Key Info

Bachelor of Arts in World Music

NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree NFQ Level 8
CAO points history
303 †
Course code
LM135
Duration
4 Years
† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
Course leader
Mel Mercier
Email
mel.mercier@ul.ie
Tel
+353 61 202918
Admissions
Tel
Tel 00 353 61 202015
Queries

About You

If you play or sing music in any style(s) - traditional music, classical music, popular music, or other - and you wish to continue to develop your music skills and knowledge of that style (or styles), while broadening your musical horizons through playing and  learning about music from around the world, this is the course for you. We welcome proficient performers of music in all styles, with or without previous formal music education. Applicants will be required to show proficiency in their own music style(s) at audition.  

Why study World Music?

This programme will support you to develop your performance skills in your own current, chosen style(s) of music, while offering you the opportunity to explore and play a wide range of global musics. You will also develop your scholarly and theoretical knowledge of music. In order to offer new insights into the world of music and enhance your creative potential, you will be introduced to a wide range of performance practices and scholarly traditions. You will also study a number of vocational modules that willl support you inm your development of a fulfilling career.  

As a student, you will be based at the world-class Irish World Academy, with its cutting-edge performance and rehearsal spaces, and state-of-the-art technological infrastructure. The co-operative education period (Year 3, Semester 1) allows you to construct your own work-experience, providing valuable experience of the opportunities open to you when you graduate. The programme prepares you for many different career paths in areas including professional performance, composition, academia, arts curation and management, media, archive work, music production, and combinations of these. 

What you will Study

What you will study

Throughout the four years of the programme, you will develop your performance skills by taking individual lessons on your own instrument (or voice), and you will also receive individual lessons on a choice of world music instruments, such as the North Indian plucked stringed instrument sarode, the West African djembe drum and the Javanese two-stringed bowed fiddle rebab.  

Group-playing is a core aspect of the BA World Music. Throughout the four years of the programme you will participate in a wide range of  ensembles, including Javanese Gamelan from Indonesia, Middle Eastern and Balkan Music, Ewe Drumming from Ghana, World Popular Music Ensemble and West African Drumming. You will also have the opportunity to choose to participate in performance classes in the areas of Irish traditional music and dance, voice studies and contemporary dance. 

You will be introduced to the academic study of a wide range of world musics, as well as classical music, popular music and traditional musics. Specialist modules for BA World Music students include Global Pop Music, Ethnomusicology and World Music Survey. You will also study a wide range of music theory related to classical and popular music, Indian and Middle Eastern music, and more. 

In addition to your core modules, over the four years of the programme, BA World Music students join students studying on the voice, dance and Irish traditonal music programmes to take a range of modules in arts-related technology, professional and research skills, education and the role of arts in health and wellbeing. Every semester, you will also have the opportunity to choose elective modules from a broad of range of options, covering history, languages, sociology, performance practice, choreography, composition etc. 

Cooperative Education – Work Experience

In their 3rd year, Irish World Academy performing arts students go on ‘co-op’, a university-wide module specifically designed for undergraduates to engage in real-world, professional environments.   The Cooperative Education division, in consultation with the Academy, helps students to identify working opportunities in a variety of contexts, including arts management, education, performance, media and related fields.  Students are encouraged to set up their own six-month placements or to engage in split placements (ideally no more than two placements) in order to explore if their expectations for future careers match the experiences they have during the co-op period.  Faculty visits, pre- and post- co-op assessment skills, and final report help students to reflect upon the process, enabling them to critically evaluate their time off campus.

Year 1

In Practicum A students receive individual instrumental/vocal lessons, perform in the Javanese gamelan ensemble and study the theory of several world music genres.

 

Instrumental/vocal lessons

  • World Music students take lessons on their primary/first instrument and a world music instrument. Lessons on the primary/first instrument are intended to support the development of each student’s existing instrumental/vocal practice. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy.
  • World Music students also take lessons on a new, world music instrument. These lessons are intended to support the development of new instrumental/vocal practices, giving students an opportunity to learn to play a new instrument and a new repertoire of music. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy. Instrumental tuition is offered on several instruments including Indian Sarode, West African Djembe and a range of Javanese gamelan instruments.

Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

  • Students take weekly ensemble performance classes in Javanese Gamelan, learning to play the Academy’s recently acquired set of Indonesian instruments – an orchestra of 40-60 tuned bronze gongs, metallophones and drums.

World Music Theory

  • Students taking the World Music pathway take their own Theory stream, which focuses on developing their understanding of the music traditions and practices that they study in their ensemble classes and individual lessons.

Practicum C is an ensemble, performance module, which provides students with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of music and dance practical learning. World Music students take two compulsory ensemble classes (for example: West African Mandinka Drumming Ensemble and Middle Eastern and Balkan Music Ensemble) and also choose two performance classes from the range of options offered by all BA Performing Arts pathways (for example: Gospel Choir, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble and Flamenco).

The Critical Encounters module consists of four lecture courses. All lectures are taken by 1st year BA Performing Arts students. 

Critical Encounters with Irish Music and Dance 

  • In this class students are introduced to Irish traditional music and dance studies. Students deepen their knowledge of traditional repertoires and performance practices and develop their scholarly engagement with Irish traditional music and dance. Students engage with a range of research approaches drawn from various scholarly disciplines, including ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology.

Critical Encounters with World Music and Dance 

  • In this class students are introduced to diverse music traditions from around the world, including, popular musics of West Africa, the court music of Indonesia, classical musics of India, folk and Celtic musics of Europe, classical music of the Arab Middle East, and traditional musics of Canada and America. Students deepen their knowledge of diverse repertoires and performance practices, develop their scholarly engagement with music and dance, gain a more global view of music and dance, and contextualise their own music and dance practices within the wider world of music and dance.

Critical Encounters with Western Art Music and Dance 

  • In this class students study a range of western art music and contemporary dance repertoires and practices. Students deepen their knowledge of diverse repertoires and performance practices and are introduced to the scholarly disciplines of musicology, dance studies and arts practice.

Critical Encounters with Popular Music and Dance

  • In this class students study various genres of popular music and dance. Students deepen their knowledge of diverse popular repertoires and performance practices, and deepen their knowledge of the role of popular culture in social, political, economic, cultural and artistic life. Students develop a critical view of popular music and dance, and contextualize their own music and dance practices within the wider, commercially mediated world of music and dance.

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Year 2

In Practicum A students receive individual instrumental/vocal lessons, perform in the Javanese gamelan ensemble and study the theory of several world music genres.

 

Instrumental/vocal lessons

  • World Music students take lessons on their primary/first instrument and a world music instrument. Lessons on the primary/first instrument are intended to support the development of each student’s existing instrumental/vocal practice. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy.
  • World Music students also take lessons on a new, world music instrument. These lessons are intended to support the development of new instrumental/vocal practices, giving students an opportunity to learn to play a new instrument and a new repertoire of music. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy. Instrumental tuition is offered on several instruments including Indian Sarode, West African Djembe and a range of Javanese gamelan instruments.

Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

  • Students take weekly ensemble performance classes in Javanese Gamelan, learning to play the Academy’s recently acquired set of Indonesian instruments – an orchestra of 40-60 tuned bronze gongs, metallophones and drums.

World Music Theory

  • Students taking the World Music pathway take their own Theory stream, which focuses on developing their understanding of the music traditions and practices that they study in their ensemble classes and individual lessons.

Practicum C is an ensemble performance module. It provides students with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of practical music and dance learning. World Music students take two compulsory ensemble classes (for example: West African Mandinka Drumming Ensemble and Middle Eastern and Balkan Music Ensemble) and also choose two performance classes from the range of options offered by all BA Performing Arts pathways (for example: Gospel Choir, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble and Flamenco).

This module introduces students to aspects of sound and movement from around the world, questioning the nature of ‘World Music and Dance’ in the 21st century digital age.

This module introduces students to professional audio and visual technologies relevant to performers in their field. Students learn to use audio and visual  technologies in professional contexts: recording concerts, providing technical support to a wide range of performances and generating media appropriate to the world of performing arts.

This module introduces students to a variety of popular musics from around the world. Students will explore aspects of the history, performance practice and repertoire of selected popular musics.

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Year 3

In the first semester of year 3, students go on ‘co-op’placement, a university-wide module designed to engage students in real-world, professional learning experiences. UL’s Cooperative Education division, in consultation with the Academy, helps students to identify opportunities in a variety of contexts, including arts management, education, performance, media and related areas.

In Practicum A students receive individual instrumental/vocal lessons, perform in the Javanese gamelan ensemble and study the theory of several world music genres.

 

Instrumental/vocal lessons

  • World Music students take lessons on their primary/first instrument and a world music instrument. Lessons on the primary/first instrument are intended to support the development of each student’s existing instrumental/vocal practice. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy.
  • World Music students also take lessons on a new, world music instrument. These lessons are intended to support the development of new instrumental/vocal practices, giving students an opportunity to learn to play a new instrument and a new repertoire of music. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy. Instrumental tuition is offered on several instruments including Indian Sarode, West African Djembe and a range of Javanese gamelan instruments.

Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

  • Students take weekly ensemble performance classes in Javanese Gamelan, learning to play the Academy’s recently acquired set of Indonesian instruments – an orchestra of 40-60 tuned bronze gongs, metallophones and drums.

World Music Theory

  • Students taking the World Music pathway take their own Theory stream, which focuses on developing their understanding of the music traditions and practices that they study in their ensemble classes and individual lessons.

Practicum C is an ensemble performance module. It provides students with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of practical music and dance learning. World Music students take two compulsory ensemble classes (for example: West African Mandinka Drumming Ensemble and Middle Eastern and Balkan Music Ensemble) and also choose two performance classes from the range of options offered by all BA Performing Arts pathways (for example: Gospel Choir, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble and Flamenco).

This module introduces students to the disciplines of ethnomusicology, ethnochoreology and arts practice. Students engage with relevant principles, concepts and methodologies.

This module develops students awareness and understanding of the impact of the arts on health and well-being. Students study the role of the arts in various settings, including hospitals, community settings and mental health settings. The role of the arts in society, more generally, is also considered.

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Year 4

In Practicum A students receive individual instrumental/vocal lessons, perform in the Javanese gamelan ensemble and study the theory of several world music genres.

 

Instrumental/vocal lessons

  • World Music students take lessons on their primary/first instrument and a world music instrument. Lessons on the primary/first instrument are intended to support the development of each student’s existing instrumental/vocal practice. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy.
  • World Music students also take lessons on a new, world music instrument. These lessons are intended to support the development of new instrumental/vocal practices, giving students an opportunity to learn to play a new instrument and a new repertoire of music. Lessons are taught by approved teachers and take place at the Irish World Academy. Instrumental tuition is offered on several instruments including Indian Sarode, West African Djembe and a range of Javanese gamelan instruments.

Javanese Gamelan Ensemble

  • Students take weekly ensemble performance classes in Javanese Gamelan, learning to play the Academy’s recently acquired set of Indonesian instruments – an orchestra of 40-60 tuned bronze gongs, metallophones and drums.

World Music Theory

  • Students taking the World Music pathway take their own Theory stream, which focuses on developing their understanding of the music traditions and practices that they study in their ensemble classes and individual lessons.

 

Practicum C is an ensemble performance module. It provides students with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of practical music and dance learning. World Music students take two compulsory ensemble classes (for example: West African Mandinka Drumming Ensemble and Middle Eastern and Balkan Music Ensemble) and also choose two performance classes from the range of options offered by all BA Performing Arts pathways (for example: Gospel Choir, Irish Traditional Music Ensemble and Flamenco).

This module is intended students in the first semester of their fourth year, preparing to embark on an extended research project which will be presented in a 10,000 word thesis or equivalent. The student will agree on the subject of the project with the course director and will be introduced to a number of sample research projects and methodologies.

This module will examine issues pertinent to the lives of professional musicians and dancers. Issues such as promotion, effective communication, industry structures, touring, dealing with statutory arts bodies and funding structures will be practically engaged. Classes may feature professionals working in these fields and regularly faculty with relevant experience. This aspect of the module is supported by a lecture series and assessed through attendance and written assignments in the form of professional portfolios and resources.

This is the second of the two Irish World Academy modules for the FYP. The student works in a one on one context with supervisor in this module while receiving certain skills training to enable them to fill out the structure of the FYP started in the previous semester. Students will produce their own unique piece of research in an genre and disciplinary approach to the performing arts of their own choosing.

This module is designed to give advanced undergraduate students the opportunity to explore a particular topic in an in-depth way not possible in introductory or survey modules. Specific topics will be chosen by the faculty member coordinating the module and will generally be research based. It is intended to serve as a recruitment stepping stone taking 4th year undergraduates into considering post-graduate studies in the international field of ethnomusicology.

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need to have experience in performing before embarking on this course.

No. In the case of Irish Music, Irish Dance, Contemporary Dance and Voice, you need to show proficiency in one area. In the case of World Music, you will be required to show proficiency in any genre of music. An open mind and a willingness to engage with other genres and disciplines is also a requirement.

The first year of the programme is shared by all musicians, singers and dancers but you will specialise in your own performance genre from the start. At the beginning of the second year, students will be divided into their specialist area, in one of the following streams:

• Irish Traditional Music

• Irish Traditional Dance

• Contemporary Dance

• Voice

• World Music

Each student receives weekly classes from highly accomplished vocalists, musicians and dancers with extensive teaching and performance experience for their main performance area. Master classes are also provided by visiting professional vocalists, musicians and dancers throughout each semester.

Yes, each student has the opportunity to gain work experience in their area of interest in Semester 5 during their Co-operative Education placement, i.e. the 1st Semester of 3rd Year.

Yes. Each student is given the option of studying at a number of institutions around the world for Semester 6, i.e. the 2nd Semester of 3rd Year.

No, you will also engage in academic classes. Performance and academic studies are equally important. This gives you more career opportunities upon completing the course.

Auditions normally take place at the beginning of April or in mid-July for late applicants and ‘change-of-mind’ applications although the Academy is flexible if applicants have difficulty with these dates. In auditions students should show a good standard of performance in one of the five pathways opened to students in the programme.  Students who wish to follow the World Music pathway can perform in any music or dance genre and not necessarily one associated with the term ‘World Music’.  The audition itself takes the form of a solo performance of no more than 10 minutes duration, a 10 minute interview and then some element usually specific to the performance pathway the student intends to follow.  For example: dancers will meet a physiotherapist in order to assess their physical suitability to the dance pathways; students for the vocal pathway will have a short choral workshop with other applicants where they will work on a single piece of repertoire; traditional musicians may be given a short oral test where they comment on recorded pieces of music played to them by faculty.  Students who intend to follow the world music stream will also have a short oral test. 

 

Further information can be found at www.irishworldacademy.ie

Entry Requirements

CAO points history
329
Minimum grades

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation Maths is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

Additional considerations

Applicants must pass an interview/audition. More information on the auditions can be found here.

All students must undergo a Garda Vetting process. 

Mature Students

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)

QQI Entry

Certain QQI Awards are acceptable in fulfilling admission requirements for this programme. Go to the UL Admissions QQI page for a full list of modules.

Non-EU Entry Requirements

Filters

How to Apply

Where are you applying from? How to Apply
Ireland Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here. 
The UK  Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website. 
The EU EU Students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.
Non-EU country If you are outside of the EU, you can apply for this degree here.

 

Fees and Funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €5,650
SUSI pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €5,650
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student pays Tuition Fees €5,650
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

Non-EU Students

Student pays Tuition Fees €12,270
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€12,362

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to https://www.studentfinance.ie to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

  • Free Fee Status: You satisfy all three categories (1, 2 and 3) and therefore are eligible for the Higher Education Authority’s Free Fees scheme.
  • EU Fee Status: You satisfy the citizenship and/or residency criteria but fail to satisfy the course requirements and are liable to EU fees
  • Non EU Fee Status: You do not meet either the citizenship or residency criteria and are therefore liable to Non EU fees.

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website

These scholarships are available for all courses

Your Future Career

  • Professional Performance
  • Further Study (MA, PhD)
  • Music/Dance Therapy
  • Community Music/Dance
  • Music/Dance teacher
  • Arts administration
  • Performance management and promotion
  • Backstage work in performance theatre e.g. sound engineer
  • Music Technology, e.g. recording studio producer/technician
  • Media (TV, Radio etc.)
  • Work in cultural institutions and archives

To find out more, go to https://www.IrishWorldAcademy.ie

Follow On Study

Master of Arts Irish Traditional Dance Performance Master of Arts Irish Traditional Music Performance Master of Arts Contemporary Dance Performance Master of Arts Irish Music Studies Master of Arts Irish Dance Studies Master of Arts Ethnochoreology Master of Arts Ethnomusicology Master of Arts Ritual Chant and Song Master of Arts Community Music Master of Arts Music Therapy Master of Arts Festive Arts Master of Arts Classical String Performance in association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra Master of Education Music Professional Master of Education Music PhD Arts Practice PhD Research

Graduate Profile

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Deanna McDonagh - BA World Music Graduate

Deanna McDonagh - BA World Music Graduate

The BA World Music was the obvious choice for me when choosing a university course in music. Being a percussionist, and having a passion for rhythms of different origins, this course gave me so many opportunities to explore the different music cultures across the world, both practically and theoretically. It was a privilege to study in the Irish World Academy building itself, which provides so many wonderful resources, from practice rooms, theatres and recording studios, to keyboard studios and dance rehearsal spaces and so much more. The World Music course was the perfect pathway for me to pursue my career as both a professional drummer and drum teacher, with all the amazing teaching that was provided at the Academy. Working alongside so many outstanding tutors not only improved my performance skills and music knowledge, it also increased my confidence as a performer in composing my own drum music. Since graduating from the Irish World Academy, I am now the lead one-to-one drum kit teacher in a drumming company in Galway called Drumadore, teaching on a daily basis. I am also a part-time leader with the theatrical company, Macnas, and I drum professionally in two bands, one being formed in the Academy with two other BA World Music graduates. After graduating, this course has given me a chance to advance and progress in my career of being a percussionist.