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Yuko Kure Profile Picture
Yuko Kure
Department of Music
BMus Music
We had the great pleasure of sitting down with Yuko to discuss her experience of living and studying at Sheffield.

Why did you study at the University of Sheffield?

"The diverse pathways and the various opportunities for students to explore their interests and passion in the Music Department. The student-friendly environment in Sheffield, not to mention the well-developed support system for mental health at the University of Sheffield. The opportunity of being able to meet people from all over the world. Great location for travelling (in the middle of England), convenient public transportation (bus, tram etc) to nearby cities (Manchester, York, Leeds etc). With 60% of green space as the greenest city in the UK, including the Peak District and countless parks and trees, which creates a perfect balance when needing a break from uni work. 

I benefited from trying out different modules from different pathways very much, because of that, I got to understand myself."

What career opportunities have you had following your course?

"I have enjoyed so many amazing opportunities from the department! From personal growth to establishing insightful ideas/directions for my future career, as well as the precious connections I created with some professionals from specific fields I would love to get into.

To me, I focused on performance, music therapy/psychology and the music industry. In my first year, I tried doing piano accompaniment and ensemble performances in events including Christmas (both from the department and the uni), before trying it out, I didn’t know I would enjoy performance so much, especially when with other people! When I first started uni, I was very shy and quiet, as the years went by, I grew more courage and confidence in presenting myself in front of people which opened more doors for me. I became a department ambassador, a digital ambassador, a voluntary performer in NHS Outpatients, an assistant performer for a music therapist in music improvisation sessions weekly with some minority/people with mental health conditions, a volunteer of Music in the City and going to local primary schools with other members. There are much more such as collaborating with a soprano from Leeds Conservatoire and a friend from the department at Sheffield Chamber Festival, I have had both solo and ensemble performances in the concerts held by the department. The variety of what I have done also includes participating in ICMPC (International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition) as a placement, although I was only doing the document and a programme assistant, I got to learn far more than I thought, from just listening to the researchers presenting their studies to how to work as a team, it is definitely one of the best learning experiences I have so far.

There are opportunities everywhere, if you have the determination and the willingness, with the great support and countless resource from the department, you can learn far more than you can imagine."

What advice would you give someone graduating from music now?

"I would absolutely say ‘’go for anything which crosses your mind and do not stop learning even if you are not a student anymore.’’ There will be opportunities outside every day, but once you settle and feel comfortable for too long, without improving yourself and being ‘in shape’, when a chance comes, you won’t be ready and be able to seize it. Keeping or reaching out to more professional connections is crucial, too, that’s why trying things out when you are still at the uni plays a very important role in expanding possibilities for individual career development."

What does a typical day look like for you?

"When I was a student, I tried to wake up early even during the weekend or holidays. I found that the best time for me to concentrate and study is in the daytime. In order to boost the efficiency, I started with yoga/journaling and some light chores to wake up completely, then I planned my daily 2 hours of practice in the Soundhouse and 4-6 hours in the library, if not during the assessment/exam periods, apart from the lectures I needed to be in, I still go practise my 2 instruments but would either spend less time in the library or study and make notes at home. After each lecture, I always went to have a walk in the parks nearby before heading home (of course if the weather is nice), it’s important to stay active for health. When I have free time, I either meet up with friends and explore the city as well as the café and food or stay in and relax."

What opportunities did you get involved with?

"A lot of volunteering such as Music in the City, NHS, Sheffield Flourish and the piano accompaniment. For other ones, I had my placement with ICMPC, music department ambassador and digital ambassador, and music performer for the faculty exhibition. For some projects I collaborated/assisted including a PhD student’s research in a Pop-Up university exhibition in 2021, launching a live stream concert for fundraising for a struggling venue during the pandemic as a music industry module, and piano accompanying friends for different concerts both in the uni and external organizations."

What did you enjoy about the teaching and research environment?

"With supportive and understanding staff/lecturers and personal tutors, I felt I was heard, seen and understood, when difficulties hit, I was able to reach out and trust the people I was talking to, and I had people supporting me all the way through the struggles with knowing that I could rely on them. All of the professors and lecturers are all very friendly, nice and approachable, they are extremely helpful when students encounter confusion towards studies/assessments, different opinions, and also mental health issues and how to take care of themselves. The libraries are all full of resources, convenient printing systems and spacious study areas, not to mention all the parks and green places close by. The teaching style is straightforward to understand, there’s adequate space for students to explore and think more creatively."

How did the course help you with your career and ambitions?

"It helped me to decide the route I want to go for more clear, it makes me feel more determined about what I want to achieve in 5 years, and it created a lot of connections from the module designs to the opportunities with external organisations such as placements and collaborations."

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