Robert SherwoodMusic BMus (Hons)
Robert chose City because he wanted to tailor his degree to personal interests and strengths.
Why did you choose to study a BMus (Hons) Music degree?
I decided to do a BMus because whilst I love to perform and am striving to get better at my instrument, I am equally interested in the academic side of music too. Music analysis and history and music theory are just a few aspects that interest me, so a BMus degree was the obvious choice.
Why did you choose to study at City?
My initial reason for being attracted to City was its central London location. For any musician this is seen as a positive as the music scene in London is so vibrant and diverse and I wanted to be a part of it. However, after visiting the university on Open Days my reasons for choosing City became apparent to me. I was simply bowled over by the department and its music facilities. Not only its newly built performance space, recording studios and practice rooms, but the enthusiasm of the staff here was inspiring. What really clinched it for me however was the huge range of subject areas that are included in the programme and the flexibility you have to choose which modules you take and so tailor your degree to your personal interests and strengths. As well as this, I learned that by studying at City you are entitled to Guildhall School of Music and Drama performance lessons and so then I knew that I wanted to study Music at City.
What was your favourite topic within the programme?
My favourite topic was the 'Sound recording & studio techniques' module because it is an area of study that I have always had much interest in but have not had much chance to learn about properly. As well as this, I would like to become a session musician eventually and so if I am more aware of what goes on from the studio engineer's point of view, this can only help to inform and improve my performance as a session player. Another favourite of mine has to be the 'Historical performance practice' module. This module was fascinating as it opened my eyes to the limits of historical evidence and the challenges this poses. It also enriched my knowledge of the origins of modern musical instruments and what has influenced modern instrumental techniques and practices.
What was the best thing about studying in central London?
It has to be the access you have to world class academic resources such as the British Library which are all simply a bus or tube ride away.
What has been your greatest achievement during your time at City?
A big achievement for me was to get a first in both first and second years. Personally though, I feel my biggest achievement is getting 78% [a high first] in my jazz performance recital. Two years ago, I was fairly new to jazz and couldn't have imagined ever playing jazz to degree level. My grade just confirms the vast improvements in my playing that myself and my teacher have noticed over the last two years.
If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective City BMus student, what would it be?
I would advise that City is a great place to study music but like any university, you get out of it what you put in. So, as long as you're ready to get stuck in and involve yourself in the programme, studying at City will take you to where you want to be and beyond.