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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Holly Barnett BA Music, Third year

Holly Barnett's Photo

As a drummer I really wanted a music degree that offered equal opportunities to access jazz and pop studies as well as classical. Southampton offers such a broad range of modules; the course would suit any musician.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?
As a drummer I really wanted a music degree that offered equal opportunities to access jazz and pop studies as well as classical. Southampton offers such a broad range of modules; the course would suit any musician. I really liked the campus atmosphere too and the prospect of being able to perform in the Turner Sims - a professional concert hall!

What were you anxious about before coming to Southampton?
I was most worried about making friends and settling in. The uncertainty of not knowing what to expect was quite daunting but I knew I would be ok after the first day or so.

Everyone at Southampton was incredibly welcoming from day 1. Before moving in I managed to contact some fellow music students in my halls, so we met up very early on and got to know each other. The halls support staff were also incredibly helpful and were available 24/7 to help us get used to everything. I was slightly worried about the work load too, but this was instantly overcome when I realised that it was in fact manageable and I even had spare time.

What is it like studying here?
I’ve loved studying music here at Southampton! The support from all the staff members has been life changing. I feel confident to go out into the world and be a proper adult. There are so many options regarding clubs and societies of which I joined many and became the music society president for my final year. You can do so much besides just studying for your degree.

The campus itself is great and constantly evolving, one of my favourite places is down by the duck pond near the union. I have countless memories of relaxing there with my friends between rehearsals and lectures and there are many more green areas to enjoy.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?
The Hartley library is a great resource available to all. As well as borrowing books you can study in quiet study rooms, have group sessions in larger rooms, print on one of the many printers and the list goes on; it even has its own café. I made particular use of the music and film room which is available to all music and film students full of dvds, cds and tables to work at away from the main study sections. It is open 24 hours during exam seasons so I made the most of that by spending a few days working until 2am!

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?
The most rewarding experiences I have had whilst at Southampton have to be the performances I’ve had the opportunity to take part in. I was lucky enough to play in the pit band for Gabriel, a musical written by my lecturer Andy Fisher which was premiered in 2016. I also played percussion in the Loop Project written by Ben Oliver which allowed me to play side by side with a professional world reknown jazz trio! I was also involved in the development of the Share the Sound festival, which is a music festival promoting music students in the city. I designed the logo and have headlined the festival with my bands which has really inspired me to become a professional musician. The opportunities to perform are endless! I have also loved going on tour with multiple music societies which gave me the chance to play in Berlin, Prague, Barcelona and Montreux Jazz festival. These experiences will stay with me forever.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?
My confidence has grown enormously, and I now have the skills required to continue my musical career. I had the chance to start teaching drums and this is what I will continue to do when I graduate. I have also gained skills in new areas of music that will make me more employable.

What are you enjoying most about your course?
As previously mentioned I love the performance aspects the most. However, I am currently really enjoying the arranging module and had a great time last semester studying music and comedy.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area?
Yes! I didn’t choose to personally study non- music modules but my house mate studies Japanese and Social studies alongside music modules. You can take up so many different optional modules.

Did you stay in University accommodation?
I stayed in an all-female flat of 4 in Glen Eyre for my first year. There is the option of staying in halls past first year. The facilities were great and we even had a cleaner. The halls community was incredibly friendly, and I never felt unsafe as security was only a few minutes away. The layout allowed me to make friends straight away and socialise on the green area outside. Despite having to share a bathroom everything was fine and did the job, so you don’t have to pay out for an ensuite.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?
The city of Southampton is incredibly vibrant and diverse, especially the music scene! I am now gigging at least once a week around the city. The train station is very easily accessible and there are many shops and delicious restaurants close by. The bus system is amazing and incredibly reliable too. I have also enjoyed many great nights out in the city and will continue to do so once I graduate.

What one word sums up how you feel about your experiences so far at Southampton?

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