Katherine Stonham

Why did you choose to study Music at The University of Manchester?

Katherine Stonham

At the time of applying, I knew I wanted to study music but was torn between going to a conservatoire or to university. The joint course with Royal Northern College of Music appealed to me because then I could experience what it is like to study music at both institutions and pursue both my performance and academic interests. My first impression was that it was a friendly and supportive department with lots of opportunities on offer. I was also interested in being part of the conducting programme, which is not something you would find on offer for undergraduates at conservatoires.

What has been the highlight of your course?

In my third year, I had the opportunity to perform Mozart’s 5th violin concerto with the university chamber orchestra, directing from the violin. I really enjoyed being able to combine my violin playing and conducting skills working on one of my favourite concertos, which helped me develop both areas simultaneously. One of my other highlights was working on the opera production – the cast and creative team were so much fun to work with and we created an end product that we were all really proud of.

What has been the most challenging part of your course?

Time management is always a challenge for those doing the joint course, but in a way the pressure is helpful because it makes you prioritise. The organisational skills you develop are invaluable for your future career.

Have you undertaken any placements or internships?

In my second year, I took part in the Halle’s adopt-a-player scheme, where four UoM music students shadowed and assisted musicians from the Halle in delivering school workshops. This will definitely help my employability because it’s something that most orchestras and ensembles are doing, and it is good to have on my CV.

Do you have any tips for future students?

I would recommend making the most of all the opportunities that are available because you never know what could end up taking your interest. It can all be incredibly full on, so I would recommend also finding ways of unwinding and looking after yourself before you have to worry about employment.

What are your plans for life after graduation?

My next year will be spent at the RNCM finishing my undergraduate degree. I am looking forward to having more time to focus on my violin playing, auditioning for masterclasses and courses, and playing chamber music. After that, I am hoping to apply for a master’s in conducting, while still finding opportunities to play my violin.