Music in Society is a new master’s degree programme combining social science with artist practice that is unique worldwide and will be launched at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in the 2024/25 winter semester. It was conceived and is organisationally supervised by the Department of Music Sociology. This four-semester programme offers students the opportunity to acquire comprehensive musical knowledge from sociological, cultural, economic, and gender-specific perspectives while deepening their practical musical skills in one of three areas: Popular Music, Music-Making in Social Contexts, or Traditional Musics.

Music in Society combines theories and approaches from the sociology of music, art, and culture as well as the fields of cultural studies, cultural institutions studies, and gender studies, culminating in qualification for independent empirical research and a deepening of practical musical skills. The particular focus is on academic and artistic practices in music and the performing arts at large, taking into account categories of social difference and inequalities as well as approaches to counteracting social inequalities in music-cultural worlds. In the interest of future-oriented engagement with (professional) practice in an increasingly precarious art, music, and cultural sector, students deal with topics such as social conditions and power relations, institutions, and (unevenly distributed) possibilities of action in musical fields.

© Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock, bearb. mdw

The special quality of the mdw, with its diverse range of academic and artistic offerings, is innovatively harnessed by Music in Society so as to offer an attractive programme of study that allows students to deepen, expand upon, and supplement their prior academic and artistic education. This offering makes it possible to study the relationships between musical practices and societal conditions—which have traditionally been researched in an inter- and transdisciplinary fashion—as a “discipline” in its own right. The theoretical, methodological, and practical research-related knowledge and skills acquired in this programme’s academic coursework are then applied by the students in master’s degree theses on freely chosen topics. In the artistic component of their studies, on the other hand, they acquire the ability to express themselves musically at an appropriately high level and to approach music in an exploratory way.

Alongside proficiency in German and English, the requirements for admission to the master’s degree programme Music in Society include prior completion of a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree at an accredited postsecondary institution as well as artistic aptitude as determined in the entrance examination.

Registrations for the entrance examination are still being accepted and must be submitted by 27 May 2024.

Further information on the master’s degree programme Music in Society and on entrance exam registration can be found here.

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