seminar-style learning sessions across these venues with larger lectures delivered online through a range of learning platforms and sometimes in flipped-mode with lectures recorded first and active discussion of the material in chat rooms and in-person. On some occasions we’ll break large classes into smaller sub-groups and teach in-person and online at the same time. This will enable you to develop relationships with your peers and tutors through regular interaction, whatever the physical distancing limitations in place at any time during the 2021/22 academic year.

You will also have opportunity to select elective courses offered beyond the School of Music. This opportunity will guarantee a wide range of opportunities for you to expand and deepen your knowledge and experience, and to meet, work with and learn from more peers from across the University.

I am very happy to mention that our School’s Ensemble-in-Residence, the Plus Minus Ensemble, hope to be here right at the start of the new teaching year. They intend to coach a wide range of musicians in realising a new piece by maverick composer Neil Luck. They’ll then return for concerts and workshops throughout the year. These events will feature alongside our concert and several seminar series.

Whatever way you access your learning material, you’ll encounter expert tutors and lecturers who are world leaders in their fields and who are all keen to meet you and begin learning together.

Our graduates

ECA’s alumni form a uniquely diverse and talented community of over 24,000 creatives across the globe. Among them are the composers Anna Clyne, James MacMillan, Rebecca Saunders, Max Richter and Vicky Arlidge, and the founder of Streetwise Opera, Matt Peacock. Our graduates work in broadcasting, run record labels, perform and compose at the highest levels, teach, craft, and create in the field of music, develop innovative sound and music technology companies, or contribute their highly adaptable and transferable skills to diverse areas ranging from law to product design.

The ECA Graduate Shows

Graduating students across from our School have the opportunity to publicly exhibit their work as part of the ECA Graduate Show – the diversity of amazing work exhibited in these Shows and Recitals by our students is always a highlight of the year. Over the past year we have expanded these exciting annual events to include a greater digital presence, and I would warmly invite you to take a look for yourself from June 18th when our show site goes live.

Meet your Programme Director this August

The Programme Director of your Master’s degree is one of the most important people involved in your studies at Edinburgh. They have overall responsibility for the academic content and shape of your degree. If you would like to meet your Programme Director in advance of coming to Edinburgh, I’m pleased to say that this will be possible this August. We will be back in touch in July with a date and time specific to your programme.

Please look out for further email updates, as well as browsing the University website that will provide more general information about getting to and living in Edinburgh.

Playing, studying, creating and listening to music have changed in nature this last year, but our staff and students have not stopped living musical lives. A musician is resourceful, resilient, imaginative and generous: we look forward to developing these qualities together as a School when you join us in September.

With best wishes,

Dr Martin Parker