A novel method for approximating structured singular values (also known as values) is proposed and investigated. These quantities constitute an important tool in the stability analysis of uncertain linear control systems as well as in structured eigenvalue perturbation theory. Our approach consists of an inner-outer iteration. In the outer iteration, a Newton method is used to adjust the perturbation level. The inner iteration solves a gradient system associated with an optimization problem on the manifold induced by the structure. Numerical results and comparison with the well-known MATLAB function mussv, implemented in the MATLAB Control Toolbox, illustrate the behavior of the method.