Dominic tells the OJ Community how much he's enjoying studying music at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music
OJ, Dominic Carver, tells us about studying music in Manchester.
Studying up in Manchester has been the best move I could have made. The people that I have been able to meet and the opportunities I have taken part in have been incredible. Earlier this year in February, I was a chorus member in the university's opera, 'The Enchanted Pig' (my first ever opera!) and we had the opportunity to work with professionals from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and the Royal Opera House.
I enjoyed that experience immensely and I have been asked to go for the role of manager (which I would relish if I succeeded!!). I have also been invited to do a choral conducting audition in September and have led the University Chorus through some warm-up exercises, which took me by surprise!
I study a course called 'Joint Course', which is a very unique music course that is split between the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, leaving with two degrees...a kind of buy-one-get-one-free!
At the university, I am studying for a Bachelor of Music, so I get to focus on music analysis, musicology (the history of music within society) and ethnomusicology (the study of 'non-Western' music cultures).
I also have the choice to choose a module outside of Music (but you don't have to), therefore I did a module in post-A Level German language.
Outside of the curriculum, I sing in the University Chorus (the large non-auditioned choir where anyone and everyone can sing in) and a small auditioned choir called the “Cosmo Singers”.
I could have played in the Wind Orchestra (non-auditioned), but I didn't quite have enough time, but the variety of extra-curricular clubs and societies is endless.
Next year I have the opportunity to audition to become a choral conductor, which gives me the opportunity to try something completely different!
At the conservatoire, I am on the Vocal Studies and Opera course (you can also choose, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Strings, Keyboard or Composition). Because I do all the music theory at university, I am only doing a Diploma at the college, but this means I take part in performance classes, workshops with professionals, have weekly singing lessons and take part in masterclasses.
As a singer, we also have language classes, because in a career of an opera singer we will have to sing in the four main languages: English, Italian, German and French. In first year we spent the first two terms on Italian language, pronunciation and the phonetic alphabet.
Since the singer's instrument is the whole body, we have weekly Physical Awareness classes and explore a wide variety of cultural dances and body language, since not every opera is going to be set 17th-century Italy and auditions can throw many surprises at you! So I get the best of both worlds, to put it in a cliché way!
I auditioned for the university's opera project of Jonathan Dove's 'The Enchanted Pig' and got into the chorus. Being a part of this production has meant I have met so many new people and have managed to work in a professional environment while having fun and having a break from university work.
Uni life is such an amazing experience. The people you get to meet and the experiences are so life-changing for the better. What is so nice about studying music at university in comparison to other subjects, is you know everyone in the department, staff and students, since you are doing projects together every single day.
It is such an important way to introduce you to the world of music and how high-energy and exciting it really is. Next year I am starting a module at uni where I get to go into the community and work with people (whether it be in a primary school or even a prison!) through the medium of music-making, and this is such a rewarding experience.
It's so nice to know that the music at Judd had been thriving and it really made such a difference to my life, that's for sure!
Miss Balcombe and Mr Baker's enthusiasm and commitment to the students at Judd is incredible and so inspiring.
I think the main message that I want to put across is how grateful I am for the opportunities Judd gave me during my two years there; I learnt so much from the staff and the activities I took part in. Miss Balcombe and Mr Baker, saved my music education, and now, as I listen to Chopin's Ballade No. 2 for my uni coursework, I remember how interesting and fun they made our lessons, thank you!
Mrs Balcombe adds the following:
The Judd School was awarded a specialism in Music by the SSAT under the original scheme, alongside specialisms in Maths, English and Science.
There are good numbers at Judd for Music - 56 studying GCSE and 17 studying A-Level. Many of our students have gone on to study Music at university.
We run numerous concerts throughout the year, including Choral unions, to which we invite old students, Judd parents and friends of the school - in 2018 we did Hubert Parry's 'Blest Pair of Sirens' and WIlliam Walton's 'Coronation Te Deum'. This concert encompassed students from every year group and was held at St Nicholas' Church in Sevenoaks. Unfortunately, our concert this year had to be cancelled but we look forward to the next! A highlight in the last number of years, was the school Symphony Orchestra performing 'Rhapsody in Blue' with Rose Blyth playing the fiendish piano part!
We have revived Musicals in the School and have staged two musicals in the last few years. In 2017 we did 'Chess' and in 2019 we did 'Sweeney Todd'. The cast and orchestra were made up completely by students and they did a fantastic job.
If anyone wishes to get in touch with Dominic if they are considering studying music at University, please email: email@example.com
and we will put you in touch.
If you want to inspire the current 6th form with your university course or career direction, please write in and let us know!