Emma Smellie: My Five Favourite Things About Studying Music at Birmingham

Emma Smellie is an undergraduate BMus Music student. Here she tells us her five favourite things about studying Music at the University of Birmingham.

Written by Emma Smellie

Headshot of Emma smiling, she has curly red hair and is earing a black jumper.

1. The amazing teachers that you get to work with.

All the lecturers that are in the department are truly inspirational. They really care about your studies and are happy to work with you in their office hours. As well as this each individual performance teachers are encouraging so helpful in expanding your study and repertoire.

2. The amazing facilities that you can use

The Bramall Music building is an amazing place to hone your study. It includes a 420-seater concert hall which is stunning, as well as a Dome rehearsal space where Beast concerts can take place. As well as this we have lovely practise rooms in the Frankland Building where we can train.

3. The Diversity of the course

There are two main areas to this point. One is that there are many areas of music that you can study. For example, in second year and third year there are modules such as Jazz or Wagner to Music Festivals.
As well as this there are many skills that are available to study. In first year, you study electro – acoustic music composition as well as traditional paper composition as well as harmony and performance and history modules in which you write essays. Then in second year there is the addition of new skills such as orchestration and conducting. Each allows you to pick up an array of skills, lots of which would not be available in other subjects.

4. The amazing extra- curricular activities that are available

In my first year, I was able to take part in many clubs. For example, 200 singers from UoB took part in the CBSO’s performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony. Whether you are a singer or an instrumentalist (or both), there are many clubs for you to take part in.

5. The people you meet

I think it is extraordinary the people that you can meet. Each person has a different story to tell about how they accessed music or what they like to specialise in. Being such a small course (about 60-70 people) you can get a chance to know everyone. As well as this we have family system in which you can meet second or third years as a fresher to support you through your time at university.