Freya is a final-year BA Music and Drama student at Manchester. She shares her experience of the course, the activities she is involved with outside of her studies, and her plans for after graduation.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I am very much preparing for the final push towards the end of my degree, which is a terrifying (but very exciting) thought. In my studies, I am currently researching and writing my dissertation, which will discuss the similarities between a physically-based approach to actor training, and a cognitive neuroscientific approach. It is a fascinating topic that I have really enjoyed exploring. I am also working towards my final vocal recital. In third year, recitals last 30 minutes, and for this one I’ve decided to explore the theme of ‘Divas’, so will be singing some infamously hard music. Learning and perfecting my programme has been a really rewarding challenge.
My main extra-curricular activity at the moment is the music society’s opera, which this year is Jonathan Dove’s “The Enchanted Pig”. The whole production is student-run, so it has been an immense amount of work, but it is coming together incredibly well. I am also the manager of The Cosmo Singers, one of The University’s main chamber choirs, and I sing in Ad Solem, another chamber choir, both of which are preparing for their penultimate concerts of the year before we head on tour to Belgium in the summer. It will be a crazy semester, but it’s definitely worth making the most of everything before I leave.
What are your plans for the six months after graduation?
After graduating, I will be moving to London. I would ultimately love to do a vocal masters course at a conservatoire, but I need to take some time for my voice to develop properly. Therefore, I have a job lined up doing admissions administration at a school in West London, which will enable me to pursue freelance singing and continue with singing lessons. This year I took part in a module run by the company TiPP, which takes theatre workshops into prisons. It was the most rewarding experience and because of that, I would love to continue doing outreach work in music or drama, or both. It’s so important to get as many people as possible involved in participatory arts, as I’ve seen first-hand how it can change lives.
What discoveries have you made during your time here?
Mostly I have discovered what it is that really makes me want to get out of bed in the morning and what I would really love to do with my life, and that is helping others realise the power of the creative arts. I have also learnt how to be organised (for the most part!) and how important it is to treat people with kindness and respect - a smile and a friendly chat will get you a long way. I have learnt to not stress over the little things that inevitably go wrong when you are juggling so much at once, and that it’s important to take time out when you need it: catching the flu because you are overworking, stressed and burnt out is not a good thing.
What memories will you cherish most from your time in the Music department?
The friends that I have made here and the times we’ve had together are the things I will cherish the most when I leave university. And I wouldn’t have made such close friends had it not been for the extra-curricular activities that are on offer. Everything on offer enables you to meet new and interesting people who are like-minded and wonderful, and I will miss being in rooms with the most talented artists and creative people I’ve ever met.