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Student story

Jessie Cooper

20 July 2023

"I got to learn all about the origins and theories behind the music I loved playing..."


Bachelor of Music in Music Studies

Freelance Performer and Composer

Coming from a family of musicians that studied Music at UC, Jessie had an easy decision choosing her university studies.

She quickly found UC and the Music Department lived up to its reputation, and participating in events with MUSOC (Musical Society) became her favourite aspect of studying here.

"The student atmosphere at UC is like none other," she says. "The club scene makes it so easy to socialise and meet new people. There's also a club for every kind of niche around. I swear if you wanted you could go to a different event every night of the week for the whole year due to the clubs being so active and awesome."

"Being a part of MUSOC as Junior and later Event Coordinator has been a huge highlight of my time at UC. Doing this allowed me to perform in over 5 major musicals throughout my 3 years, as well as directing the 2015 season of Grease on campus, which has been one of my most enjoyable experiences ever."

Jessie took a variety of performance and composition courses to gain a more well-rounded musical education.

"What I love most about studying Music is the great mix of practical and theoretical work. This means you're not always in a dark room taking notes from slides, but also learning new instruments, practising conducting skills, etc."

"This is why I took a mixture of historical and digital music classes. I got to learn all about the origins and theories behind the music I loved playing, as well as being able to learn modern techniques and practically apply them."

Having this background, Jessie has thoroughly enjoyed the range of learning and activities the degree provides.

"Studying music is diversified, the day can start with discussing the philosophy of music, then break for a concert in the Music Department which can range from anything to a set of student performances to a world renowned Russian concert pianist, then finishing with learning how to sight-sing and conduct your own choir. And that's just one day!"

Jessie also freelances as a Performer and Composer outside of study, and has already gained some awesome experiences.

"The day-to-day of being a musician is extremely variable but a good summary involves a lot practise, rehearsal and networking. Often this means taking on a lot of projects at once," she says.

"This year I was commissioned for my first professional composition in which I created and performed the music and sound design for the play titled Well. This was shown at BATS Theatre Wellington to a sold out season. My degree helped facilitate the confidence and skills to be able to create this piece of work."

With a taste of what's to come in her future career, Jessie plans to continue sharing her love of music with others.

"I would love to be able to become a secondary school music teacher whilst also performing and composing professionally on the side."

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