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How to write a personal statement for Music

How to write a personal statement for Music

by Caroline Hardaker

Music is an incredibly competitive degree, so how can you make sure you stand out in your application? We asked Dr Adam Behr, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music, what he looks for in the perfect Music personal statement.

There is a lot of pressure on applicants to nail their personal statements, but treading that line between showcasing your passion without sounding insincere can be tricky.

When it comes to your Music personal statement, you should ask yourself: what first interested you in music? Are there any extracurricular achievements you want to mention? What style of music are you most passionate about, and why?

Making rough notes and 'free-writing' your initial thoughts are just a couple of ways you can tackle writer's block, and get your creativity flowing. 

For more practical advice that's specific to a Music degree, read on.



Avoid generic statements

You have a limited amount of space, so steer clear of very general statements such as “I have loved music since the day I was born.”

We already know about your passion for Music, given that you are applying to study it! So, use this opportunity to tell us what we don't know about you and what sets you apart from others. Tell us about your music and why you want to study on your chosen course.


Give specific examples 

Enthusiasm is good, and welcome, but your statement needs to convey evidence of achievement – or potential. Tell us about places you’ve played, recordings you’ve made, tours, etc. It’s great to read about what you like, but even better to see what you’ve done about it in practical terms.

You don’t need to list everything you’ve done, but please do include your key achievements. It comes down to showing us why you're an impressive applicant, not just telling us that you are.


Show that you can think and write about music intelligently 

Music degree programmes balance performance and musical practice with academic study. We are looking for evidence of your potential to study, think and write about music, as well as perform it.

What books, articles, blogs etc. have you read or written that are relevant? Do you have any theories about music of your own that you hope to develop during your studies. It makes a difference if your application shows that you can play, think and communicate intelligently about music.


Make your statement cohesive 

Try to avoid just giving us a list of gigs attended or played and of books you might have read. If you can integrate and link all of this information, we can get a clearer sense of how your study and practice of music have informed one another.

A personal statement is our first glimpse of your writing, show us that you're a persuasive writer who can build an argument in a way that's engaging and not repetitive. 

We also like to know where you might hope to take your music study and practice in the future.


Proofread multiple times

It sounds obvious, but we have received many statements that clearly haven’t been proofread, and it's really disappointing when this inattention to detail hurts an otherwise impressive candidate.

You want to present yourself in the best possible light and this is a really good way of ensuring that all your hard work comes across well. Make sure to check your spelling, grammar and formatting so that your statement is easy to read and does you and your application justice.

A common piece of advice for this is to ask someone else to read your statement. Alternatively, if you're not keen on the idea of sharing your work, try reading it out loud to yourself or reading it backwards - it's easier to notice mistakes this way.


Get more advice for your journey to university HERE