Music – Oxford Interview Questions

“How can I prepare when the interviewer could ask me absolutely anything about Music?”

By understanding how the interview works and, crucially, what it is that the interviewer is looking for. The interviewer is not looking to catch you out, but rather for you to demonstrate your curiosity, knowledge and passion for Music.

“How am I able to do that?”

Demonstrate your enthusiasm and personality

You might be asked general interview questions so that the interviewer can learn more about you – review our list of General Interview questions to prepare.

Show that you enjoy studying Music independently
The easiest way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for Music is to show that you are self-motivated and have studied the subject in your free-time for enjoyment – for example through online lectures and independent reading. If you don’t know where to start, review our suggested reading list below.

Demonstrate your subject knowledge about and passion for Music
The key to answering these questions is to always demonstrate your thought process aloud. The interviewer does not expect you to be able to answer every question immediately, but rather wants to determine that you are able to think about and work on unknown topics with confidence, intelligence and clarity – and they won’t be able to do that if you sit in silence! Use the list of questions below to prepare. Perhaps you can have a friend or relative ask you these questions so that you can develop your skills of thinking under time pressure and speaking out loud.

Subject Interview Guide – Music

Our Subject Interview Guides help you to prepare and go into your interview with confidence.

OIQ Interview Guides

Each guide discusses ten Oxford Interview Questions in depth with answers and approaches – along with possible points of discussion to further demonstrate your knowledge. They have been specially edited for applicants for each subject by a team of Oxford and Cambridge graduates.

Download a sample page from our Physics Guide here.

Please Note: Currently “The Oxford Interview Guide” is available for Chemistry and Physics (available to download below). Other subjects will be available for download in November – please enter your email below to receive a notification when your subject guide is available for download.

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Music Suggested Reading


Music Interview Questions

How did Wagner’s operas influence the history of Western music?
Why has music developed the way it has?
Which venue do you most like to play in acoustically?
Consider Girls Aloud and football anthems with reference to functionality of music.
How had the piano developed by the time of Beethoven?
How is music related to free will?
How do you think the current economic climate will affect music?
What would your desert island disc be?
How are Vivaldi’s ritornellos different to Bach’s ritornellos?
If you could invent a new musical instrument, what kind of sound would it make?
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Discuss.
Do you feel that music is an art incomparable to history in that history cannot be performed?


Music at Oxford

Oxford’s undergraduate and graduate curricula are strong in traditional musicological and musical skills, but are also notably wide-ranging and imaginative, reflecting contemporary developments in music and musicology; and alongside these formal programmes we organise and participate in a stimulating variety of concerts, masterclasses, workshops, public lectures, and conferences. Oxford’s resources include the internationally important Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, a high specification electronic music studio, an Indonesian gamelan,  and specialised resources for the study of performance. The Faculty’s research and teaching strengths cover a broad spectrum, including European music of many periods, ethnomusicology, composition, opera, film music, analysis and music theory, the psychology of music, performance, and performance practice.