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    (Original post by angus_mcfisher)
    I'll try and dig out my personal statement and PM you it. May take a few days as I have nooo idea where it is!
    It took a wee bit longer than a few days, but if this is of any help to anyone then great!

    When asked why I have a yearning and a passion to compose and perform Music, it is due to the ability of music itself. Music is such a potent method of communicating with the listeners emotions. If you should listen to Rachmaninovs Ave Maria (Bogoroditsye Devo) - from his Vespers for unaccompanied chorus, it could be defined as a serene, pietistic work of non-secular art, but when one listens to this piece of music you realise that there is much more there that makes all languages mediocre in their ability to express. This entity has the ability to reduce a listener in the concert hall to tears as they listen intently to the salient music and it is exactly this which drew me to the art of composition.

    My love for music was well established at the age of eight when I appreciated the music of Queen. This fascination with the affect music has, not only on myself but on the billions of people before me, inspired me to further my musical development. What is it in that piece of music which makes me experience that sensation?

    Composition was not always my main interest. From the age of 9 I have been having piano tuition. Before I had any grounding in music theory, I began composed ‘sub-consciously’ as I played on the piano. In 2001 and 2003 I entered my high-school’s version of ‘Young Musician of The Year’ and came first both instances in the Piano class, playing pieces I had worked out by ear. I also began learning how to play guitar and bass, and soon joined the Garnock Academy Jazz Band. I am currently working towards Grade 8 Piano and Grade 8 theory.

    My admiration of classical music began when I joined the school and county choir. It wasn’t until we sang Mozarts Requiem in D Minor at Paisley Abbey that I began to appreciate classical music. I now enjoy attending classical recitals regularly.

    After I gained my Standard Grades in Scotland, I moved to Manchester. Within two weeks of moving I had applied for an audition with the Halle Youth Choir. Under the direction of James Burton I have performed with the Halle Youth Choir in concerts in the Bridgewater Hall along with the Halle Choir, the Halle Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in numerous concerts. We have also taken part in concerts in and around Manchester, such as performing in the Schumann festival at the Royal Northern College of Music, and performing an Evensong in Manchester Cathedral. In 2005, the Halle year culminated with a performance of Edward Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the world renowned BBC Proms festival. This proved an excellent experience, and also provided me with a memory and experience I shall never forget.

    I am very assured with using music technology in many aspects – such as in compositions, recording, live performances and more. I am extremely comfortable with Logic Pro, Cubase and Sibelius. In 2006, I joined a local amateur dramatics society do produce the sound for their shows.

    Ever since I was 9 I have composed, although more recently I have been focussing on it much more. I began having lessons with ***** and I feel I have developed a lot not only as a composer but as a musician. Studying at a conservatoire will definitely help me as I seek to fulfil my aim of being a recognised composer, so that I can reproduce that emotion for myself as well as for others.

    I am a keen student who is looking forward to the challenges presented by higher education and university life. Having enjoyed participating in a wide range of extra-curricular activities during my time at school and college, I look forward to continuing these activities at university, where I can pursue my musical ambitions as well as taking an active role in wider academic life.
    Hope this helps,

    Lee
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    (Original post by fiercellama)
    My Head of Music in fact described getting into KCL for music as 'on a par with Oxford'. However, this being the case, I find it odd that KCL don't interview/audition for their music course, and was wondering how on earth they decide who to admit out of the many good applications they receive. I'm guessing that a lot of it is about the personal statement. Anyone got any opinions on this?
    It's just very different. The teaching is necessarily different, because they don't have the funds for one on one tutorials. There are lot of very good academics there, and it is a good old fashioned music course. The main issue is that almost everyone at oxbridge will have had a KCL offer and will have turned it down, whereas very few people in KCL will have had an oxbridge offer. I wonder how that screws with your stats on it being "just as hard as getting into Oxford".

    MB
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    It's weird with Music, seems like almost everyone who applies to Oxford also goes for Manchester and KCL...personally I'd take either over Oxford as they involve more performance and free instrumental lessons (at Oxford I'd be travelling to London every week) and tbh the course looks more to my taste at Mancs/Kings. I see what you mean, MB, in that you're unlikely to get anyone at Oxford who didn't get an offer from KCL, but on the other hand I don't doubt that there will be a few at KCL and Mancs who turned down Oxbridge offers.
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    (Original post by Sunshine =])
    Nice choices
    So far I'm pretty certain on applying for Manc. (but not the joint course..), RHUL and KCL, but I need somewhere that don't require such high grades, just as a security kind of thing. Looking at Bristol soon, pretty sure that's going down too, so it's just number 5..any ideas?

    Assomeone who studies music there, Bristol don't have as good facilities as some of the other universities mntioned in this thread (Durham or Nottingham for instance). Whilst the course has a high level of teaching and excellent content, one thing I've found here is that there just aren't enough pianos to practice on! And the main library isn't amazing either.
    I don't regret coming here, as I love the city of Bristol, but I reckon you could probably do better for Music somewhere else. They might be good to put down as an insurance choice though, as lately they seem to be dishing out offers that they know people can easily meet if they like the look of you.
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    (Original post by musicbloke)
    It's just very different. The teaching is necessarily different, because they don't have the funds for one on one tutorials. There are lot of very good academics there, and it is a good old fashioned music course. The main issue is that almost everyone at oxbridge will have had a KCL offer and will have turned it down, whereas very few people in KCL will have had an oxbridge offer. I wonder how that screws with your stats on it being "just as hard as getting into Oxford".

    MB
    Well, seeing as they weren't MY stats, it doesn't really screw with them at all, actually. I understand the differences between the courses and the fact that KCL is a very good music course and also the fact that most of those with an Oxbridge offer will also have a KCL offer. My question was about the KCL admission process. As it is the most over subscribed music course in the country, or so I have read, it would seem to me sensible to have an admissions process that included more than just looking at the UCAS form (I also have similar thoughts with Manchester), and I was wondering if anybody had any opinions, either similar or different, on the KCL admissions process. It may be that they find the UCAS form perfectly adequate for assessing candidates. To me, if this is the case, I would have thought that the UCAS forms give them a large number of candidates who appear suitable for entry, and so a seemingly random process would need to be used to decide who will get offers and who will not. Personally, I would not use an admissions process like that, although to a certain extent it is inevitable, but I would certainly try to improve upon it. But that is just my opinion, and I am keen to hear others.
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    (Original post by fiercellama)
    Well, seeing as they weren't MY stats, it doesn't really screw with them at all, actually. I understand the differences between the courses and the fact that KCL is a very good music course and also the fact that most of those with an Oxbridge offer will also have a KCL offer. My question was about the KCL admission process. As it is the most over subscribed music course in the country, or so I have read, it would seem to me sensible to have an admissions process that included more than just looking at the UCAS form (I also have similar thoughts with Manchester), and I was wondering if anybody had any opinions, either similar or different, on the KCL admissions process. It may be that they find the UCAS form perfectly adequate for assessing candidates. To me, if this is the case, I would have thought that the UCAS forms give them a large number of candidates who appear suitable for entry, and so a seemingly random process would need to be used to decide who will get offers and who will not. Personally, I would not use an admissions process like that, although to a certain extent it is inevitable, but I would certainly try to improve upon it. But that is just my opinion, and I am keen to hear others.
    It's cheap, and having seen plenty of Music PSes in my time, I can tell you that there are really radical differences. If someone's already familiar with the basics (Dahlhaus etc.) then they'll probably get an offer - surprisingly few people are aged 17.

    MB
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    Disappointed by the number of people not looking at Birmingham!
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    (Original post by musicbloke)
    It's cheap, and having seen plenty of Music PSes in my time, I can tell you that there are really radical differences. If someone's already familiar with the basics (Dahlhaus etc.) then they'll probably get an offer - surprisingly few people are aged 17.

    MB
    Well, if what passed for my academic music education is the general standard around the country then I honestly wouldn't be that surprised. I do believe that the only things I know that will be in anyway useful at university are things that have been self taught. I know that it is expected by unis to have done ones own background reading, independent study e.t.c. but to have been given no starting points from any of my music department and coming from a distinctly unmusical background that has no idea about the likes of Dahlhaus, it has certainly been a challenge. I'm not trying to make excuses for anyone, as I believe that if you truly love the subject you will do the work yourself, but it does seem that music education in schools is severely lacking. Hopefully, that was just my experience of it.
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    (Original post by fiercellama)
    Well, if what passed for my academic music education is the general standard around the country then I honestly wouldn't be that surprised. I do believe that the only things I know that will be in anyway useful at university are things that have been self taught. I know that it is expected by unis to have done ones own background reading, independent study e.t.c. but to have been given no starting points from any of my music department and coming from a distinctly unmusical background that has no idea about the likes of Dahlhaus, it has certainly been a challenge. I'm not trying to make excuses for anyone, as I believe that if you truly love the subject you will do the work yourself, but it does seem that music education in schools is severely lacking. Hopefully, that was just my experience of it.
    Sadly that was my experience too - I went to an inner london comprehensive with absolutely shocking provisions. There was no attempt to introduce any musicology at all. Very depressing. Thankfully I did do my own reading, and if you do need some book recommendations then just send me a PM.

    MB
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    (Original post by musicbloke)
    Sadly that was my experience too - I went to an inner london comprehensive with absolutely shocking provisions. There was no attempt to introduce any musicology at all. Very depressing. Thankfully I did do my own reading, and if you do need some book recommendations then just send me a PM.

    MB
    Cheers. I might take you up on that after I've ploughed through my current material. Whilst it's comforting to know that someone else had that experience too, it's also highly disappointing with regards to the future of music education.
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    Ditto. Any help on where to start on all this extra reading would be useful.
    I actually moved schools to do music, 'cause where I was, wasn't going to run it the year I wanted, and to be honest, I may as well not do it! In fact, it's got to the point, at which I'm buying the course book, with intentions of re-teaching myself what we're 'taught' in class. I've been recommended another book on music history, but anything else would be a godsend.
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    Anyone looking to do Music at Uni, I was told that one of the absolute key books that you must read is 'The Classical Era' by Rosen. Tovey's essays in musical analysis are fairly light too, quite opinionated so be careful, but they're usually 5 or so pages on a particular work, just giving you a brief outline, so it's a great way to gain a general knowledge of major works. Listen to them before you read the corresponding passage though or it makes no sense of course.

    Personally, I tried to pick a few areas I'm interested in (Soviet-era music and modern interpretations of it, the social context of Mozart's operas, orchestration and the development of harmony) and then looked around for the standard textbooks on each of these. I'm working through Lovelock for harmony just because the A level syllabus is so damn boring, reading a biography of Shosi which talks a lot about Politics, a book by Henze called 'Music and Politics', one by Dent called 'Mozart's operas' and two textbooks on orchestration, just noting one by Carse at the mo. Also skipping through the Stravinsky conversation books.

    Have you acually tried approaching teachers about extra reading? Mine didn't say anything to me until I asked them myself. Possibly they assume a lack of interest unless you express it, as so few people care about Music at a high level. Before I asked my teachers I was getting books from my parents, I'm lucky as they're both music teachers.
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    (Original post by bohemian)
    Anyone looking to do Music at Uni, I was told that one of the absolute key books that you must read is 'The Classical Era' by Rosen. Tovey's essays in musical analysis are fairly light too, quite opinionated so be careful, but they're usually 5 or so pages on a particular work, just giving you a brief outline, so it's a great way to gain a general knowledge of major works. Listen to them before you read the corresponding passage though or it makes no sense of course.
    The title of the Rosen book is The Classical Style. It's pretty old-school now, but was really revolutionary in its day. He's written a few books, and they're really not my thing, but probably the most respected is Sonata Forms. That being said, James Hepokoski is bringing out (has brought out???) a new book on sonata forms etc. which looks set to be a classic. In terms of Classical stuff, I would actually recommend Ratner's Classic Music over the Rosen. It's a little more complex, but actually has an argument to it, and he's been one of the most influential analysts in the last 20 years. Tovey is funny, but not hugely rigorous. Occasionally quite useful though.

    (Original post by bohemian)
    Personally, I tried to pick a few areas I'm interested in (Soviet-era music and modern interpretations of it, the social context of Mozart's operas, orchestration and the development of harmony) and then looked around for the standard textbooks on each of these. I'm working through Lovelock for harmony just because the A level syllabus is so damn boring, reading a biography of Shosi which talks a lot about Politics, a book by Henze called 'Music and Politics', one by Dent called 'Mozart's operas' and two textbooks on orchestration, just noting one by Carse at the mo. Also skipping through the Stravinsky conversation books.
    All good stuff. I don't know the Henze, but probably should. If you are interested in the intersection of music and politics I can recommend you some good stuff. As for Shostakovich literature, all I can say is "Beware". You really shouldn't read anything by Solomon Volkov or Ian McDonald etc. These people are lunatics and fantasists, and don't have a ****ing clue what they're on about. The person who is probably most interesting on the matter is Richard Taruskin (probably the most erudite musicologist in the world - can't say I agree with him on everything but he's certainly very very clever). Maybe have a look at his wonderful book Defining Russia Musically if that's the sort of thing that interests you.

    (Original post by bohemian)
    Have you acually tried approaching teachers about extra reading? Mine didn't say anything to me until I asked them myself. Possibly they assume a lack of interest unless you express it, as so few people care about Music at a high level. Before I asked my teachers I was getting books from my parents, I'm lucky as they're both music teachers.
    I think the real issue is that these days you can become a music teacher with pretty much no musicological training. If you do a performance course at uni then a PGCE etc. then you just don't get to know the literature that high end uni departments want their applicants to be aware of.

    MB
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    I don't think anyones mentioned Trinity College of Music. It's been number one for music in the Guardian Education League Tables for the past 3 years
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    Does anyone have any ideas on where I can get a copy of 'Analyzing Opera: Verdi and Wagner' edited by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker that isn't going to cost me the earth? Amazon's price is £44.53 which is a little over my budget, or at least it is until I receive my paycheque...
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    (Original post by fiercellama)
    Does anyone have any ideas on where I can get a copy of 'Analyzing Opera: Verdi and Wagner' edited by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker that isn't going to cost me the earth? Amazon's price is £44.53 which is a little over my budget, or at least it is until I receive my paycheque...
    You prob won't find it much cheaper. Good book though (and roger's a really nice guy).

    MB
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    (Original post by bohemian)
    \ I'm working through Lovelock for harmony.
    If you come to King's, you'll find a rather different approach to harmony to this. We're not allowed to talk about inversions in terms like iib, ic etc. We have to use figured bass. Also, the harmony course is non-stylised in first year, or at least that's the way Roger Parker's teaching it, so you'll find a lack of Bach chorales.
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    (Original post by J'en ai marre)
    If you come to King's, you'll find a rather different approach to harmony to this. We're not allowed to talk about inversions in terms like iib, ic etc. We have to use figured bass. Also, the harmony course is non-stylised in first year, or at least that's the way Roger Parker's teaching it, so you'll find a lack of Bach chorales.
    same in reference to figured bass. however, we've already done Bach chorales, and nearly finished 3-part Palestrinian counterpoint.
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    (Original post by J'en ai marre)
    If you come to King's, you'll find a rather different approach to harmony to this. We're not allowed to talk about inversions in terms like iib, ic etc. We have to use figured bass. Also, the harmony course is non-stylised in first year, or at least that's the way Roger Parker's teaching it, so you'll find a lack of Bach chorales.
    They're making him teach harmony?

    MB
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    (Original post by musicbloke)
    They're making him teach harmony?

    MB
    For the first term, yes. You get the impression that it's not really where his passion lies and I find this non-stylised idea a bit odd. We get assignments like "write a chromatically complex twelve bar piece for keyboard".
 
 
 
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