If anyone knows about life at the Birmingham Conservatoire, then it’s MMus Music Technology student Ben. After finishing his first year on his current degree, Ben – who is also one of our #BCUstudents is now celebrating five years at the Conservatoire. In his blog post, he looks back at his time at University so far and what it’s like being a musician…

I originally didn’t want to come back to the Conservatoire to do a masters immediately, but after leaving and spending two months job hunting I suddenly realised it was the best option for me to progress. I extremely enjoyed my BMus Music Technology degree at the Conservatoire and it made complete sense to continue this further to enhance my skills.

Like most students, I had a couple of concerns and questions when first coming to university; the thought of not knowing anyone, if I made the right choice and can I live by myself without dying?! Well, during my first year on my BMus course, I found myself quickly adapting and staying till the late hours of the day exploring, getting used to the environment, going to gigs etc and of course the best way to make new friends… going to the pub!

It was a different story during my first year as a masters student. I had huge doubts about whether I had done the right thing- am I wasting my time? But after 2 to 3 months, the worries soon faded as I started to realise there is so much more I can learn. I’ve always had the dream of being one of the great composers and producers, and I will not rest until I have achieved this. Studying my masters has showed me that I can reach that goal, but only by learning from the best.

Did you know? This summer, work will start on a brand new Conservatoire to be built in the Eastside region of the City. Find out more about the new building here.

I was asked; did I go online to find answers and how did I make friends? Now, I’m a huge technology freak but I do believe the best way to find answers is to go out and find them and the same goes for making friends. Birmingham is such a multicultural melting pot- something technology can aid you with, sure! But nothing beats going out to the real world and meeting people and exploring what the city has to offer.

When it comes to accommodation at uni, I’ve done it all. During my 1st – 3rd year on my BMus course, I stayed in Opal. It’s not bad, you get to meet a lot of new people although I don’t recommend staying in halls for all 3 years like I did. In my 4th year I moved to a flat in the city centre. It was a great location, only a 5 min walk from the Conservatoire, but living in the city soon lost its charm, especially due to the expense. I’m originally from North Yorkshire, and living in a city is the complete opposite to what I’m used to. I then found myself a lovely little semi detached house in Bearwood. I’ve got great access to Bearwood town centre, it’s a 10 minute cycle to the city, I have a garden 4 times as big as my previous flat and a loft conversion that I’ve turned into a home studio. So if you’re a musician, and you want to make a lot of noise, a house is the way to go. Plus, you can have crackin’ BBQ’s with your mates!

I also get asked, ‘what do I do in my spare time’ a lot. Ha, how this always makes me chuckle. Life as a training musician, or should I say, life as a musician in general means my spare time is found doing the exact same thing I do for my studies and for my job. Occasionally, I may find my way onto the Xbox… but when your life is surrounded by music, your life becomes music, just in order to develop and stay in the loop. You have to go to gigs, concerts, stay up to 4am writing new music and musicians also quite like the pub (as do students). It’s a match made in heaven! On 4square, I used to be the mayor of Wetherspoons in the Paradise Forum, a title I’m not sure I’m that I should be quite so proud of, but I did get 50% off so maybe i’ll let myself off for that one.

So, finally if I could offer any advice for prospective students is to do as much as you can to improve what you want to do before you graduate. BCU has posters up saying ‘I will shape the world’ and that’s what we should all be aiming for, never think too small because you don’t want to end up living with the regret and thinking ‘I wish I had…’

At Uni, the cards are on the table and it’s all to play for!

Are you on Facebook? Follow the Birmingham City University Postgraduates Page and keep up to date on the latest Postgraduate news and events. You can also speak to students like Ben using the hashtag #BCUstudents on Facebook and Twitter

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