I’m Hattie, a second-year music student at Queen’s. I’m originally from Guildford, in Surrey, and attended a state school.
I love studying music at Oxford because it is so broad and interdisciplinary. In my first year alone, I studied everything from French medieval polyphony to global hip hop, week-to-week learning all sorts of different information and skills. Like all Oxford subjects, we have tutorials (typically 2-3 a week for music) which involve a small group of students and a tutor discussing the work for the week – usually, for music, an essay. This immediate feedback and chance to explore your ideas further with experts and your peers makes the course so rewarding, and is one of the unique things about the Oxford course.
Queen’s as a college is beautiful and super friendly – the size is also good as there are lots of people to meet but not too many that it becomes overwhelming. My favourite thing about Queen’s is the active music scene. We have the oldest music society in Oxford, the Eglesfield Musical Society, which runs an orchestra, acapella group, jazz band and puts on termly concerts, open mic nights, musical theatre nights and the annual Queen’s musical. It was so enriching to be involved in EMS in my first year, participating in lots of music and meeting a wonderful group of people. I am the president for the 2023/24 academic year, and I can’t wait to put on more amazing music events at Queen’s!
Life at Oxford
In terms of the wider University, one of the wonderful things about Oxford is its choral scene. Queen’s itself has an amazing choir, but I sing in Merton College Choir. We sing three services a week during term time, as well as frequent concerts, recordings, broadcasts and an annual tour. Being in Merton choir has also given me a wider social circle, as a lot of the choir are from different colleges. The choral scholarship scheme at Oxford is, again, something that makes it unique, so if you’re a singer in any way, I would really encourage you to investigate it. There are many choirs with different ability and commitment levels, and everyone I know who is a choral scholar absolutely loves it.
In addition to musical activities, I have been involved in the Oxford 93% club, the state school society, taking the role of access officer for the next year. This is a great way to meet people of similar backgrounds, as well as being part of the work to make Oxford a more inclusive and transparent place.
Advice for applicants
My overall advice to anyone considering Oxford is to just go for it! Specifically for music, I would encourage you to read around or do an online course in some aspect that really interests you, as this gives you something to write about in your personal statement as well as for your swritten work. For interview prep, practice talking about your ideas, whether this is with a teacher, parent, friend, or pet! I felt having some practice talking about the subject made it much less daunting in the actual interview.