King’s College or Music College?

For many young musicians, the choice between going to a music college and university is a tough one. Whilst the former is regarded as better for becoming a performer, the latter enables you to have a more rounded ‘uni experience’.

However, King’s avoids this dichotomy, offering a tantalising alternative: partnership with the Royal Academy of Music. The combination of these two longstanding institutions, both leaders in their fields, allows Music students at KCL to be taught by world-famous teachers: whilst Academy recently boasted a unique 100% employment rate for British post-secondary institutions, King’s is regarded in the top 10 Universities in the UK for Music (Guardian University Guide 2014).

From my friends who decided on music college, all I hear is ‘practice, practice, practice’. Whilst this is of course essential in making a good musician, there seems to be little scope to live the life of a youth when they are constantly trying to attain professionalism. Not only does this understandably engender bitchiness and insecurity, it also leaves little time to enjoy London’s astonishing breadth of culture.

In contrast, being a Music student at King’s College London embraces youth culture fully. As soon as I entered halls of residence as a Fresher I was bombarded with amazing nights out in some of the best clubs in the country – the music, of course being the most important thing…in one week I had visited Ministry of Sound, Cable, Heaven, Mahiki and several others. The fact that King’s offers these exclusive nights is symbolic of how it treats music as not only an academic art but also as a social experience. In addition there is a proliferation of orchestras, choirs and bands, ranging from amateur to professional, which are open to students of all subjects.

I took part in the choral scholarship scheme this year: you are paid to sing in the amazing Byzantine Gothic chapel every week, which is clad in red and gold , and after most services there is ‘free wine’ (although I would not want this to influence your decision on coming here). Not only did we perform at venues like St Paul’s Cathedral and St John’s Smith Square, but also we go on tours – for free! In Christmas we ventured to Venice where the canals were eerily quiet and shrouded in mist. We were astounded at the size of St Mark’s Basilica in contrast with the tiny labyrinthine streets which enveloped us.  This summer, we are flying to Paris, Malaga and Gibraltar, which will be an altogether new experience but I’m sure a very fulfilling one!

If you cannot decide on whether Music at King’s is right for you, I hope by reading this article you have a better idea of how it works and what it values. Whilst many go on to become professional musicians, Kings’ academic reputation also gives you the option to go into a range of professional sectors. For this versatility alone, I would urge you to chose King’s over music college, and any other university for that matter!

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