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Current Students' Handbook

Being a student in the Department of Music at King's College London

Making the transition from school to university involves managing your time effectively so that you are able to prepare thoroughly for your classes and then devote the necessary time to your coursework and examinations. The hours that you spend studying independently are vital to getting the most out of your course and are fundamental to enabling you to emerge from university as an expert in your field with the best possible degree.

Studying in the  Department of Music will immerse you in a rich and diverse learning environment. Most term-long modules involve a two-hour lecture each week plus small-group seminars (usually four per term, but in some subjects eight per term). Most students also have weekly or fortnightly lessons on their first instrument with teachers from the Royal Academy of Music.

In order to benefit from the time that you spend in lectures and seminars, you need to complete the weekly set reading and listening. Preparation for the assessment element of modules is also essential: this may involve assembling a portfolio of work, or preparing a presentation. Assessment in most modules involves a combination of final essay (or portfolio) and a two-hour examination.

In your final year you can elect to spend a large percentage of time on a dissertation, or on performance or on composition.

View a diagram of how you will progress through university.


  • Preparation is the necessary work that you do in advance of each of your classes.
  • It will involve a range of activities, depending on your subject (e.g. doing set work for a class, or engaging with set questions for seminar discussion, or developing your own questions and ideas for presentation or debate).
  • Preparing thoroughly for seminars enables you to gain the maximum profit from the hours that you spend in class with your fellow students and your lecturers/seminar leaders.
  • Preparation gives you the ability to engage fully with lectures and to participate confidently in seminars.
  • It also enables you to articulate further questions to enhance your learning.
  • It is important to prepare prior to each class for each module on a weekly basis to derive the full benefit from the time you spend in class.

Independent learning

  • Independent learning is the work that you do outside of class in order to broaden your engagement with your subject area.
  • It can involve reading secondary sources, further primary sources, and seeking out further sources relevant to your topic of study .
  • It helps you to pose your own questions about what you are studying in an informed way.
  • You will achieve a far deeper understanding and greater appreciation of your topic of study.
  • You will acquire valuable skills in research, which will prepare you for independent study projects.
  • You will be able to think critically through complex issues.
  • Independent learning is crucial to being able to complete your coursework essays and assignments throughout your degree course.
  • It is necessary when revising for examinations.
  • It is more broadly important in giving you the confidence to participate within class and to get the most out of each module you take.

Teaching and resources

  • By attending classes, and using the guidance and knowledge you acquire on a cumulative basis throughout your modules in your degree course.
  • Through consultation with and support from your personal tutors.
  • By paying attention to feedback in consultation sessions, in class, and on your coursework.
  • By engaging with KEATS (e-learning platform), as required, in your modules.
  • By acquainting yourself with the resources at your disposal for your particular subject area.
  • Through feedback from your tutor or lecturer. Feedback is an exercise in learning rather than a quantitative measure of how well you have done in your last piece of work. Read the College policy on feedback here (PDF).
There is a range of resources available to you on campus and in the local area to support your study:

Your personal tutor is there to offer you academic and personal support in the following ways:

  • be a responsible person in whom you can confide;
  • meet with you each term in order to discuss your progress;
  • be available for you to consult in person during office hours, or at other times by appointment, and keep you informed of any changes in their contact details or personal availability;
  • provide a link between you and the College;
  • assist you in finding solutions to academic and other problems that you may have;
  • recommend for you other individuals or services who may be better placed to assist you with a specific problem.

Further resources and links

STUDENT PROFILECiara Power, Music & German BA
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