DCU have announced that they will be introducing a master’s degree in choral studies in the School of Theology, Philosophy and Music for the academic year starting in 2019.
This degree will be the first of its kind in Ireland and will be allocated based on accreditation. It is available to people who have studied Music at an undergraduate level and to others who studied something else but have a high level of musical ability and a keen interest in conducting and/or composing.
Dr Róisín Blunnie, an assistant professor in music in DCU and conductor of the DCU Lumen Chorale and Laetare Vocal Ensemble and Dr Seán Doherty, a lecturer in music in DCU and choral composer, worked together to develop this master’s degree. Blunnie will be teaching modules on choral conducting and choral leadership, as well as supervising dissertations in the new master’s.
“Ireland is absolutely buzzing with choirs at the moment and we hope to provide a great course for conductors and composers to upskill and get all the expertise and background knowledge to give them confidence in their art,” said Blunnie.
“Choir singing is thoroughly alive and kicking at the moment, and all those choirs need well-trained conductors and new music by great composers,” she added.
Lucy McGuinness is a graduate of Religious Education and Music for secondary level teaching. She studied music in DCU for four years and is currently working in a secondary school in North County Dublin teaching music and religious education. This MA degree is one that she would consider doing after some years of teaching experience.
She thinks it will be a good course and is needed in college. “I feel it will improve on the overall standard of choral studies throughout Ireland,” said McGuinness. “I really do think it would be popular. We have nothing like this in Ireland. Therefore, the convenience of having such a fantastic course in the centre of Dublin will be extremely popular.”
Composition and Musicology lecturer in DCU who works in the choir industry, Dr Rhona Clarke said: “I think the new MA will be a great addition to the existing programmes in Music. It it is being introduced at a time of growth for choral music in this country and I would expect there to be great interest, especially among choral directors who seek a more academic dimension as well as further practical expertise.”