Marie Mayes

Lives: NY, USA
Course: MMUS Music Performance, 2015-16

Why did you choose the University of Liverpool and your course?

I chose to study at the University of Liverpool, one, because of the location.  I visited Liverpool a couple of times before I applied and made my decision, and I loved the city and its people so much that I knew I wanted to study here.  Just as important though was the University’s academic standing in the world of higher education.  I knew that the University was ranked within the top 150 universities in the entire world, and was honoured to be accepted.  The icing on the cake, though, was when the Head of Performance, Tony Shorrocks, reached out to me after I’d sent in my audition video to gauge my interest in the course.  After having pursued 2 degrees at top US institutions, I’d never been contacted by a member of the faculty before I’d arrived, and it made me feel important, like I mattered to the programme.

What did you most enjoy about your course?

What I’ve enjoyed most about the MMUS in Music Performance programme is that it has made me think about music performance in a new and exciting way.  While an undergraduate performance course needs to be based around the basics of music theory and aural musicianship, the Masters course at the University of Liverpool is wholly dedicated to practice and performance.  I’ve had to break down a lot of preconceived and learned notions about what it means to practise and build them back up again, which while difficult, has been incredibly rewarding.  Because of this I’ve become not only a much better musician, but a better teacher.  I’ve also learned that musicians are special in that they are shapers and manipulators of time who need to take charge of their musical choices, meaning that it’s up to me to make important and knowledgeable musical decisions in order to put on the most enjoyable performance possible.

What did you like most about the city of Liverpool and why?

I think my favourite thing about Liverpool itself is that it has a huge personality for such a small city.  People frequently ask me how I’ve dealt with moving from big and bright New York City to little Liverpool, and my response is always that I couldn’t be happier.  Liverpool has all the wonderful things about big city living without all of the downfalls: shopping, museums, galleries, pubs, dancing, architecture, restaurants, coffee shops, football, and reliable public transportation—just to name a few—but it doesn’t feel too busy, and no one is in such a rush that they can’t smile at you on the train in the morning.  Just the other day I heard another international student say that moving to Liverpool felt like moving home and I couldn’t agree more; moving to Liverpool for me has felt like moving home.