Maisy Neale

The Role of Education Departments in Orchestras and Opera Companies

Maisy Neale is a final year BMus student at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her final project focuses on music education within orchestras and opera companies in England.

Music - BMus

Tell us about your journey studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University

Looking back on the last four years, it is amazing how many opportunities I have been involved in from peer-led projects, RBC, BCU and BCUSU. I grew up just outside Birmingham and staying nearby was important to my initial choice of Conservatoire. I have really valued what is offered in Birmingham’s music scene, especially RBC’s relationship with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Whilst the course has been demanding and competitive, I have received constant support from staff members, notably my personal tutor and departmental staff. I have really developed my skills as a clarinettist and a music educator, especially towards the end of my course when I have had the freedom to choose the direction of my studies!

What is your final project?

For my final project, I researched the schools’ projects delivered by orchestras and opera companies in England. This involved looking into strategy and policy created by Department for Education and Arts Council England. It allowed me to develop my knowledge in key policy areas of music education and improve my research skills.

How has your course helped you to prepare for your final project?

Music education has been a part of my course since my first year and throughout my degree, I have learnt about community engagement, pedagogy, and school-based workshops! Performing has been the focus of my degree but the academic modules have been valuable in enabling me to take on a research project in my final year.

What are your future aspirations?

My plan is to be a freelance musician with a focus on community music work. I would love to work in a role that allowed me to develop strategy within arts organisations. I have been involved in inclusion work whilst at university, specifically around the LGBTQ+ student experience and I am looking forward to pursuing this as a graduate.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

There are so many opportunities at RBC if you are willing to put yourself out there and try something new! Studying at a conservatoire allows you to really improve your performing skills and transform yourself as a musician. RBC gives you access to incredible and specialist facilities, whilst the University campus, student support, collaboration opportunities and Students’ Union are also on your doorstep.