My main interest since primary school has been music. I started playing the violin when I was 6, then changed to focus on melodeons and concertinas in my early teens after discovering the magic of English folk music. I had already explored music as an instrumentalist and a performer, and academically (having taken GCSE and A level courses in music)
and this made me want to explore and study music at a higher level.
As music was and is such a significant part of my life, it only seemed natural that I should study a degree in music. I was drawn particularly to the University of Leeds as the music course is quite a broad one, covering a range of areas and disciplines within music. The course was also very inclusive; I play somewhat unusual instruments (melodeon and concertina) and many other universities that I had considered would not allow these on their courses, however, Leeds were happy to accommodate this.
Describe the aspects of the course that you have enjoyed the most.
Writing my dissertation was a highlight of my music degree. I really enjoyed being focused on a single topic and spending 9 months totally engrossed in it. I wrote my dissertation about Lucy Broadwood, a collector of English folksong who was active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This is a topic that few people have written about in depth, so it felt very rewarding to research and uncover information that has seldom been discussed previously.
Another personal highlight was my involvement in the performance module. I’ve always been interested in performing and improving my instrumental skills. As standard the school of music arranges instrumental tuition with an external teacher for anyone on the performance module and for my instrument (melodeon) they arranged tuition with Pete Coe who has been a personal hero of mine since I was about 13. The module has encouraged me to think of new ways of playing my instrument and explore new repertoire, as such, my instrumental skills have developed more in the past 3 years on the performance module than at any other point in my musical career.
What are you planning to do once you graduate?
My immediate plan now that I have finished my degree is to work as a full time musician. I play as a soloist and in a group and perform nationally and as well as this I’m working on teaching music, so that is keeping me pretty busy. I also hope to continue post graduate education at some point in the not too distant future.