• Personal Statement:Music 10

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Music Personal Statement

I consider music to be a lifelong adventure, an infinite possibility of combinations to discover and delight. The more I learn about music, the more I appreciate the enormous variety and breadth of our Western Classical tradition. Like many, these interests originated from a love of performance, which over time introduced me to the academic side of music.

I particularly enjoy researching areas in depth; my greatest interest lies in Romantic and 20th Century music, in particular Berlioz after reading his Memoirs. As a member of Seminar Society, as well as attending talks on a wide range of topics, I gave a seminar on his life and the reception of his music. This included arguments for and against Programme Music, thus broadening my knowledge of this area.

‘Dr Faustus’ by Thomas Mann, although based on Schoenberg, also links with Programme Music due to its Romantic ideas. The concepts of serialism and other 20th Century music, along with the evolution of music throughout history interest me after being introduced to the world of 20th Century music through a performance of Strauss’ ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’. Similarly ‘The Rest Is Noise’ by Alex Ross gave me a fascinating overview, but also led me to consider music in a deeper way, as a very personal and creative art form as well as a language with which to communicate emotion. This more philosophical way of thinking also grew from reading Nicholas Cook’s ‘Music: A Very Short Introduction’ which introduced me to a host of new ideas, including considering the role that music plays in society.

I enjoy the challenges of verbalising musical concepts. In my essay entitled “What Is Musical Genius?” for which I received a certificate of commendation in the Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge music essay competition, I examined the definition and common usage of ‘genius’, using the examples of Mozart and Paravicini.

Being a music scholar has enabled me to pursue the creativity and interpretation of musical language by performance, analysis and composition. Composition is deeply personal, I recently wrote and rehearsed a Piano Quintet, but also enjoy composition outside of school. In addition it is beneficial to compose in the style of others and analyse their music to gain a deeper understanding into compositional techniques, similarly in harmonizing Bach Chorales and Schubert Lieder.

I am a dedicated and enthusiastic member of many ensembles; I sing in the award winning Vocal Ensemble; we were semi-finalists in the Songs of Praise Choir of the Year Competition 2010 and 2011, and winners of the Barnardo’s Choir of the Year 2011. I play in Senior Saxophone Quartet, and we were finalists of the Pro Corda chamber music competition 2010. I play first clarinet in the local Youth Orchestra, Concert Band and Clarinet Quartet.

I have also performed as a soloist and accompanist; on our school music tour to Tuscany I sang a solo in Pergolesi’s ‘Stabat Mater’, and have sung solo in the Royal Albert Hall. I am currently working towards dipABRSM on the recorder, the programme for which ranges from Bach to Gordon Jacob. Playing in ensembles and performing has greatly increased my confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. My knowledge of music has also increased due to the variety of repertoire I perform, enhanced by regular concert and opera attendances.

Studying Biology and Geography compliment my musical studies with their scientific nature by providing transferable skills such as analysis, research, and essay writing skills. My commitments mean that organisation and time management are vital. I am able to balance time spent doing the musical activities and research I enjoy with my other academic studies, whilst still maintaining a meticulously high standard, all of which will become increasingly important. By studying music I hope to discover a stimulating array of endless information to satisfy my constant need for knowledge, which will lead into the future as I wish to pursue a career in academia.

Universities Applied to:

  • University of Cambridge (Christ's College) (Music W300) - Offer (A*AA) Firm
  • King's College London (Music W302) - Offer (A*AA)
  • Durham University (Music W300) - Offer (AAB) Insurance
  • Bristol University (Music W300) - Offer (ABB)
  • Cardiff University (Music W302) - Offer (AAB)

Grades Achieved:

  • Music (A2) - Grade A*
  • Biology (A2) - Grade A*
  • Geography (A2) - Grade A
  • Physics (AS) - Grade A


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