Top 5 things I love about studying Music

This blog was written by Sunny

As a first year Music student, here are 5 of the best aspects that have arisen from my first term studying Music at King’s: 

The societies 

King’s is packed with Music Societies and ensembles – regardless of which areas of Music you are interested in, how much performance experience you have, or whether you are more interested in composing and writing, there will be many societies you will want to try out and be a part of. Most societies are student run, giving a welcoming and closely knitted sense of community. They offer valuable time to exercise musicianship and can give you lots of experience and opportunities performing in concert venues inside and outside of King’s. Should you wish to pursue music professionally, the networking avenues presented by music events and through performances are strong and numerous. Many societies host social events throughout the term – from packed open mic nights, big band and small band jazz jams, post-concert afterparties, dinner events or even just a pub trip after rehearsal. I came to King’s worried about meeting new people and socialising, but once I joined a few societies I quickly realised how I am immersed with like-minded musicians, and I quickly came out of my shell. What I love most is that the music societies interact with one another and help each other with their concerts and productions, which gives a wholesome community spirit, and one you would want to be a part of.  

The KCL Jazz Society hosts regular open mic nights and jam sessions (Photo Credits – Harry Elletson Photography)


The learning process  

The teaching methods as part of your Music course are completely different to those at my old school and sixth form, but I adapted to the change much quicker than I had expected. Most modules are taught in a way that you are given a lecture which often helps with assignments, followed by small group seminars later in the week to explore the topic further with your professor and peers. For those anxious to put their hand up in lectures, seminars give the opportunity and the confidence to contribute and interact with your ideas. Some thoughts from you and your peers are contrasting, and everyone is accepting and encouraging of different interpretations. For me, that is one of the beauties of studying a subject like Music. 


The proximity to London’s music scene 

By living and breathing in the cultural capital of the world, studying Music at King’s puts you in a fantastic position to explore the variety of culture offered by concert halls, theatres, and conservatoires around London. Many of these opportunities come free of charge as part of your King’s experience, such as seeing dress rehearsals at the English National Opera with King’s Opera Society, or entry to neighbouring the Courtauld Gallery for art inspiration, others such as the Royal Opera House and Southbank often offer heavily discounted tickets for students. At King’s, your location is just across the river from the Southbank and Barbican, next door to the Royal Opera House, and down the road from the West End and jazz bars of Soho. The St Mary le Strand Church is also just outside, which hosts many concerts and recitals throughout the term and is home to a non-auditioning student choir at King’s.  

Hilary Hahn at the Royal Festival Hall –this view for under £20! – Photo taken by Sunny


Access to the Royal Academy of Music

King’s has a partnership scheme with the Royal Academy of Music, where you can benefit from weekly tuition from a RAM tutor (or, if you choose to specialise in the performance module later, longer sessions with a RAM Professor). As I gingerly walked into RAM for the first time, I was intimidated at the thought of being in proximity to such high standards of musicianship but as I walked out, I felt a sense of relief – although the standard of tuition is high, it wasn’t nearly as intense as I had thought. There is a bountiful supply of practice rooms both at RAM and at King’s, and some tutors can come to King’s, as well as offer online tuition.  

You can benefit from a partnership scheme with the Royal Academy of Music


Connections elsewhere  

Not only is there a formal performance connection with RAM, but some students from RAM or from other conservatories involve themselves in productions or concerts at King’s. I have enjoyed getting to know musicians from Trinity, RAM and RCM who were involved with the King’s Opera production of Die Fledermaus, the Modern Music Society Sinfonietta concert or the KCL Symphony Orchestra (KCLSO) concert. In fact, the conductor of KCLSO is Assistant Conductor for the RCM Symphony Orchestra and RCM Philharmonic, and I attended a Masterclass with him conducting the RCM Symphony Orchestra with Maxim Vengrov coaching four violinists (each violinist playing one movement from the first Shostakovich Violin Concerto). I would not have known about such insightful and inspirational opportunities, had it not been through the central connections that King’s has with other musicians around London. 

Some conservatoire players outside of King’s helped in the Modern Music Society Sinfonietta concert, which took place in the gorgeous acoustics of the King’s College Chapel


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