Studying Music in Oxford, England

Sarah Lawrence College offers a visiting student program at Wadham College of Oxford University. All students enroll on the Oxford program.

Students who qualify to study music may be permitted to take one tutorial in specific/specialized areas. Areas of study may include composition and orchestration; musical analysis and criticism; keyboard skills, figured bass and score reading; electronic music; and the history and philosophy of music.

Qualified students may also take one individual voice or instrumental tutorial for one trimester; i.e., one tutorial out of six in total over the year, if approved in advance by Chester Biscardi. Otherwise, individual voice and instrumental lessons as well as performance ensembles are supplementary and not offered for credit. For example, the Oxford University Music Society is student run and offers the following performing opportunities:

  • Oxford Orchestra
  • Oxford Philharmonia
  • Big Band
  • Wind Band
  • Sinfonietta (contemporary music)
  • Ensemble Isis, organized by the Music Faculty
  • Wadham Chapel Choir and 29 other College choirs

Plan to get information about auditions early on so that you can anticipate and prepare for these auditions. Students of music at Oxford are expected to demonstrate a commitment to all aspects of the study and performance of music. Do plan on visiting the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments and the instrument collection at the Ashmolean. The Bate Collection includes an Indonesian Gamelan which can also be found at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Students should familiarize themselves with the differences in musical notation systems between the United States and Europe. There are numerous Web sites that compare musical terms in different languages. We recommend: