Student Spotlight: Matthew Pinker – MusM Composition (Electroacoustic and Interactive Media)
Why did you choose to study this master’s course at The University of Manchester?
- The facilities – the high-quality multichannel studio spaces were highly appealing.
- The staff – I was familiar with the music of David Berezan and I always resonated with his style, so I felt the way in which he taught composition would be one I could develop my sound with.
- The city itself – the Manchester music and art scene in general is lively as ever and I wanted to be connected to this for events and networking with people.
How much time do you spend in classes and private study?
6 hours per week in lectures and aim for 2-3 hours per day private study.
What has been the highlight of your course so far?
Having a composition of my broadcast live as part of the online Mantis festival. I have played my work in live concerts before but it was interesting to be part of this rare format of event as made necessary by lockdown.
What has been the most challenging part of your course so far?
Having to figure out how to best display a physical sound installation in the virtual realm. This unusual circumstance meant I approached my sound sculpture in a different way than I would have just allowing people to interact with it in person, and transformed it into a hybrid installation/instrument/sound generation tool.
Have you undertaken any fieldwork as part of your course?
Field recording for my compositions has taken me all around Manchester exploring the different sides from under industrial train bridges in the centre to the green peripheral parks.
How would you describe your student experience so far?
Experiencing the societal lockdowns of 2020/21 and stagnancy of life then being there when things reopened and the communal feeling of young people.
What is the best thing about living and studying in the city of Manchester?
All the artistic happenings around the city from live outdoor music to street performance art as part of the Manchester International Festival. Also the diversity of culture – I live near Rusholme and love spending time there trying foods from around the world and hearing music and languages of different cultures.
What kind of accommodation do you live in?
Private house share. Much cheaper than student accommodation, you get a proper house with back yard rather than just a small room, you can choose your energy supplier so more control over price and ethical considerations, you have much more privacy rather than living in a centrally controlled residence block with interfering security etc.
Do you have any tips for future students?
Little and often. Try to do a small amount of work regularly rather than wait and do it all at once. You have much more perspective and space to consider your work. Wander around and speak to people – you never know who you might meet or what you might get into. After a random conversation in a architecture book shop led to a potential collaboration of my final portfolio of composition. Wouldn’t have happened if I was just hiding on my phone not speaking to strangers.
What are your plans for life after graduation?
Create and perform music, do sound design for media. The course gave me technical skills and practical real world simulations such as project pitches to help us in artistic endeavours.