Welcome to our weekly series where we highlight the great work that RBC alumni are doing in the field of music education.
Each week our guest will reveal insights such as what led them to do what they are currently doing, the projects they have been involved in since graduating, what inspires them on a daily basis, and what advice they would give to any music student considering working as a music educator in the future, whether full-time or as part of a rewarding portfolio career.
Episode 14: Rachel Roberts
Years studied 2011-15, 2015-17
Course BMus (Hons), PgCert
First study Violin
After graduating with a BMus (Hons) in 2015 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Instrumental Performance in 2017 from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, I went on to study a Masters in Music Therapy at the University of the West of England (UWE), qualifying in 2020.
Music therapy has always been an area that has interested me. The Music in the Community postgraduate module at the Conservatoire offered me the opportunity to explore this area. The module offered me a platform to perform in care homes, run workshops and gain experience in special educational settings.
Throughout my Master’s studies at UWE, I developed weekly music workshops where activities were therapeutically underpinned and tailored for a special needs school in the Birmingham area. During this time, I also gained clinical experience in other special educational settings and neurological units. During my final year of studies, I was offered a job as a music therapist at Music Therapy Works and I am now an HCPC qualified therapist.
I currently work with young people and children with learning difficulties and autism. I find the music therapy work rewarding as it has been a positive intervention that has helped vulnerable people throughout the pandemic.
I would encourage music students to pursue a career in education, as it is possible to both perform and give back to the community. Alongside my music therapy career, I currently freelance around the West Midlands with my own violin business. I started freelancing in quartets throughout my undergraduate degree at RBC and this experience allowed me to network considerably. Having gained confidence and a great networking system, I decided to try advertising as a solo freelancer at traditional weddings which was a successful venture. Through these advertisements I started receiving requests to perform at Asian weddings and Bollywood events. As this is a niche style and genre of music, I spent some time researching and arranging Bollywood songs. This has allowed me to expand my freelancing portfolio, so that I perform at events most weekends.
To all music students my advice would be never give up on your dreams, fight for what’s right and believe in yourself.
If you are one of RBC’s alumni and would like to take part in this feature, contact Interim Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) Luan Shaw, Head of Pedagogy Dr Adam Whittaker or Head of Learning and Participation Richard Shrewsbury