Meet Vicky Gray - Bachelor of Music/ Arts

20 Mar 2017

Name: Vicky Gray

Degree: Bachelor of Music/ Arts

2017: 4th Year

Exchange University: The University of Nottingham, England

Vicky Gray_Uni of Nottingham

Photo credit: Vicky Gray

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a born and bred Sydney Northern Beaches girl who’s grown up by the beach, being fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of my time there. However, my main passion is music and I am studying the clarinet (and playing the piano more as a hobby), as a part of my music degree here at UNSW. Growing up I spent a lot of my time performing in various bands and orchestras, including with the Sydney Youth Orchestras, and I found that the more experience I got, the more I wanted to continue to grow as a musician, finally deciding to study it as a degree. My ever-growing enjoyment in reading lead me to choose a major in English with my Arts degree and I’m loving the diversity of modules that are available here, including “Women’s writing” which I’m taking this semester.

At the moment I am torn between both Music and English, so am hoping that I will perhaps be able to find a career that involves both aspects. Having said this I am quite open to all opportunities that will (hopefully) arise and am confident that with this degree I will find a career that I will love.

What initially attracted you to your degree?

People often say to me that my degree combination is an “interesting mix” but that is what I love about it and what attracted me to it as it allows me to study two aspects of my life that I gain much enjoyment out of.

Why did you choose to study at UNSW?

The reason I chose to study at UNSW was the fact that I can study this combination of subjects, as many other universities don’t allow you to study both music and arts at the same time.

Vicky Gray_Music/Arts

Photo credit: Vicky Gray - taken after the big concert in the Nottingham Albert Hall.

What have been the highlights/ best aspects of your degree so far?

I’d say the opportunities to express myself both through my music and arts courses. The lecturers and tutors all seem quite open to students’ opinions.

Some highlights also include having made life-long friends, and having the opportunity to perform with the Wind Symphony.

What classes did you study at your exchange university in Nottingham, England?

I studied a number of music classes while at the University of Nottinham, which included:

“Creative Orchestration” - learning how to arrange/orchestrate music.

“Jazz Origins and Styles” - a history of jazz through the decades starting from the late 1800s all the way to today.

“Creativity and Collaboration for Professional Musicians” - (my favourite class) we were paired into groups and had a major performance to work towards whereby we were (voluntarily) commissioned by the local historical association to perform in the Nottingham caves underneath Nottingham castle. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

What did your average week look like while you were studying in Nottingham?

My week usually entailed:

A mix of classes during the day (however I was lucky enough to have Mondays and Fridays off, allowing me to have a long weekend).

Rehearsals with the Clarinet Ensemble every Wednesday afternoon and rehearsals with Wind Orchestra every Wednesday evening (followed by drinks at the uni pub).

Friday evenings, all day Saturdays and Sunday afternoons involved intense rehearsals with the University of Nottingham Philharmonia Orchestra. We were playing some great music though so it was well worth it (Beethoven’s 9th Symphony).

I also had plenty of time to fit in a social life with friends, and we often headed into down for a night out.

Vicky Gray_Music/Arts_Suffolk

Photo credit: Vicky exploring Suffolk, England

Being on exchange would be full of fantastic adventures, what are some of the best experiences you've had so far?

Ooh that is definitely a tricky question as I feel that the whole of my exchange was one big adventure. I’d say that my most memorable experiences include:

  • performing at the Nottingham Albert Hall with the University Philharmonia Orchestra in front of an audience of over 500 people
  • having the opportunity to spend the Christmas break travelling around the UK with friends (visiting places such as Edinburgh, Bath, York and many more) – I love the fact that everywhere in the UK is so close and easily accessible by trains and coaches.
  • Just the ability to make many life long friends. Everyone at the university was so welcoming and I have come home feeling that I have a big family that I can always visit (and I hope will visit me here in Sydney too).

What are some of the differences between UNSW and your university in Nottingham?

The campuses are definitely vastly different as Nottingham is a lot less urban than UNSW. Because it is quite a country-British town, the campus had many parks and even a lake that you could row on. It was very beautiful.

Would you recommend a student exchange to other students? Why?

Absolutely! I feel that after going through an exchange, my whole world has opened up and I have come home with many experiences and unforgettable memories. I don’t think that it is possible to have a bad experience at the University of Nottingham (or on exchange in general). If you love travelling, have an open mind and enjoy experiencing new things - an exchange is a must!

Register for the Arts & Social Sciences Exchange Information Session - 27 March, 12:30PM, CLB 3https://student.unsw.edu.au/events/global-info-session