Music theory

Three new short courses designed to improve communication and music skills have been launched by the University of Plymouth.

The six-week courses on Music Theory, Voice Support and Creative Writing are aimed at a broad variety of people and scenarios: from managers seeking to better project and protect their voice to aspiring musicians who want to underpin their performance with a deeper understanding of theory.

All three will be delivered online in weekly two-hour sessions, and will include engaging project work. 

“The idea is that we take some of the wonderful teaching and knowledge we have in our degrees and apply that in a much shorter and more accessible format,” 

says Professor Annika Bautz, Head of the School of Humanities and Performing Arts. 

“You might view these as professional development or simply the chance to learn something new – but the key aspect for us is to deliver them in a way that enables anyone to access them.”

Andrea Lewis, Head of Voice, and leader of the Voice Support course, said that helping people become more confident and engaging public speakers was one of the key inspirations in its creation. She said:

“This is the only course of its kind in the University. It’s for anyone that needs to engage in public speaking – whether one-off speeches for occasions or meetings at work, or those who regularly use their voice as part of their job, such as teachers, managers or performers. And in addition to focusing on the technical aspects of how to deliver an engaging and effective speech, we will also be looking at ways to ensure you are taking good care of your voice from a vocal health and wellness angle.”

For those whose passion is the written word over the spoken, there is the ‘How to find your voice as a writer’ course. Led by Sam Kemp, a poet and creative writing lecturer at the University, it will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of poetry and fiction, including some of the key rules (and when to break them).

“This course equips a writer with the fundamentals of craft that flow through great poetry and prose, taking a more holistic approach to the mediums of writing,” Sam says. “Whether you’re a dedicated story writer, or an ambitious poet, it will help people to see writing from a new and inspiring perspective.”

Dr Nuria Bonet, Lecturer in Music, who leads the Music Theory course, said it will cover the concepts of pitch, rhythm, keys, time signatures, chords, harmony and further technical terms. 

“We will be teaching it from a musician’s perspective,” Nuria said. “Music theory is so often taught in a repetitive manner as though aimed at children – but this course will make it relevant to adults who want to improve their playing and writing of music.”

The courses will launch in February, and more information is available on the continuing professional development pages of the website.