Music is a discipline that stretches back to the ancient world. One of the seven original liberal arts, music maintains a place in the university as a subject of broad and passionate interest to composers, sound artists, musicologists, performers, technologists, and theorists. Our community is dedicated to furthering a knowledge and love of music. Using abundant musical resources—which include a renowned collection of original manuscripts, books, scores, current and historic recordings, and outstanding computing facilities—the Department of Music at Trinity provides an extraordinarily rich and dynamic musical environment.
Studying music will allow you to engage with a range of traditions to acquire a profound understanding of how music works in theory and in creative practice. If you are interested in understanding music’s place in society, developing music technology skills, writing music, or improving your skills as an informed performer, this course could be for you. As an academic discipline, music fosters independence of thought, creativity, critical and analytical skills, and intellectual awareness. A music degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in the creative arts, journalism, music production, arts management, research, and teaching.
The single honor and two-subject courses provide a thorough grounding in the basic skills of musicianship and academic study. From the second year onwards, and especially in the third and fourth years, both courses offer a wide range of options. Our curriculum integrates practical musicianship with rigorous scholarship. We offer a musical education that provides specialisation in three key areas—composition, music technology, and musicology (the historical and analytical study of music). Students receive extensive training in aural and keyboard skills, learn the history and theory of art music from the medieval period to the present day, and can choose modules in jazz, rock, popular, and vernacular musics. Taught performance modules (e.g., conducting) allow students to contextualize their practical skills. All students complete a final-year capstone project.
Many students come from non-classical backgrounds. A wide range of musical activities takes place on the campus, with the support of many music societies. In addition to copious performance opportunities, students can gain experience of arts administration, music production, and interdisciplinary collaborations. A particular strength is the department’s commitment to small-group teaching, with many subjects taught in groups of ten students or fewer.
Facilities include a recital room, practice rooms, a suite of computer workstations, a recording studio, listening equipment, and a substantial lending collection of CDs and videos. Trinity students have access to the largest research library in Ireland, in which music is extremely well served.
Since the Music Department became part of the School of Drama, Film, and Music in 2006 it has developed interdisciplinary connections, which include a jointly-taught undergraduate module in film production. In 2013, the Royal Irish Academy of Music became an Associate College of Trinity—a move designed to facilitate collaborations to benefit performing arts education and practice. In the words of Provost Patrick Prendergast, ‘building on each institution’s expertise, together we aim to develop an internationally renowned centre of excellence in the performing arts. Linking research to practice and focusing on the interface between innovation and tradition are key values that Trinity and the RIAM share.’
Music is the only academic department still situated in Front Square, at the heart of college life in Dublin. Alumni include Derek Bell, harpist in the Chieftains; Niall Doyle, Head of Music at the Arts Council; Deborah Kelleher, Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music; and Donnacha Dennehy, Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University.