February 21, 2014, by Emily

First Year…First Term!

I now attempt to fit the whole term into a concise and hopefully interesting account of the life of a music fresher, so …. here goes!
Freedom begins from day one, parents telling you what to do is a thing of the past and there are no more teachers to boss you around, now it’s all up to you. This can seem very daunting at the start but you’ll have settled in in no time, and by the end of the first semester you’ll wonder how you ever managed such a lack of freedom before!
Here you are in what is, for most, a brand new city, which importantly for a music student has a lively music scene from live popular bands in clubs, to classical music concerts, to the biggest names performing in the Capital Fm arena! During fresher’s week we enjoyed a trip to the Royal Concert Hall in the centre of town to see the Hallé orchestra and a visit from Opera North in November was enjoyed by many music students, especially first years as one of our modules in the first term was ‘Opera’… you’ll soon come to realise that going to a concert is always the preferred alternative to other work!
Just as you think you’re getting into the swing of things and the end of term is approaching, you are faced with your first essay titles. Suddenly you’re thrown into an all too familiar situation of complete uncertainty! What even is a footnote, do I really have to do all that paraphrasing and since when did Wikipedia and answers.com become unreliable sources?! Here are just some of the questions which will start to make your head spin at the thought of writing university essays. But don’t worry: everyone is in the same position! First year is the time to make mistakes and try out different ideas.
Music students like to mark the day of coursework hand-in with what we seem to do rather well: a night out! Music is one of the most popular activities in the University, so music socials are a great way to meet loads of new people and not just music students! You get to know people on your course better, meet people from different departments and become friends with second and even third years (there’s something quite cool about that).
Predictably, in addition to the academic side of music there are a huge number of ensembles, choirs and orchestras, some of which are auditioned and some not. So there is something for everyone to do and just how many you join is totally up to you.
One of the best things about our course in the first year is that you immediately have some choice in which modules you wish to study. If you don’t want to do performance or composition, or have a particular dislike for early music, then you can individualise your study right from the very beginning. The department also provides a fantastic opportunity to take up to 20 credits in a different subject, so if you did a language at A–level, for example, and want to continue, or just fancy doing a completely new subject alongside music, that’s definitely possible and the choice of alternative modules is enormous!
I have enjoyed my first semester immensely, as I hope you can tell. I have met some amazing people, have been fully supported by the department, and have made some incredible friendships along the way. I’m going to stop now to avoid any typical clichés or bursting into song about how wonderful I think Nottingham University is, which as a music student I suppose is always a possibility…. so all I have left to say is: bring on semester 2!!

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