Music is a multi-faceted academic discipline, including historical, technical, practical, theoretical, philosophical, anthropological and literary components.
The Oxford course offers one of the broadest ranges available in a British university, though with strong emphases on the history and understanding of music. There is within it a large degree of flexibility for individual students to focus on their particular interests and abilities.
College teaching in Music centres on the core papers of the syllabus: History, Analysis, Techniques of Composition (including Keyboard Skills) and Musical Thought and Scholarship. These subjects are especially well suited to the close focus on student work that the tutorial system affords. Good prospective students typically display qualities of musicianship, independence of thought, intellectual curiosity, and creativity; but interest in and enthusiasm for the subject are also crucial.
Oriel boasts a number of facilities that are advantageous to Music students. There is a dedicated Music Room on the main College site that can be used for music practice and small concerts. The Senior Library houses a Steinway B grand piano, which may used for practice by Music students and others of a suitably advanced level. The Chapel contains a two manual Walker organ dating from 1988. Music students are provided with the use of keyboards in their rooms for all three years of their course.
Oxford is a vibrant centre of musical activity, with events featuring music of all kinds and styles taking place almost daily during term. Oriel’s central location facilitates the prominent roles its Music students assume in such events; but the College itself has a thriving musical life, and here too music students play a key part. The Music Society organizes occasional lunchtime recitals and evening concerts. The Chapel Choir sings services twice a week during term time and makes regular visits to cathedrals and churches outside Oxford during the vacations.
Since 2008, the College has welcomed each year a distinguished Visiting Musician, who gives a concert, master class or lecture once a term. In Michaelmas and Trinity Terms, Champagne Concerts are held in the Senior Library, featuring professional soloists or chamber-music groups; these may be attended free of charge by students at Oriel.
Applicants are asked to submit two essays and samples of harmony and counterpoint. Interviewees are required to perform on their first-study instrument, and those not holding Grade 5 in Piano are required additionally to execute piano sight-reading of that standard. Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent) including Music.