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    Hi Everyone,

    Actually I am thinking of applying Music course either at University of Bristol or University of Birmingham. I achieved grade 8 in Piano, Vocal and Flute, and my major is singing. I have a great interest in performance, but I don't want to go to conservatoires at this moment. Does anyone know which one would be better?
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    Based on my own experiences of Birmingham, I definitely cannot recommend that university for music. I can't say much about Bristol, other than that a particularly unpleasant member of staff from the Birmingham music department now teaches there! If you're serious about both academics and performance, have you thought about Manchester? They do a joint course with the Royal Northern, so you would get the best of both worlds. Even if you didn't get on the joint course, I would have thought that you would have a very good choice of instrumental/vocal teachers in the Manchester area. Also, what about Oxbridge? I know that they're tough going academically, but they offer choral scholarships, so they could be a good option for a singer.
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    (Original post by Metamorphosis646)
    Based on my own experiences of Birmingham, I definitely cannot recommend that university for music. I can't say much about Bristol, other than that a particularly unpleasant member of staff from the Birmingham music department now teaches there! If you're serious about both academics and performance, have you thought about Manchester? They do a joint course with the Royal Northern, so you would get the best of both worlds. Even if you didn't get on the joint course, I would have thought that you would have a very good choice of instrumental/vocal teachers in the Manchester area. Also, what about Oxbridge? I know that they're tough going academically, but they offer choral scholarships, so they could be a good option for a singer.
    Thanks for the reply. Can you give more details about why you cannot recommend birmingham's music course? Is there anything wrong with the course? Or the tutors?

    A Bristol staff from Birmingham? Who is he/she?

    Well I went to Manchester before, and don't like the city at all...
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    I wouldn't let the city be the main deciding factor as to whether you go somewhere or not. First impressions can be deceptive- when I went to the Birmingham open day I was swayed by the impression of the campus, something which I regret now. Much as I would like to name names, I fear I will get into trouble on here if I do so- suffice to say that the member of staff I was referring to is older (he must be in his 50s now, if not his 60s).

    One of the main reasons that I didn't like Birmingham was that I thought it was a bit of a con - the handbook made it look as if there were all these interesting modules you could do, when in reality you don't receive that much tuition (particularly in final year). They also haven't changed most of the modules they offer for years, which IMO is pretty lazy and reflects them being more interested in getting on with their research rather than providing the optimum experience for students. One of the main things I didn't like about the tutors was that some of them clearly had favourite students, particularly in performance and composition, which meant that they would encourage them by giving them opportunities to perform/have their compositions performed which other students didn't get. If you really want to go there of course it's up to you, but I am just saying how disappointed and misled I felt by it all. If you want to go to a traditional university, how about Newcastle or Sheffield? Although it's not a traditional university, Huddersfield is supposed to be quite good for people who are interested in performance- when I did my PGCE, there were several performers (including a singer) who had been there.
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    I went to Birmingham and I agree with the previous poster. The options aren't all that, you don't get much tuition, and some of the lecturers are pretty difficult to deal with. I know exactly which person the PP is referring to, and he - in my experience - was one of the less difficult lecturers.

    The performance standard at Birmingham wasn't that high in my opinion, and because it's a large uni you're competing with non-music students (many of whom are more accomplished than music students) for places in a lot of the ensembles.

    If you want to take performance seriously at uni, I wouldn't recommend Birmingham.

    If you're an academic person, would you consider going to a uni with a strong musical tradition (such as Durham) and studying something other than music? For what it's worth, that's what I wish I'd done.
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    (Original post by Metamorphosis646)
    Based on my own experiences of Birmingham, I definitely cannot recommend that university for music. I can't say much about Bristol, other than that a particularly unpleasant member of staff from the Birmingham music department now teaches there! If you're serious about both academics and performance, have you thought about Manchester? They do a joint course with the Royal Northern, so you would get the best of both worlds. Even if you didn't get on the joint course, I would have thought that you would have a very good choice of instrumental/vocal teachers in the Manchester area. Also, what about Oxbridge? I know that they're tough going academically, but they offer choral scholarships, so they could be a good option for a singer.
    (Original post by bluecastle)
    I went to Birmingham and I agree with the previous poster. The options aren't all that, you don't get much tuition, and some of the lecturers are pretty difficult to deal with. I know exactly which person the PP is referring to, and he - in my experience - was one of the less difficult lecturers.

    The performance standard at Birmingham wasn't that high in my opinion, and because it's a large uni you're competing with non-music students (many of whom are more accomplished than music students) for places in a lot of the ensembles.

    If you want to take performance seriously at uni, I wouldn't recommend Birmingham.

    If you're an academic person, would you consider going to a uni with a strong musical tradition (such as Durham) and studying something other than music? For what it's worth, that's what I wish I'd done.

    Hi all, this is the first time I've seen anything like you've been saying about Brum. Like the OP I've been considering the university for music, and whilst I know you shouldn't get swayed by the new s****y music facilities they had on offer, the head of their music department told me when speaking to her that one of the reasons they were given that location for uni development was because it was one of the 'highest performing' faculties at the uni. Surely if there were this many unhappy people, it wouldn't be performing as well as it is?

    Also are there no redeeming features about the course or was it simply all that negative, and one to just completely avoid?
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    As far as I am concerned it really is as bad as that- when I think of all the other things I could have done instead (either gone elsewhere to do music or done a degree in another subject) I greatly regret having done music there. As for the head of department claiming it is one of the 'highest performing' faculties, she would say that, wouldn't she? In any case that's a rather vague statement to make, as it could mean anything. You might be interested to know that the impressive new concert hall at the university was actually funded by Terry Bramall, a millionaire Civil Engineering graduate of the university- it's quite common for very well off people to seek to fund prominent buildings, as it gives them a sense of prestige. Whilst it's nice for the university to have it, I wouldn't be swayed by something like that. Initial impressions of somewhere can be deceptive; when I attended an open day there, we were shown around by a particularly charismatic student who made the course sound much better than it turned out to be. As bluecastle has said, the course modules really aren't 'all that'- they really have had the same ones on offer for years, and the amount of hours tuition received is nowhere near enough.
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    I would be interested to know how the head of music defines 'highest performing'.

    The possible features of the course are the fact that you can combine music with other subjects - this was quite unusual when I studied at Bham and the main reason I chose it - and the specialist knowledge you can tap into if you're in a small seminar group in your final year. It helps if you actually have a tutor, which I didn't.

    The city is also great for culture: there is pretty much anything you want going on. I found my best musical experiences outside the music dept and I remember them fondly, but I wouldn't get into debt for them.

    I think you have to be very proactive, play a less popular instrument, get a lot of work experience and be willing to look outside the music department if you want to derive real benefit from this course.
 
 
 
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