Candy Yuan

Undergraduate Student at Lincoln College

How I came to study Music

I grew up in a market town in Lincolnshire and went to a primary school there whose curriculum at the time was quite limited in the area of music. My musical encounters mainly took place outside of the classroom, at choir clubs and school bands where I enjoyed singing. Instrumental tuition began being offered when I was in year 6 and that was really my first exposure to the study of Music as a subject. My family isn’t incredibly well off, and instrumental lessons aren’t cheap, so I was hesitant to ask my parents to potentially waste money on a passing hobby. However after deciding to give it a go on a whim, several years later here I am studying for a degree in Music at Oxford University.

I originally wanted to learn the guitar but I did not have my own, whilst we did have an old keyboard at home, so that is what I started on. The teacher I had in primary school eventually urged me to move onto the piano. My new teacher inspired me greatly and helped me grow as a pianist and all-round performer. I now have a guitar of my own which I have taught myself to play, and also play a bit of drums and violin. My piano teacher encouraged me to continue my musical studies and supported my wish to pursue it at university.

When I was first thinking about where to apply, I hadn’t even considered Oxford. I assumed that Oxford was not the place for me, that I wouldn’t fit in, that I wasn’t good enough. The UNIQ summer school programme was what changed my mind. We were told about this summer school at Oxford, which prioritises students from state schools and low-socio economic status backgrounds, by our head of 6th form. As I’d previously known of very few opportunities as such for music, I was eager to sign up. I succeeded in the application process and attended in the summer of 2016. The week I spent here opened my eyes to the fact that there is certainly a place for me and others like me at Oxford. I also learnt that studying music in higher education does not have to be performance centric. Studying Music at university is so different from A-level and GCSE music; it is incredibly diverse and there are so many interesting areas of music to explore.

Currently, I am enjoying studying music here very much. Through the research I’ve done for my extended essay, my interest in social media and its interactions with the music industry has been piqued and I am considering continuing higher education after my undergraduate degree. It will be interesting to explore media and communications with respect to music in this age of rapid technological integration into many aspects of our daily lives. That’s my plan for now at least; let’s see where the coming years may lead me.