What course are you currently studying?
MMUS (Master of Music)
Why did you choose postgraduate study at the University of Liverpool?
I chose to progress to postgraduate study here after completing my undergraduate degree because I feel completely at home within the University; there isn’t a single aspect of university life in Liverpool which makes me feel unhappy or unwanted. The music department itself is also like a family, so I wasn’t ready to leave it even after three years of undergraduate study.The music department is one of few to have its own common room, meaning that there is no segregation between year groups, degree courses or even lecturers. Everyone knows each other which makes the needs of the individual even more prominent; when the lecturers care about us we care more about our studies.
What’s the best thing about studying in your department?
I progressed to postgraduate study after completing my undergraduate degree here as the University possesses a music department which is very focused on the individual, always striving to assist with pupils’ needs and make the study experience as enjoyable and fruitful as possible. Even as a postgraduate student, we are still treated with as much attention as everyone else; we are given much more independence when it comes to essay questions and the breadth of research, but lecturers are still always on hand to answer every question, no matter how big or small. I think this comes from the department being fairly small (just 20 pupils on the MMUS course), meaning that the lecturers can afford to get to know each pupil and everybody can be given the opportunities that they deserve.
How do the facilities in the University help you with your studies?
The opening of the new Music Hub and Practice rooms have this year made studying a master's in performance even more enjoyable, as we have fully functioning performance spaces to give us more of a professional insight into how the world of performance works. Also, being able to perform in the Leggate Theatre within the Victoria Gallery and Museum is a wonderful opportunity which sets us up for potential professional recitals in the future.
What kind of support do you get from tutors?
Having such a small course size means that we can get as much support as we could ever need from all of our lecturers; they offer us weekly tutorials should we need them, or they are always on hand to answer questions in and out of lectures. This class size also means that our lectures are very personalised, in the sense that the teaching style can become very practical and flexible to suit the needs of each individual, rather than the stereotypical ‘lecturer talks pupils listen’ structure.
What do you enjoy most about the whole experience?
The friendship and camaraderie that can be found within the music department is the most valuable thing that could come out of studying for a degree. No matter how much you enjoy writing essays, studying is always going to be hard and it’s going to cause stress, so having the level of support that comes from all levels of the department is completely invaluable and makes stress something to laugh about. The course itself is perfect if you like performing. With three recitals through the year, anyone with a passion for performance will absolutely love this course; of course there are still plenty of written assessments involved, but they are all ultimately linked to the context surrounding performance.
How do you believe undertaking postgraduate study will help your career prospects?
For me, postgraduate study has been pretty much compulsory as I want to be a University lecturer eventually. However, no matter what career path you want to follow, a postgraduate qualification will make you stand out to employers; it shows commitment, hard work and dedication to everything that you do. Beyond this, postgraduate study helps you to specialise far beyond the scope of an undergraduate degree, meaning that you will be much more highly regarded for jobs in an area that you are truly passionate about.
What advice would you give to anybody considering postgraduate study?
Don’t just read the overview of a course, read every detail of every module and every assessment that will be undertaken. Postgraduate study is difficult, so you must be sure that you will enjoy every aspect of it in order to maintain your passion. It is also important to consider aspects beyond the course itself, such as the city you will be living in. If you are not happy with a living situation, it makes combatting the stress of work much more difficult, so it is important that you make sure you will have somewhere to go where you will be happy and can get away from work. Some relaxation time is necessary on a daily basis, even just half an hour, to ensure that you can maintain the motivation needed for the level of work required of postgraduate study.