Leeds Conservatoire

Degree level: Postgraduate
UCAS Conservatoires
Awarded by: University of Hull

MA Musical Direction (Taught)

Course options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

Our MA in Musical Direction is designed to fully-prepare highly-skilled musicians to embark upon a career as a musical director. With tailored one-to-one classes, students will hone their musicianship and be exposed to a wide-range of working practices, working alongside key practitioners, companies and industry professionals from across the region. This MA encourages students to interrogate the role of the musical director and redefine it for themselves, through the continued collaborative, student-led development of new work across the year. With collaboration and individual artistry at the heart of all of our Theatre MAs, students will leave this course not only fully equipped to adapt to the changing face of theatre, but also with the skill set and tenacity required to drive that change. Assessment You will be assessed at the end of each of three trimesters on Applied Musical Theatre Context, Musicianship and Group Musicianship. These practical assessments will focus on putting into practice the skills received during that trimester. This may include one or more of the following: conducting, orchestration, working with singers and accompaniment skills. Finally, you will be assessed on your Major Project, which culminates in a production/s in third term. This assessment will cover the Project's inception, development and performance/s, largely based upon a dissertation you will produce.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.


For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Musical Direction and Coaching


Creative and Collaborative Thinking Students will explore various methods of creative thinking and problem-solving, which will become the initial starting points for later development of new work. Weekly sessions will focus on case studies of performers, work or artists to critically analyse how research is used in the development of new work and in the telling of personal narratives or stories. Case studies may include practitioners such as Kate Tempest, Frantic Assembly, Pablo Helguera, Javaad Alipoor, debbie tucker green, Lin-Manuel Miranda or other contemporaries. This work will be student-led, tailored to the student’s area of interest. Students will interrogate the Musical Director's role by pushing the boundaries of what makes theatre through collaborative work with the other MAs. Applied Musical Theatre Context Working alongside the Musical Theatre Company students and Creatives, Musical Directing students will take part in acting through song and musical theatre context classes. Here they will develop audition technique as an accompanist, as well as analytical skills, dissecting the key components of song (keys, chord progression and structure etc) and lyrics in relation to their place and time in the musical theatre landscape. They will study style and genre and use this as a starting point to prepare and perform (and potentially develop) work of their choosing. Group Musicianship Musical Directors will work with the Actor Musicians on various projects throughout the year, exploring the myriad ways to portray narrative and character through music and generate authentic work quickly and collaboratively to a performance-ready level. In these sessions, students will work both collaboratively and in a more traditional hierarchy, where the musical directors will learn how to ‘run a rehearsal’ with a company of actors/musicians. Students will explore a range of styles and pieces in these sessions - both set and devised in class. Skills developed in this module include musical arrangement (as a leader and as a group), conducting, and teaching both group and individual singing. Musicianship These one-to-one classes give students the time to work on chosen areas on their musicianship with an assigned tutor. These sessions aim to fill gaps in knowledge, expand skillsets, and identify any components of their craft that need development. It also gives students the opportunity to explore styles and directions that they may want to pursue. Major Project The Major Project will be developed over a term and will be a based on the student’s area of interest, culminating in a performance and/or sharing . Major projects can be in collaboration with other MA students from across the Theatre MAs or something entirely individual.

How to apply

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

Course code:
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Campus name:
Main Site
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Please visit the international page on our website for further information: https://www.leedsconservatoire.ac.uk/courses/international-applicants/

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in any subject, with a 2:2 classification or equivalent, usually theatre, music or theatre/music-related, but qualifications in other fields will also be reviewed and considered OR Equivalent professional experience may also be accepted and reviewed at application and audition stages

Additional entry requirements




English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 with no subtest below 5.5

Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
Online or in Person (All Applicants)No fee charged

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
Online or in Person (All Applicants)No fee charged

Additional information

Leeds Conservatoire wants to ensure that our application and audition process is fair and accessible to all. For this reason we do not charge an audition fee for any of our courses and are able to refund travel expenses for applicants from low income households for in-person auditions. Please see https://www.leedsconservatoire.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-study/audition-information/ for up to date details of our audition process.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £8250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £8250* Year 1
Scotland £8250* Year 1
Wales £8250* Year 1
Channel Islands £8250* Year 1
Republic of Ireland £8250* Year 1
EU £14000* Year 1
International £14000* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

For details of any additional costs associated with your course, please see https://www.leedsconservatoire.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate-study/fees-funding/tuition-fees/ These fees are subject to annual review and may change for 2024/5.
MA Musical Direction at Leeds Conservatoire - UCAS