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Claire Rebecca Bannister

City provided me the best possible training in research techniques that a student could hope for.

Can you tell us a bit about what you're doing now? 

I am currently performing PhD research at Kingston University London under the supervision of Professor Isabella van Elferen and Professor Allan Moore entitled ‘Towards a Psychedelic Topography of Goth Music’.

Why did you decide to study at City, and how did it help you get to where you are today?

I decided to study at City after I found my brain craving cerebral nourishment having been starved of university life for five years. I wanted an intellectual challenge and the programme at City seemed up to the task! I was struck by the speed with which I acquired an incredible amount of knowledge. On the Critical Readings module for example a team of inspiring lecturers with knowledge spanning diverse disciplines offered contrasting articles or book chapters each week from a different area within music scholarship. From the politics of music analysis to ethical debates within ethnomusicology, I felt my horizons broaden and was filled with the excitement of realising the multiplicity of avenues I could explore. I decided I wanted to complete a doctoral degree, and City provided me the best possible training in research techniques that a student could hope for. Special thanks go to Professor Stephen Cottrell for his wisdom, encouragement and delightful classes!

What did you enjoy most about your course?

All the trimmings! I joined the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and learned how to play daf, and developed my skills as a music producer each week by attending ‘Rick’s Mix Kitchen’ – a Wednesday lunchtime workshop for students with a fetish for mics, mixing desks, EQs, compressors and all manner of recording hardware and software. I also participated in the student-run Audio and Orchestration Lab, and a postgraduate reading group focusing on sexuality and gender in musicology.

Were there any lecturers who particularly inspired you?

Oh so many! I will never forget Dr Laudan Nooshin, Dr Miguel Mera, Dr Ian Pace, Professor Stephen Cottrell, Dr Christopher Wiley... and last but certainly not least, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Dr Shay Loya, whose music analytical skills and mental dexterity are quite simply frightening, and who has the patience of a saint! Each and every one of these lecturers made that year of my life as a master’s student whizz by with terrifying speed! For their understanding and inspiration I am forever grateful.

Do you have any advice for someone who might be considering this course?

Go for it! There are so many hidden treasures in the music department (the binaural microphones being just one.. two?). From joining a new ensemble and performing in the City Summer Sounds Festival, to learning how to mix in surround-sound, or setting up your own student study group, you will not be left wanting!

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.