Alex Lewis-Whitaker

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You can cultivate several different interests all in the space of a year.

Cultivating different interests

I liked how the MA allows you to select three other modules from across the music department in addition to your core modules. Everybody will have ended up with a different pathway through the degree, and you can cultivate several different interests all in the space of a year. Alongside my core audiovisual modules I was able to take lessons for the Ghanaian bamboo flute via video calls with a tutor in Kumasi (paid for by the uni). I also took a music philosophy module that allowed me to think deeply about Lisa Gerrard's 'singing in tongues' technique.

I was surprised by how heavy the workload was, so this shouldn't be underestimated, but it just meant it was all the more rewarding to complete the course. I studied what I was interested in much more intensely and urgently than if I hadn't had this time pressure. Most importantly, I have a much clearer vision for where I want to go with my next creative projects, and I love having a more holistic understanding of music and its interrelations with other disciplines that the course structure encourages.

Working while studying and the future

I am currently continuing my internship with Rocket Entertainment (Sir Elton John & David Furnish) that I started halfway through my MA, working on their incredible art collections. I'm really excited to see where it leads, hopefully at the same company, and I hope to learn more about the music industry while here too.

I'm also starting to think about my next creative project based on where I left things with my MA. I think it will involve singing in tongues and Renaissance polyphony in some way, so it will be vocal-oriented. My composition and experimentation are much stronger points for me at the moment than my performance skills, so I want to learn to sing better while I'm developing this project.

Advice for future students

Prioritise being open to new ideas and unconventional perspectives over perfecting each project. I made and wrote things which I wasn't happy with at all in terms of their execution, but they still received good grades because it was clear I had researched my topic in detail and had tried to take it beyond the existing research.