My Experience - MA Psychology of Music

Student at piano
Verna Vazquez Diaz
MA Psychology of Music
Verna was offered a Latin American postgraduate award to study MA Psychology of Music at the University of Sheffield. Verna shares her experience as an international student in the Department of Music and how the course has helped her start a professional research career.

Why did you choose to study with the Department of Music?

I chose the course MA Psychology of Music as there is no programme like it in Mexico. The programme gave me all music research skills such as quantitative and qualitative methods. Within the first module, Introduction to Music Psychology, it included all the main research areas, and introduced me to new topics. The programme gave me all the basics skills for what I am doing now.

As an international student, what was your experience like when moving to Sheffield?

Everyone was very welcoming and it was really useful that all the staff helped me through the adaptation period to the UK’s educational system, which is different from Mexico. My experience doing the masters here as an international student was really interesting. I was the only one who spoke Spanish and I was the oldest one which was a challenge, but everyone was really welcoming.

What topics in the MA Psychology of Music course did you enjoy studying the most?

My favourite modules were quantitative and qualitative research methods. We formed a research project group and learnt the skills of how to collect data while having the experience of carrying out a project. Other modules included learning statistical analysis programmes and designing a project that was focused on quantitative research methods.

I think one of the best things about being a music student in the Department of Music is the access to the Soundhouse. Being able to have free access to the practice rooms is amazing. As a musicians it is important to have space where you can practice all the time. The Soundhouse is that place where you can find yourself again as a musician.

Have you enjoyed living in Sheffield?

Living in Sheffield was really nice, it’s a really vibrant city, and it’s the right amount of everything; the people, places and traffic! You have the Peak District only 20 minutes away and if you need a break to explore nature, you can just go there.

Sheffield offers a high quality of music life and musicians. I played several open mics and there are a lot of venues where you can enjoy live music; the quality of concerts is very high. Sheffield gives you the opportunity to be an active musician within the community.

How did the course help you with your future career aspirations?

Having the opportunity of participating in research seminar, workshops and research centres was really nice. It gave me the opportunity to find out what other universities and departments research are focusing on and their different opinions and perspectives. This gave me inspiration for what I want to do for the rest of my professional career and what I needed to find my passion in life; which is research.

Right now I am working alongside my former supervisor, Dr Renee Timmers, and designing a programme for organisations to help families foster a secure bond between family members through music. Along with the support of the music psychology team, we were awarded funding from the global challenge research fund where we were able to organise a conference in Mexico City in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, The Music Mind Machine research centre and The University of Mexico.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.