Ellie Forrest chose to return to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2019 to do her Masters in MA Professional Voice Practice after completing the BA (Hons) Acting course. She explains to us why she chose to continue studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and reflects on her academic and personal development from undergraduate to postgraduate level. Ellie also offers some advice to students starting their postgraduate course at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
Why have you chosen to study your postgraduate course?
After training as an actor, I wanted to specialise to do teaching work in drama schools and higher education. I also wanted a course that would challenge me and having looked at the course guide, I knew this course would push me outside of my comfort zone.
Why did you choose to study at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?
I knew the voice team was exemplary and I wanted to learn from them.
What are you getting out of your postgraduate course that's different to your undergraduate course? How is it different?
The level of reflection is much deeper; I feel that I have learnt more about myself and my practice in the past year than I did on my three-year undergraduate course. Everything requires more research, more questioning and an open mind. Some of the practices I have learnt have been the same, but how I engage with them is completely different, and that then offers a new perspective on that practice. As the classes are so much smaller than on an undergraduate course, I felt that my training was much more personal, and there was much more time and space to develop my skills.
Did you study your undergraduate degree here at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?
I did, I studied the BA (Hons) Acting course and the Foundation Acting course.
What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently deep in my final project work which is all about voice and movement in drama training. We didn't have to do a dissertation on the undergraduate course, so the prospect of writing 15,000 words is both terrifying and exciting!
Are there any projects you are particularly looking forward to? If so, why?
I have a couple of teaching jobs lined up for September, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in with lesson planning and developing my own practice. I'm also in the process of setting up my own private practice and I'm looking forward to running my own business.
What skills have you acquired from your postgraduate course?
So many! I came without any substantial teaching experience, so I have acquired many of the skills required to be a voice teacher. I've developed my own personal practice which informs my teaching practice.
Self-reflection is the best thing I've acquired, having the skill to trust my ability and stop second-guessing myself.
What would your advice be to students who are starting their postgraduate degree soon at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?
Read as much as you can. Give yourself entirely to the things that you are being asked to do, even if you're not sure about it. Be open and support your cohort, so the learning environment is safe and inclusive. Spend time reflecting on what you've learnt every week. If you see a good quote, write it down!
What are your plans for the future?
Get stuck into work hopefully! As I said, I have a couple of teaching jobs lined up for September and I'll be setting up my private practice so I can work with clients on a one-to-one basis. As I am based in Birmingham, I want to get involved with the theatres in the region; although who knows when they will be back up and running!
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