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Emilie Parry-Williams

Music

“If you are looking to get conservatoire level education, with more support and more academic choices and topics to study, this course is for you."

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

Currently I am about to complete a 3-month Erasmus (in December) at the European Opera Academy in Florence, and I am also freelance singing and teaching a couple of students from my home in Wales. I have been in Florence for 3 months after gaining a place to study at Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini.

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

I decided to study on the City University BMUS programme for three primary reasons:

the course had a wide variation of music modules to choose from, I could use classical singing as my principle study, and also the singing tuition is outsourced to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, so I could get a university education with conservatoire vocal tuition, and this really appealed to me.

Attending City University was easily one of the best decisions I ever made in my life; not only did I learn an enormous amount during my 3-year degree, but I feel I developed and improved immeasurably as both a singer and musician.

My confidence grew whilst at City, I was given lots of support from my head of department and personal tutor, as well as the lead tutors of the various modules I chose; they were always happy to help if you had any questions or needed any extra feedback or support. The resources at City University are particularly impressive, and it was easy to book and use any equipment during my studies. The department is extremely welcoming, and I really felt like I was valued and ‘belonged’ in the Music department during my studies.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

Mostly I enjoyed being a member of the department Chamber Choir, and also the Global Popular Music module. I also loved the singing tuition through the Guildhall and studying classical singing as one of my Major Projects in my final year.

In Chamber choir I was given the opportunity to sing solo in several of the concerts throughout the 3 years, and Tim the choir leader taught me a lot about choral singing.

Were there any lecturers who particularly inspired you?

Laudan, the head of department was particularly inspiring, as she could not do enough for her students or the department as a whole, and this really showed.

Funding was a particular struggle for me during my time in London, and I applied for several scholarships and bursaries to help with my living and tuition costs; whenever I needed a reference, both Laudan and my Personal Tutor, Shay Loya, could not be more helpful and wrote several references for me, because of which I was awarded several scholarships during my degree, (one being the fantastic Sekforde Trust Scholarship), which had a huge impact on my overall experience and stress levels during studying. I will be forever grateful to both of them for this.

Also, I learned a lot in the lectures that were run by Stephen Wilford, and he was also a tutor that was always more than willing to answer and questions and give advice / guidance on essays and coursework.

Upon arriving at City I was not a very confident musician in terms of music theory, but I liked writing songs; the support and tuition I received from Aaron Einbond in our various composition classes throughout the degree, helped me improve so much that I chose to take Composition as a Major project in my third year, as well as Major Project in singing. I would never have thought when I arrived at City that I would improve to a level that I could submit my own written music for various instruments, and this is reflective of just how much one person can achieve when they have a tutor such as Aaron, that is willing to support and inspire you.

What are your long-term career plans?

As long as I can sing, and support myself as a singer, I will be happy. The overall long-term goal is to be employed within an opera company, however I am really enjoying freelancing at the moment. I have just finished my postgraduate diploma at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and am soon to complete my Erasmus in Florence, so I am looking forward to 2020 and whatever it has to offer now that I will be out of education!

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

If you are looking to get conservatoire level principle study education, with more support and more academic choices and topics to study, this course is for you. I could not recommend City University Music Department enough. I really don’t think I would be where I am today if I had gone to a different institution, and the level of academic education is considerably higher than you’d get in a UK Conservatoire. I will always treasure the friends I made, the experience I had, and the education I received from City University, and graduated with a first-class music degree, which is one of my most cherished achievements.

Emilie Parry-Williams