Carolyn Irons’ passion for music brightens every part of her life. Not only does she ‘love playing the clarinet and listening to and performing classical music’ but she is also involved with a small chamber group and the larger University of Canterbury orchestra. When she is not learning and performing, she also teaches music theory and works at the Aurora Centre for the Performing Arts when it holds events.
Carolyn is studying towards a Bachelor of Music and chose to study at UC primarily because of the quality of the teaching staff and support. ‘The clarinet teacher is absolutely fantastic,’ she explains. She also adds that the lecturers and tutors are very ‘approachable and happy to work with you to help you understand course material.’
The fact that she received both the UC Dux Scholarship and the UC Emerging Leaders Scholarship (in the All-Round Excellence category) was an important factor in Carolyn’s decision to pursue studies at UC. She loved the leadership training so much she decided to be on the Emerging Leaders Development Programme Executive Board this year.
The MusB at UC offers a lot of flexibility according to the high-achiever. ‘I can choose when and how to practise and although it requires quite a lot of self-motivation, it means that I can fit other things around my study.’
As part of her degree, Carolyn also has the opportunity to explore other areas. To that end, she has chosen to enrol in a few courses in Mathematics, which she really enjoys. ‘I love the mix of music, which is so expressive and beautiful, tied with a subject that is definite, where there are right and wrong answers and the way to a solution is about following a set process.’
But UC offers more than highly qualified teaching, according to Carolyn. ‘Around campus, everything is really conveniently located and I particularly like the new cafés and food areas in the Undercroft offering a wide range of choices.’ She also feels that students at UC are really well supported and that the University’s ‘response to the earthquakes was incredible–they were super at keeping us informed of the latest developments and helping us to continue our learning in a very difficult situation.’
After she completes her Bachelor of Music at UC, Carolyn would love to head over to Europe where she hopes to do a Master in clarinet performance. Eventually, ‘I’d love to become established as a professional musician, performing in a chamber group and playing in a symphony orchestra, with some private teaching on the side.’ In the meantime, Carolyn will continue to combine her love of music with her passion for the great outdoors, tramping and sailing.