Music Performance: Session Skills - CMAT5140

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Richard Perks checkmark-circle


This module focuses on specific skills and techniques essential for performers working as sessions musicians across a varied range of genres, as informed by contemporary music industry practice. The emphasis is on the development of a 'toolbox' of competencies relevant to different professional scenarios. These include the ability to sight-read chord charts and fully notated band parts, pre-prepare material at short notice, spontaneous musical contribution to previously unheard tracks, improvisation, click track accuracy and creativity under pressure. Students will be presented with multiple assessed practical tasks, designed to facilitate engagement in a process of collaboration with other musicians, developing performance skills specific to recording studio and/or live performing environments.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private Study hours: 128
Total: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

1) Individual Performance Assessment 1 (take-away performance task; response to a 3-min recording) 25%
2) Group Performance Assessment 2 (performance exam 20 min; response to a 4-min recording) 50%
3) Reflective Critique (1,000 words) 25%

Reassessment methods

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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Green, B & Gallwey, T. (2003). The Inner Game of Music. London: Pan Books
Harnum, J. (2014). The Practice of Practice: Get Better Faster. Sol Ut Press
Parncutt R. & McPherson, G. (2002) The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ritchie, L., & Williamon, A. (2013). Measuring Musical Self-Regulation: Linking Processes, Skills, and Beliefs. Journal of Education and Training Studies 1(1), 106-116.
Williamon, A. (2004) Strategies and Techniques for Enhancing Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1) understand key facts, concepts, principles and theories relevant to contemporary and commercial music, including its production and performance;
2) develop an understanding of recent music genres, their associated characteristics, and the historical, cultural and technical issues that enhance knowledge of them;
3) understand the relationships between musical creation, performance and reception;
4) demonstrate an understanding of musical organisation, style, genre or tradition for a broad range of contemporary and commercial types of music;
5) understand the creation, adaption and editing of music; using appropriate technological resources;
6) demonstrate the conception of musical ideas and their manipulation in an inventive and individual way;
7) demonstrate the artistic and expressive skills necessary to communicate music convincingly to the listener, both as an individual and part of a group.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1) assimilate different theoretical and aesthetic systems of thought and to relate theory to practice;
2) synthesize inputs (knowledge, materials, information) in order to generate outputs in written, aural or practical format;
3) communicate and interact effectively with others;
4) work independently, to understand one's own learning style and work regime;
5) demonstrate effective time management and plan and set priorities.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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