Best music college for non musicians

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Bassboydave
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Hi

Bit if an odd one here!

Im applying later this year to study engineering and am considering both Oxford and Cambridge.

My main worry is that Im passionate about my double bass, no really, and would want to have it with me. Obvs this is quite literally a big deal and as its very unlikely I would have a car need to be near the music scene, or preferably right on top of it.

So do any colleges have their own orchestras please?

And by that I mean ones with 'normal' people not those studying music as a career - I have grade 8 but am by no means a professional musician so have probably dismissed the university orchestra for this reason, let alone the logistics of moving my bass around the city.

Thanks
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Doones
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Hi

Bit if an odd one here!

Im applying later this year to study engineering and am considering both Oxford and Cambridge.

My main worry is that Im passionate about my double bass, no really, and would want to have it with me. Obvs this is quite literally a big deal and as its very unlikely I would have a car need to be near the music scene, or preferably right on top of it.

So do any colleges have their own orchestras please?

And by that I mean ones with 'normal' people not those studying music as a career - I have grade 8 but am by no means a professional musician so have probably dismissed the university orchestra for this reason, let alone the logistics of moving my bass around the city.

Thanks
Tagging The_Lonely_Goatherd for impressions of music provisions at Oxford.

vincrows for Cambridge
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Hi

Bit if an odd one here!

Im applying later this year to study engineering and am considering both Oxford and Cambridge.

My main worry is that Im passionate about my double bass, no really, and would want to have it with me. Obvs this is quite literally a big deal and as its very unlikely I would have a car need to be near the music scene, or preferably right on top of it.

So do any colleges have their own orchestras please?

And by that I mean ones with 'normal' people not those studying music as a career - I have grade 8 but am by no means a professional musician so have probably dismissed the university orchestra for this reason, let alone the logistics of moving my bass around the city.

Thanks
Hi!

In Oxford every college has either its own orchestra, or joins up with a nearby college to form a joint college orchestra (e.g. I think St John's and St Anne's have a joint orchestra). These orchestras are non-auditioning so vary in standard, but have a good mix of musos and non-musos. When I was a conductor, we had the music students, of course, but also languages, English Lit, and indeed engineering too! What college orchestras perform really varies but as a string player you'd wanna be around Grade 7 standard for most orchestras, so you'd be fine!

There are various uni-wide orchestras, almost all of which are auditioning. These tend to have musos as the section leads, but there are non-musos in those orchestras too! I can see that carrying a double bass around the city could prove tiresome. There is an instrument store cupboard in the Oxford Faculty of Music (where I think most of the uni-wide orchestras rehearse) where (with prior arrangement and permission) you may be able to store your double bass, even though you're not a music student - you would have to double-check about this. Though if you then wanted to practice solo pieces in your room, that would involve moving it back again, hmmm...

It's worth bearing in mind that as a double bass player, you would be in demand and if you have friends in other colleges with musical connections, you might be asked to play in their orchestras just for their concerts, as a favour to them. This does happen a lot with the so-called "endangered" instruments!

Hope this helps assure you a bit! :musicus:
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Hi

Bit if an odd one here!

Im applying later this year to study engineering and am considering both Oxford and Cambridge.

My main worry is that Im passionate about my double bass, no really, and would want to have it with me. Obvs this is quite literally a big deal and as its very unlikely I would have a car need to be near the music scene, or preferably right on top of it.

So do any colleges have their own orchestras please?

And by that I mean ones with 'normal' people not those studying music as a career - I have grade 8 but am by no means a professional musician so have probably dismissed the university orchestra for this reason, let alone the logistics of moving my bass around the city.

Thanks
Cambridge: I would *not* recommend my college Homerton if you want a permanent orchestra, because ours only rehearses a couple of times just before end-of-term concerts. I wouldn't completely disqualify the university orchestra(s); I think there are quite a few different ones, so even if you can't get in the best one you might get in one of the others (especially since you play bass since presumably that is in quite high demand). I'm not too sure though, I don't know that much about the classical music scene. I get the impression that most colleges either have an orchestra themselves or have one combined with others, but I don't know how much they vary in quality.
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username1865079
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(Original post by jneill)
Tagging The_Lonely_Goatherd for impressions of music provisions at Oxford.

vincrows for Cambridge
No college at Cambridge has enough musicians to form their own orchestra. The only a-sort-of-college based orchestra I know is Orchestra on the Hill, which is organised by several colleges (Hill colleges like Churchill. Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards plus some colleges in west off-town colleges like Selwyn, Robinson, Girton (i think.....).

But all colleges claim they have active music scenes of all kinds, and in most cases they do. Also there're more than few music related societies at uni, so you can choose the one that fits you. Also, it seems there are lots of more casual, non-society based activities (recitals, concerts, etc) are happening Occasionally that are organised by a few enthusiastic musicians who are good at organising things.
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Doones
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(Original post by vincrows)
No college at Cambridge has enough musicians to form their own orchestra. The only a-sort-of-college based orchestra I know is Orchestra on the Hill, which is organised by several colleges (Hill colleges like Churchill. Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards plus some colleges in west off-town colleges like Selwyn, Robinson, Girton (i think.....).

But all colleges claim they have active music scenes of all kinds, and in most cases they do. Also there're more than few music related societies at uni, so you can choose the one that fits you. Also, it seems there are lots of more casual, non-society based activities (recitals, concerts, etc) are happening Occasionally that are organised by a few enthusiastic musicians who are good at organising things.
Trinity has a chamber orchestra, perhaps others do too?

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username1865079
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(Original post by jneill)
Trinity has a chamber orchestra, perhaps others do too?

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I think most colleges have chamber music group/s and quartet, etc, as they're much easier to form. (Much smaller number of musicians are needed)
But a full size orchestra is not easy......

Unofficial music scenes are quite fluid there as it'd depend on who happen to be there & what instrument they play.
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by vincrows)
No college at Cambridge has enough musicians to form their own orchestra. The only a-sort-of-college based orchestra I know is Orchestra on the Hill, which is organised by several colleges (Hill colleges like Churchill. Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards plus some colleges in west off-town colleges like Selwyn, Robinson, Girton (i think.....).

But all colleges claim they have active music scenes of all kinds, and in most cases they do. Also there're more than few music related societies at uni, so you can choose the one that fits you. Also, it seems there are lots of more casual, non-society based activities (recitals, concerts, etc) are happening Occasionally that are organised by a few enthusiastic musicians who are good at organising things.
I believe there's a joint Darwin-Catz orchestra (based on a vague memory of a poster I saw while in Darwin for a supervision). Homerton does attempt to from an orchestra for end-of-term concerts, but it is pretty lacking in members (and Homerton is one of the bigger colleges).
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Doones
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Just to add to the musical mix:
Sidney Sussex
http://www.sscms.co.uk/ensembles

It's also probably worth asking the JCRs at each college to see what the, er, score is... and/or CUMS (http://www.cums.org.uk)

As Vincrows indicated - it will be pretty fluid.
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username1865079
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Hi

Bit if an odd one here!

Im applying later this year to study engineering and am considering both Oxford and Cambridge.

My main worry is that Im passionate about my double bass, no really, and would want to have it with me. Obvs this is quite literally a big deal and as its very unlikely I would have a car need to be near the music scene, or preferably right on top of it.

So do any colleges have their own orchestras please?

And by that I mean ones with 'normal' people not those studying music as a career - I have grade 8 but am by no means a professional musician so have probably dismissed the university orchestra for this reason, let alone the logistics of moving my bass around the city.

Thanks
Lol just noticed now OP plays the double bass.
So it's much better they can do it at their own college then.

Well, OP, all colleges at Cambridge has their own music society/societies of various sorts in genre/type, size, regularity of activities. So I'm sure you'll find something you can be part of. Once you join one/some of them, you often find ways to get to know other musicians at other colleges as musicians often collaborate with each other to form a group/ensemble when they want on more casual basis than established societies.
Perhaps you can use your double bass as a justifiable reason for practicing/performing at your college if you get involved with those casual groups.

But bear in mind you don't always live on a college's main site. It's much more likely your accommodation will be off main site in some years during your course. And I'm not sure if all colleges offer a storage room for musical instrument for individual musicians, so you may as well have to carry your bass from your accommodation to wherever you're playing anyway.
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Bassboydave
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Thanks everyone - I feel a bit better informed now

The thing is that both orchestral music and engineering are my passions and I wouldnt wish to be without my bass at university

Regrettably its very awkward to actually carry anywhere and I really wont have a car so I'll digest all the replies so far.

I appreciate it will end up as a compromise and any further suggestions on which colleges to look at would be very much appreciated.

David
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Doones
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Thanks everyone - I feel a bit better informed now

The thing is that both orchestral music and engineering are my passions and I wouldnt wish to be without my bass at university

Regrettably its very awkward to actually carry anywhere and I really wont have a car so I'll digest all the replies so far.

I appreciate it will end up as a compromise and any further suggestions on which colleges to look at would be very much appreciated.

David
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Bassboydave
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(Original post by jneill)
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Yes of course, but it would be nice to have a narrower field to research when I do
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username1865079
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(Original post by Bassboydave)
Yes of course, but it would be nice to have a narrower field to research when I do
Info you can get from Internet forum like this can be really limited and sometimes biased.
If you want to be sure, try sending emails to colleges (admission office and JCR) to get more detailed and correct info.
Also, bear in mind there's always a possibility you end up at a college you didn't apply to. Both Oxford and Cambridge has a system in their application assessment that allows them to ensure they get most able candidates no matter which college they first apply to.

In case you end up with not quite ideal situation (like no storage for music instrument, off-main site college accommodation. etc), Cambridge is much smaller city than Oxford if you have to drag around your d-bass case with wheel! (And unlike Oxford, all colleges guarantee college accommodation for 3/4 years)
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username1865079
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(Original post by sweeneyrod)
I believe there's a joint Darwin-Catz orchestra (based on a vague memory of a poster I saw while in Darwin for a supervision). Homerton does attempt to from an orchestra for end-of-term concerts, but it is pretty lacking in members (and Homerton is one of the bigger colleges).
don't know about this particular one, but collaboration between multiple-colleges are happening constantly. Some of them are just one-off, some are regular.
Because of how music/musician are and how they can/can't form and perform, off-society music scenes at Cambridge is quite fluid.
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Helenia
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(Original post by vincrows)
No college at Cambridge has enough musicians to form their own orchestra. The only a-sort-of-college based orchestra I know is Orchestra on the Hill, which is organised by several colleges (Hill colleges like Churchill. Fitzwilliam, Murray Edwards plus some colleges in west off-town colleges like Selwyn, Robinson, Girton (i think.....).

But all colleges claim they have active music scenes of all kinds, and in most cases they do. Also there're more than few music related societies at uni, so you can choose the one that fits you. Also, it seems there are lots of more casual, non-society based activities (recitals, concerts, etc) are happening Occasionally that are organised by a few enthusiastic musicians who are good at organising things.
Clare could put together a full orchestra back in my day - they had enough cellists that they didn't need me with my measly grade 7! Looks like they're still going pretty strong. I would definitely recommend Clare if you're a decent classical musician, though had plenty of friends at other colleges who also did lots of musical things. They also arrange the accommodation so instrument-players are all housed together in first year, to save everyone else's ears! http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/CCMS/
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