at our Open Days
I got really, really good vibes when I came to Kent. I didn’t actually visit any other unis but I came to three open days and two taster days to make sure this was definitely where I wanted to be. The students were really accommodating, the facilities are state of the art and there is so much in place in terms of student support.
Also, when I was at college, I did a technology course and a separate performance course and I didn’t want to drop either; I didn’t want to go into university going “I’m a performance student, the only thing I do is performance”. And here, I'm becoming really multi-skilled because I study music business, music technology, music performance, music psychology, music journalism – all different kinds of things.
You can shape your degree to suit you. You can pick what people might call obscure modules and filter that down to study a specialism, or do it the opposite way and branch out into different areas so you open many doors. It’s really flexible.
When I was at college I auditioned for guitar and vocals but because they had no bassist I ended up getting kind of pushed into that. So I came into the first year here saying I’m a bassist, but I could still play all the other instruments, and as the year went on I thought I’d give vocals a go. Vocals can make you feel quite insecure because there’s no instrument, it’s just you, but they encouraged me to challenge my feelings towards that. I’m much happier now. I feel that as I grew through my first year I became more of the person I wanted to be, rather than being put in the box I was in before.
Yes, performance students get instrumental tuition. My teacher is Kelly Fraser – she’s done vocal work for The Voice, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent. She does leading work, she travels here, there and everywhere, has her own company. It’s wicked.
I think probably the concerts: we have two concerts a year when all the ensemble groups – guitar, percussion, vocals, choir, all different kinds – come together to perform. It’s quite a special night because everyone's been working really hard towards it and they get to showcase what they’ve been doing. It’s kind of a celebration – more or less everyone shows up, staff and students, and people from the local community come too.
I was lucky because I moved here with two people I knew from college and I shared a flat with them. The freshers’ helpers help you move in and show you round and settling in was quite easy.
Music Society – the students this year are so engaged, so many people are showing up every week.
I’m also a volunteering rep for the student union. I really care about the environment and sustainability, and at the end of last year I got really concerned that people were throwing away really good stuff like food and household items when they moved out. So, I linked up with the campus chaplain and organised this huge collection – my room looked like a warehouse! The food went to the community food bank, and things like pots and pans and warm clothes went to the chaplain for her Bargain Corner. She sells them back to students really cheaply and money she raises pays for days out and other student activities.
I’ve known for ages that I want to be a secondary school music teacher and I heard today that the University has been able to organise a placement for me at a school. I’m really lucky that I’m getting the experience in my dream career and getting paid as well.
Participate in as many events as you can, do things like volunteering – get yourself known because that makes it easier to make friends. It helps when you’re setting up a project or organising volunteering because you know who to contact. Oh – and turn up to your lectures!