Musicians at Somerville benefit from an active musical community, excellent facilities and world class teaching.

Oxford’s music degree enables you to pursue a vast range of interests, from ethnomusicology, music theory and analysis, popular music studies, composition and orchestration to performance, conducting, recording and production, music education, opera and music theatre, historical musicology, medieval music and manuscript study. Applicants with a wide range of musical tastes and experiences are welcomed, and Somerville’s music students are encouraged to have multiple study interests.


Teaching is supervised by the college’s Tutorial Fellow in Music, Professor Samantha Sebastian Dieckmann, a specialist in music education and community music. She will teach you the compulsory subjects she convenes for the Music Faculty, including Foundations in the Study of Music, as well as those related to ethnomusicology, music psychology, popular music studies and musical thought and scholarship. These subject areas will be shared with Dr. Alice Barron and Dr. Jacob Bird, while music theory, analysis and criticism will be covered by Dr. Esther Cavett and techniques of composition, orchestration and conducting by Dr. John Traill. Further tutorials will be arranged at other colleges for you to cover areas of expertise not taught by our own scholars. Somerville music students are exposed to all areas of music study before confirming and pursuing the specialist options of their interest.

The library has a well-stocked music collection including scores and recordings as well as many of the course texts. Somerville Music Society’s ongoing ‘Alternative Canon’ project is working to further broaden the scope of the scores available to college musicians, procuring works by historically underrepresented composers. There are multiple pianos available for practice and recital, and every music student will be provided with a digital piano in their room to aid in their studies. There is also a college music study room equipped with a keyboard, score collection and sound system.

The Music Faculty provides funding towards instrumental or vocal lessons for all music students taking performance options as part of their course. In addition, the Margaret Irene Seymour Award is available and offers a substantial scholarship for instrumental or vocal lessons each year. Smaller grants can also be made for such purposes upon application. Organ scholarships are also available at the college, and our organ Scholars are provided with funding towards organ and/or conducting lessons. Through Somerville Music Society, students can seek support to develop ensemble playing, conducting and/or recording and producing skills, and organise events and masterclasses in areas of their interest (for example, jazz masterclasses have been popular in recent years).


We seek to admit up to 4 music students each year. Somerville’s musicians often choose to play a full role in the wider musical life of the college and University. You can access solo and ensemble performance opportunities through the active college Music Society, or audition for the Chapel Choir directed by William Dawes, a member of the Grammy Award-nominated vocal ensemble Stile Antico. There are also many student choirs, orchestras, wind bands and more around the University, both auditioned and un-auditioned.

Next Steps

While some students opt to continue in music academia, study a performance or composition course at a conservatoire, or move into related professions such as music teaching or music therapy, Oxford Music graduates learn a broad range of skills that makes them desirable employees in many fields including law, journalism, the civil service, publishing, and more.

Fellows and Lecturers
  • Samantha Sebastian Dieckmann

    Fellow & Tutor in Music; Associate Professor in Music Faculty of Music
  • Alice Barron

    Stipendiary Lecturer
  • Esther Cavett

    Stipendiary Lecturer at Somerville College; Senior Research Fellow, Kings College London
  • Elizabeth MacGregor

    Joanna Randall-MacIver Junior Research Fellow
  • Owen Rees

    Senior Research Fellow; Professor of Music; Organist, Fellow and Tutor, The Queen's College
  • John Traill

    Stipendiary Lecturer
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