Ryan Woods

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

Ryan Woods

It was simply a feeling I got when I attended my interview here. It struck me as a vibrant happening place. When I applied to my undergrad at I knew the music course was ranked one of the best in the country. It was the three-part focus - musicology, composition, and performance - that really attracted me. I was keen to develop a well-rounded knowledge without having to specialise too early.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

Having moved onto the Electroacoustic Composition master’s course I would have to say the MANTIS electroacoustic festivals are a definite highlight. Diffusing your compositions onto 46 surround speakers is a pretty thrilling experience.

Have you undertaken any placements or internships?

In my second year, I spent a semester at the University of Calgary in Canada on the study abroad programme. This was an amazing opportunity which, for all its trials, I can’t recommend enough. Traveling half way round the world and arriving back in one piece, you learn things that can’t be put on any curriculum.

What subject areas are you interested in?

Currently, I am exploring issues of acoustic ecology in my sound, art and soundscape compositions. I am also very interested in the use of music in protest movements, and music and wellbeing.

What is the best thing about living and studying in the city of Manchester?

There is so much going on. The history and culture to be found here are so rich. Despite it being a bustling city, I still very much feel part of a community - I rarely walk down Oxford Road without bumping into someone I know.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

As well as all the orchestras and ensembles, I was part of the Music Societies outreach group during my undergrad and set up a project taking students into care homes to run singing sessions. For a while I volunteered with Special Virtuoso over at the RNCM. I am involved in environmental societies such as People & Planet and have been the Ethics and Environmental Part-Time Officer at the students union for two years now. I can’t recommend doing extracurricular activities enough. It is easy to get stuck in the music department and getting involved in things outside of this can help give you some perspective - and it’s good for the CV!

Do you have any tips for future students who are?

Dive in! Take hold of every opportunity and grab a taste of all the different things that your time at Manchester will have to offer.

What are your plans for life after graduation?

I am so thankful to have studied Music. I have developed my creative skillset and learned to think critically about the world around me. Both skills that will inform most aspects of the rest of my life. After graduation from my master’s I will take some time off from studying and pursue work and experience in community/participatory music. I hope to carry on doing sound art on the side. I’m considering studying music therapy in the future.