Zoe Kundu

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

Zoe Kundu

I chose to study the joint course because I could not decide whether to go to university or conservatoire, so to have the opportunity to study at both types of institution seemed like an amazing opportunity. I loved the ethos of The University of Manchester on the open day, and the variety offered by the academic music degree. The music society seemed to have lots of different opportunities on offer, including conducting and outreach opportunities which I wanted to get involved in.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

The highlight has been designing a project for children with additional needs as part of the Participatory Music module. It was great being able to draw on expertise from guest lecturers in different fields of outreach music to think about what the children would most enjoy, and the many different considerations that need to be made when designing this type of project.

Have you undertaken any placements or internships?

I took a UCIL module in teaching, which involved a 10-week placement for half a day a week in a primary school. I loved getting to know the children and running some of the music lessons. I also helped on the Hallé’s ‘Adopt-a-player’ scheme, working with a member of the Hallé to deliver a series of creative workshops at a school, inspired by a concert at the Bridgewater Hall which we took the children to see. It was great to work alongside someone with so much experience in the profession. Teaching experience is invaluable for any musician, as is experience in leading workshops, so these placement opportunities were incredibly useful for developing professional skills.

How would you describe your student experience so far?

Very busy! There are so many things to get involved with that it has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it has certainly been very exciting and varied, with many opportunities I would not have dreamt of before coming to university.

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

I love that the university has so many connections with the city itself and does not just exist its own bubble – it is great to be able to contextualise our studies and be inspired by such a variety of performances in the city. £3 student tickets to Bridgewater Hall are definitely a win.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

I am very involved in both the music society and musical theatre societies at the university. I have had huge amounts of fun both playing in and conducting various orchestras and pit bands with the two societies, and they are a great way to make friends and enjoy music in a more relaxed way. As an outreach manager for the music society, I have coordinated the primary school choirs outreach programme, and it is so rewarding to give children from a range of schools and backgrounds a chance to enjoy music, many of them for the first time. It is also a great way to develop leadership skills and work out how to teach songs from scratch.

What are your plans for life after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to be a primary school teacher. Incorporating music into education is hugely beneficial for improving numeracy and literacy rates, as well as wellbeing, and the leadership and workshop experience I have gained through my degree has been invaluable for showing me how music can be used in educational settings.