When and what did you study in Leeds?
Firstly, I did an Academic Internship in the School of Music from August to September 2013, followed by my Erasmus Exchange from September 2014 to March 2015. I then returned to Leeds to study my MA in Music and Management from September 2015 to September 2016.
The first time I came to the University of Leeds was as part of an internship I did in 2013 at the School of Music, working with a variety of projects. I was a musicology and arts management student from Germany and I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar. Luckily my home university has an Erasmus+ agreement with the University of Leeds, which gave me the opportunity to return to Leeds to complete a semester studying Musicology in 2014/15.
What made you return to Leeds for postgraduate study?
My studies at the School of Music enriched my Leeds experience even more as I had the chance to participate in new and exciting modules, such as film music, which I couldn’t do at my home university. The other students and lecturers were all incredibly supportive and made me feel part of the course. After all the positive experiences I made during the Erasmus term, I felt confident enough to apply for a Master’s degree. I had great support from all staff and fellow students and as I had already written essays in English and as communication became a proper routine, I couldn’t wait to come back to Leeds!
Arts Management courses in Germany tend to be very academic in a mainly theoretical sense. The MA Music and Management in Leeds offered a practical approach which enabled me to try out projects on my own. In my opinion this is more valuable in respect to future job perspectives that possibly require rather practical working experience.
What was your favourite thing about Leeds?
I found the vibrancy of Leeds inspiring, as I grew up in the countryside. I loved all the possibilities that being in a big city offered. There were great places on campus where I met students who were in the same boat as me. The openness, kindness and hospitality of everyone I met made it a lot easier to get involved with things. Nearly every day of term I was at the Leeds University Union – it’s based on campus and provides cafés, shops and organised activities. Through the Union, I ended up involved with activities I never thought I would be. A favourite was archery and Scottish Dancing with my first Ceilidh (a Scottish group dance) alongside Italian and Chinese friends from my English Language classes – it was so much fun!
Anything else you’d like to add?
My time in Leeds was special thanks to many different factors. In 2014 in Germany, I wrote my Bachelor thesis about an English choral piece and as I lived in the student-friendly area of Headingley, I joined the church choir of St Michaels and All Angels. There I could experience how it is to be part of an English church choir and to learn music I have only read about before I came to England. As the School of Music and the University also have a great variety of music ensembles, bands, orchestras and choirs, I was lucky to be in a Project Choir at the School of Music and also in Leeds Baroque Orchestra and Choir. It was wonderful for me to partake in not just the theoretical, but also practical side of England’s long choral tradition. I felt how deeply music can connect people and deepen friendships, regardless of who you are or where you come from.
I got a job this year as an assistant to the head of the museum “Beethoven-Haus” in Bonn which is Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace! Having had real working experience in England (with Cheltenham Music Festival and Cambridge Early Music) combined with a long-term development in English language was a great advantage within the application process.
I am very grateful for all the experiences, all I have learnt and all the friends and tutors I have met over the last two years who were just wonderful and always supportive. They have made my time so very special and I already look forward to coming back to visit my ‘English home’ again!
by Sophia Allef – Weimar Music Academy – Germany