Kalin discusses all aspects of her Music course

by | Jan 27, 2022 | Arts, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Written by Kalin Lam – Music Student

Hello, my name is Kalin. I am a final year Music student studying at the University of Manchester. I really am enjoying my time here at Manchester because there’s just a lot of different musical ensemble or activities for you to join, and I really have a lot of fun in those ensembles!


For choral music, there are 3 choirs under the Music department : University Chorus, The Cosmo Singers and Ad Solem – I am involved in the University Chorus and The Cosmo Singers this year. For instrumental music, there are also different bands/ensembles you could join, such as, String Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble Big Band, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra… you name it! And you can also startStudents performing at a concert your own ensembles. There are a lot of opportunities for students to perform, for example we have an Opera production each year, you could sign up to perform in master classes, and there are also regular lunchtime concerts you could perform in or just go, listen, and relax.

The Academic Side

In our first year, most of our modules are compulsory, but you get to choose from a few optional modules for semester two. We have modules like Musicology, Instrumental Composition, Electric Acoustic Composition, Solo Performance and some other modules about music analysis and musical notations. We also get taught on how to write footnotes, bibliographies and being trained to have better academic essay writing skills – A Level essays and Uni essays are really different! But don’t worry, the lecturers and tutors will guide you step by step.

In our second year, all our modules are optional, and you really have a lot of different variety of modules to choose from – musicology related modules, composition, solo and ensemble performances, conducting, analysis, Klezmer music, participatory music, etc. I chose solo performance, conducting, two musicology modules called Music Cultures of the World and Music, Cultures, and Politics, as well as a German language course provided by the Language Centre at the University. Last year was slightly different for us, the music department really tried to make everything run as smooth as possible. A lot of the modules got changed because of COVID-19 during my second year, so the modules provided this year onwards might not be the same as the ones I just mentioned- better check the website or always email the music administrator to be accurate!Two girls studying whilst having a cup of tea and chatting

In our third year, we get to choose 1-2 out of the following category: Dissertation, Solo Performance and Composition. They are kind of our final year projects – they are compulsory, and each of them consists 40 credits (120 credits per year). I chose Dissertation, Solo Performance, and two more optional modules.

I think the biggest difference being in third year and the first two year is that we have to be more disciplined this year, because our final year projects really require us to get a lot of work done during our own time, and you don’t really have a lecturer/supervisor there every week to check on your progress – of course you could email them and ask for advice, but you really have to do most of the things on your own. It felt weird at first but I think I’m kind of on track now thanks to my supervisor and teachers’ help.

Three girls smiling at a camera whilst at a music eventI’m really glad to end up in Manchester, not only because the knowledge I’ve gained and the opportunities I’ve been provided; but also because of the people I meet here – our lecturers are very helpful and my course mates are really genuine and kind. I couldn’t think of a better place and people to share my music journey with!