Sunday, 25 September 2016

Moving in and first impressions

So one week ago I moved in!  I’m really lucky because my accommodation is right next to LCoM so I can get to classes and lectures within five minutes. 

Everyone was so incredibly friendly when I moved in – any initial nerves I may have had were immediately forgotten as I met all the other undergrads moving away from home for the first time as well.  My flat is perfect for me and as soon as we’d unloaded everything from the car and started to unpack, I felt very at home and knew I’d be really happy living here for the next year (or three, if I decide to apply for this accommodation again).  The block has a common room, friendly reception are and a laundry so, other than shopping or going into college, there’s almost no reason to leave although who wouldn’t want to when you have the whole of Leeds on your doorstep? 

My first night alone here was a very strange experience…  I have a studio flat which means I live on my own with no flatmates which meant no distractions from the bizarre sensation of suddenly being responsible for everything and no longer a child.  It feels so weird and I really didn’t know how I was going to survive the weeks but I found that making myself focus on unpacking and cooking really helped and I woke up the next day feeling a lot more normal and excited for everything ahead. 
Thanks for reading and sharing my first impressions and moving in experience with me – just a short post for today but I hope you enjoyed it and it helps in some way to know that however terrifying the first week seems, it passes quickly and everyone is feeling exactly the same.

Next time I’ll be looking at Freshers’ week and the different ways of approaching it xx 

Monday, 22 August 2016


Recently, I realised that it's less than a month until my enrolment day before beginning my studies at Leeds College of Music.  It struck me that, despite imagining a Summer filled with planning and preparing for my move, it's already late August and nothing much has changed.  I haven't been too well this Summer so have definitely taken it easier than I expected to but still...      

My preparations are very much underway though and moving to and studying at conservatoire feels more like a reality every day.  The main thing I'm concentrating on at the moment (other than packing, preparing for living on my own etc...) is getting back into practice and getting used to the fact that I can finally  play for several hours without having to worry about other subjects/commitments.  This is kind of how I've felt about flute most of my playing life - it's always been my priority but recently long practices have just felt like a rare luxury.  The fact that this luxury is now going to be the main part of my routine is just the most incredible thing.

I've been slowly increasing my practices over the last week by adding an extra exercise/piece ever day.  I've got to the point now where I'm playing all my exercises everyday and it feels so good to be back into it!  I feel that in a couple of weeks, I'll be fully immersed again and all ready to start my lessons which, incidentally I am both longing for and terrified of!

Thanks for reading :)

As always please leave comments if you have questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.  If you could like to vote for me as blogger of the month, please click here.  Thank you!    

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Short Update

In the last few weeks I have had no time at all to think about going to concervatoire, moving away or, in fact, anything at all regarding my life next September, but recently I recieved an email from Leeds College of Music informing me of their invitation day on the 3rd of February for anyone who has had an offer.  Coincidenly, the're also holding a free flute masterclass a couple of hours before.  After the masterclass, the invitation day consists of a  Q&A session with the classical curriculum leader, tour of the college, a chance to meet other potential students and a concert.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about the college and spend another day in the city I will be living in next year.  I didn't actually realise any of the conservatoires did this but thinking about it, it seems obvious.

To make a day of it (I've booked my place now so am definitely going), my mum and I have decided to go a day early, stay in a hotel for a night and spend the extra time exploing Leeds.  I'm really looking forward to this as I realised recently that I've never actually seen Leeds in daylight!  I am biased as I have a fascination with cities at night, partly because I love creative writing and it's my favourite setting to write about - but they are magical!  Anyway...  Back to real life.  As soon as I am able, I'll do a post covering the day, masterclass, college and concert.  Apologies for the lack of posts recently! 

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. 

As always please leave comments if you have questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.  If you could like to vote for me as blogger of the month, please click here.  Thank you! 

Friday, 11 December 2015

What's next?...

Recently I was lucky enough to be given a guaranteed unconditional offer to my conservatoire, meaning I no longer have to worry about my A level results as my place is confirmed.  As happy and really quite amazed, let's be honest here, as I am, it has put me in a stuation that is totally new to me - theoretically, right now I could drop my A levels and 6th form, gve up practising flute and, money problems aside, go and live in Venice for a year.  Obviously I'm not actually going to do that but still it's got me thinking.  I've never been in such a priviliged position before - there's always been something I have to work for or a plan that could fall through so having the knowledge that whatever happens in the rest of my year, whatever my A level results are, I'll have a place waiting for me to study flute is really the loveliest feeling!

I do realise that after finishing my undergraduate degree, I may want to do my masters and I may need to have good A levels for this so I'm still going to work as hard as possible to get the best grades I can, as well as the fact that, after music, linguistics is my favourite subject and as I'm doing two A levels in English Language & English Literature, so why wouldn't I want to continue with and work hard at them?!  I am really struggling to keep on top of sixth form work at the moment though - juggling flute practice and essay writing etc... is so difficult!  I'm thinking next term should be easier though: with the break Christmas will hopefully provide and the relief after finishing all my auditions will make the term so much less stressful!

Most of all, I want to cover as much as I possibly can regarding flute before my course starts, so that I'm as ready as I can be to start.  My main flute-specific goal is to increase my sound - I've got several performances and auditions for performance opportunities coming up hopefully this will all help.

I'm not sure how far I will end up following this plan but I'll keep you posted!  How are you going to fill your time until you start uni?  Do you have any exciting travel plans or work experience in store?

As always please leave comments if you have questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.  If you could like to vote for me as blogger of the month, please click here.  Thank you! 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Application and Audition Advice: Part 2

Here is the continued list of points from my last post, this time covering my auditions:

  • Due to some complications, I wasn't able to tell my flute teacher I was applying for conservatoire until 2 weeks before I submitted my CUCAS application in October which, as you can imagine, left little time for preparation.  One thing that I'm really glad I did during this time was check all the conservatoires' websites and make a note of any specified pieces or scales.  I think this is one of the most important things to do - there's nothing so stressful as discovering you have to play a particular piece or study, two weeks before the audition.
  • I really struggled when deciding where to apply - I knew I wanted to apply for conservatoires but I was so torn between Royal Academy, Royal College and Royal Scottish!  I spend quite a lot of time researching the areas, accommodation and general living costs and I'm really glad I did as aside from helping me deicde where to apply, I learned some useful info about the other colleges I'm likely to apply to for postgrad.
  • When I'd decided on my choices and sent my application, it was such a relief as I was able to concentrate solely on preparation so I'd really recommend getting your application done as early as possible.  Obviously I wouldn't advise rushing it but as soon as you know what you want to study, get your personal statement done and start looking at colleges!  It really does take more time than you think...
  • This sounds crazy but, on a more practical note, if you need photocopies for the audition panel (and by the way, unless stated otherwise, they only require ONE copy between them) get them done as soon as you can!!  I swear the most stressful thing about this term was photocopying a piece the night before one of my auditions - just don't even go there...
  • Pick pieces you love - in the end you're there because you love singing/playing your instrument.  If you can really show the panel how much passion you have for what you play, you're already half way to being accepted, and if you're not then it was just another chance to perform what you love!
  • Make sure you eat on the morning of your audition - I really struggle to eat in the mornings anyway so during my journey I just kept snacking on little things whenever I felt I could.  Carrot sticks are the way to go...
  • Take full advantage of your warm up time: the time each college allocates varies a lot -Leeds gives a luxurious 25 minutes, Wales give 20 minutes and Trinity give 15 - so you need to plan exactly what you need to do when you get in there and know what's most imporant for you to cover if for some reason your time is cut short.  You may of course find you don't need all the time - if you're honestly feeling confident about something, don't push it.
  • Most of all - I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope it's an amzing experience!

Thanks for reading!

As always please leave comments if you have questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.  If you could like to vote for me as blogger of the month, please click here.  Thank you! 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Application and Audition Advice: Part 1

It's so weird to think that my application process is now basically over!  For some reason I'd imagined it dragging on forever - preparing for audions, auditioning, waiting for results etc.. but in actual fact it's only been around a month!  I've compiled a list of points regarding my experience of applying (most apply to Universities as well) and auditioning that I hope help you in some way:

The Application

  • Don't be put off somewhere because it doesn't have the same prestige as other conservatoires/universities.  People seem to think to study classical music properly, you need to go to Royal College, Academy etc... and that lesser known conservatoires like Leeds College of Music are easier to get into.  If you read the UCAS statistics it's actually quite clear that this is NOT the case - in 2011, Leeds had over 100 applicants for their postgrad study programme: of these, only 38 were offered a place.  
  • This may seem obvious but do your research into the area and make sure you're be happy living for three or more years.   You may want to consider some questions like these:  
How far is it from my current home?
How easy would it be to get back home if I needed to?
How warm/cold is it and will I be ok with that in Winter?
How expensive is it?
How far is the accommodation from my place of study?
How large/small is the city?
  • Look in-depth at what exactly the course can offer you - check out optional modules, second year opportunities, who your tutors will be and what they specialise(d) in etc...
  • Although this sounds somewhat negative, find out if they offer good courses for any other subjects you're interested in.  I hope you will love the course you end up studying but it's good to be perpared in case it doesn't work out and you want to switch subject.  
  • Don't ever be put off a subject or universtiy because someone doesn't think you'll do well enough or work hard enough.  Only you know what you're capable of so always make sure you do what's best for you.  I made the misake of listening when I was advised not to apply to conservatoires because I wouldn't get in but I decided, just in time, not to listen to this and applied any way.  I'm so glad I did! 
  • When you have made your decision and are happy with it, start you personal statement as soon as you can - it'e tempting to put it off but actually, it can be a really enjoyable experience if you give yourself plently of time.  

Next time I will cover the auditions - thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful! 

As always please leave comments if you have questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.  If you could like to vote for me as blogger of the month, please click here.  Thank you! 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

UPDATE: Offers and Decisions

I just wanted to write a quick post as a lot has changed for me with regard to conservatoires in the last couple of weeks.  First of all - I got an unconditional to Leeds College of Music!  I got home for my Saturday music college to find the letter waiting and I actually cried when I found out - I'm just so happy!  I also found out later in the week that I didn't get into Wales.  This is absolutely fine as, in the end, I wouldn't have been happy going there and was also slightly uncomfortable about being that far away from home in my first year away.

I've decided to cancel my auditions to the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire.  As much as I love what both of these colleges have to offer, I've kind of realised that Leeds was my first choice and I no longer want to go anywhere else.  After spending a couple of months just playing the same pieces, scales etc... I really want to go back to just learning flute again - of course, I've learned a great deal from my auditions and from the intensive work preparation the auditions demand but I really enjoy working on technical exercises, studies and general technique and really just want to learn as much as I possibly can.  I am in no way suggesting readers of this should do the same unless, like me, you know it's absolutely the best thing to do.  I think auditioning at several places is a wonderful way to experience the colleges and teachers so if I wasn't 100% happy with my choice, I would still go ahead with the others. 

Thanks for reading!

As always, please leave a comment if you have any questions - I'm happy to help in any way I can.