Katherine Hackman joined Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2019 and is currently studying BMus (Hons) Music (Vocal). She describes to us her typical Tuesday routine, the experience of her course so far and what advice she would give to students starting their first year at RBC.
Hi there! My name is Katie, I’m a first-year Vocal student, and I’m from London. I would love to take you through a day in my life.
I am going to take you through my typical Tuesday, which for me starts at 7:15am when my blaring alarm wakes me up. I start every morning with a shower. I not only use the shower to keep clean, but it’s my favourite place to warm up my voice! The warm water vapour helps open my sinuses, so gets me starting my singing day off right (and who doesn’t love singing in the shower)!
I quickly get ready, grab my breakfast, and leave my flat at 7:50am. I walk to the Conservatoire, which normally takes six minutes from University Locks and make it for my 8am practice session! Every musician practices and works differently. I find these early morning practices work the best for me and in my practice sessions, I like to mix up it. The time slot for practice rooms is two hours and my voice wouldn’t cope if I sang for two hours straight. As a singer, I think it’s important to have some other strings to your bow. So, I like to practice piano scales and sight reading, and I’m also a cellist, so sometimes I like to bring my cello to keep my skills up, as I never know when this will come in handy.
It’s 9:50am and I make my way downstairs to the Recital Hall for my ‘Vocal Performance and Technique Class’. This is my favourite class of the week. In this class, every fortnight we perform and get feedback in front of our fellow course mates and our Head and Deputy of Vocal Studies, Paul and Jonny. I absolutely love listening to the others singing because I learn just as much from them than when I sing! The class is two hours long, which sometimes feels like 20 minutes; it goes by so quickly! Straight after class, we have ‘Stagecraft’ class from 12pm until 1pm, where we learn how to effectively act through song and opera.
At 1pm, I head back to Locks with my friends and make some lunch with my flatmates. I’m in a flat of seven, and we’re all Conservatoire students. I eat lunch and socialise with my flatmates until my online ‘History of Music’ lecture at 2pm. We have a number of online lectures in the week and this one is for our ‘Language of Music’ module. We also have ‘Performance Traditions’, ‘Community Engagement’ and of course, ‘Principal Study’ modules. Attached to these we have various lectures, seminars, and harmony & aural classes. As a singer, we also have language classes; this year Italian is compulsory and I also take Russian, which is optional.
I finish the lecture at 3pm and at this point in the day, I like to take some time for myself. My favourite thing to do is to workout in my room. I will put on a YouTube workout and release any stresses! I think exercise is so important, especially during this pandemic where gyms are opening and closing! Whilst I am still hyped up after my workout, I will then sit down and write some notes from lectures and make sure I have understood everything clearly.
This brings us to around 6pm, and at this point in the day, I like to close my books/laptop and end my working day. I try to create boundaries between my work and play. It’s difficult when you work in the same place you are supposed to relax, but I have found once you discover that boundary it becomes easier.
I then make some supper and socialise some more. Once I have eaten, at around 8pm I’ll meet friends at the pub. We have great pubs around us that we use regularly, in a Covid safe fashion. I stay until around 10pm, as pubs have been closing at this time due to the pandemic and will walk back to Locks. I get back to my room, get ready for bed and catch some needed ‘Z’s’!
Here is when my day in the life at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire comes to an end. If you’re thinking of coming here, I couldn’t recommend it enough. I have such an amazing time and I’m sure you will too!
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