The support and encouragement to find your own musical voice from the staff you will get is amazing

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Phoebe N Mckernon
Undergraduate student
Phoebe shares her experience of studying and living in Sheffield, as well as her recent success at being chosen to perform at the Harp on Wight Festival on the Isle of Wight.

What made you choose to study at Sheffield and your course?

The diverse range of modules that the University of Sheffield music department has to offer stood out to me when applying for a BMus Music degree. At the online applicant day it was emphasised that they embrace all musical styles such as classical, folk, pop, rock, jazz and many more. Sheffield is a very green city with there being so many parks around and it is right next to the Peak District, it reminded me of my home!

How did you research the University to find out about studying in Sheffield?

My main instrument is the lever harp and I researched and emailed around to see where would accept my instrument and the University of Sheffield came up! Having never really heard of Sheffield, I researched the music department and the city itself and found a university that I thought I might fit into.

What was your initial impression of Sheffield and the University when you first arrived?

I had only visited Sheffield once before studying at the University and was instantly hooked! The city felt like home, not only in that it is similar to where I’m from, but the sense of community that the city has with all the independent shops and cafes, friendly faces and the nature makes it feel like home. I couldn’t attend an open day when I was applying but going to see the Jessop building, I thought to myself that I can see myself studying here.

What does a typical day look like for you?

No day is ever the same in Sheffield! However, a typical Wednesday would start with attending my Psychology of Music - methods and applications lecture at 11am where we delve into research surrounding anxiety in music performance, synchronisation and social bonding in musical interactions, and musical individual differences. After this I would typically go for a coffee with my course mates usually at our favourite cafe, Copper Pot. We’ll then go to the Soundhouse and practise our instruments. At 6:30pm I attend the TUoS Folk group where we learn lots of fun folk tunes. After this I’ll go home and relax before a night with the University’s Pom Cheerleading team, exploring Sheffield's thriving nightlife on West Street!

What are the highlights of your experience in Sheffield so far?

One highlight would be being part of the Music Society. I joined in first year when the society was very small and eventually became the first year representative. I am on the committee again this year as the social secretary where I organise the varied socials now for 55 members! Music in the City is another highlight as I get to volunteer with children who don’t get the chance to experience music in and outside of school.

A non-musical highlight would be competing nationally with cheerleading where this year we placed in the top three at every competition which the team haven’t done since 2017! A recent highlight is being invited by my harp teacher to join her new ensemble and performing our debut performance at the Harp on Wight International Festival on the Isle of Wight. Having been given this opportunity to perform at the same event as the likes of a previous Prince of Wales Harpist, Catrin Finch, has been a huge achievement for me and has only occurred due to me studying at Sheffield!

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What would you say to a student considering studying at The University of Sheffield?

I would encourage prospective students to apply no matter what their musical interests are. There is something for everyone to explore on the course, and the support and encouragement to find your own musical voice from the staff you will get is amazing.

There is also something for everyone to enjoy in the Sheffield music scene with the various open mic nights, the jazz scene, folk sessions with the Ceilidh Society and Indie music at the Leadmill, all of which I would encourage to explore. Keep an open mind and get stuck into all the opportunities the hidden gem that is Sheffield has to offer.