From arts to law: our students explain how an interest in music and dance is beneficial to their legal studies
Are you a keen musician or artist with aspirations to study law? Our current Law LLB students share their experiences of music at Surrey and detail the transferable skills they learnt through the arts, including perseverance, passion and attention to detail, and how maintaining their hobbies helps them to de-stress.
"Switching my focus from music to law was undoubtedly challenging and placed me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve found that many of the skills that music has taught me have helped me throughout my degree. Music teaches perseverance, focus and passion - qualities needed to succeed in law. At Surrey, I find myself in a unique position where I get to develop both as a law student and as a musician, without having to prioritise one over the other. Surrey offers some amazing opportunities to non-music students. I’ve joined the University of Surrey String Orchestra and the Musical Theatre Society, and I formed a string quartet with fellow musicians. My favourite thing about studying law is how applicable it is to everyday life. I’d recommend a law course to any artist considering it, even if you're not planning on becoming a lawyer."
"As a dancer, I learnt to remain calm and perform no matter the nerves or worry in my head, and this massively helped me when taking part in Client Interviewing Competitions in my first year of studying law. I even went on to be Client Interviewing Officer within the Law Society, during my second year, because of this.
"Dance taught me professionalism and discipline, something which I saw the value of when applying to Professional Training placements and has paid off, as I’m now doing an internship I love. I still love dancing at university, and I attend classes run by the Surrey Dance Squad. It’s a great outlet of stress and an opportunity for exercise after a day of law lectures."
"The main skill that I’ve developed from playing the cello, as well as studying law, is problem-solving. Being given a piece of music and expected to play it within minutes requires me to quickly consider various factors. This is certainly transferable to the law, as you must recall points of law, theories and case examples, along with efficient writing techniques, to be successful in your answer.
"I’m able to enjoy music at Surrey through my involvement with the String Orchestra, rehearsing weekly and performing in multiple concerts throughout the year."
"Learning music as a hobby enables me to gain various transferable skills that are useful in my law course. Sight-reading music requires great attention to detail, which is needed in a law course. For example, when drafting contracts and writing essays, you can’t afford to make a mistake as that could negatively impact your client. Furthermore, music develops the ability to focus through long hours of practice, which is helpful to get through the case and journal readings.
"A law course requires a lot of time and effort, but this shouldn’t stop you from playing music alongside it. All you need is time management. Parkinson’s law states that ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’. That means that if you give yourself a whole day to do a task, it will take a whole day. If you give yourself a few hours to do that same task, it will take only that amount of time. Give yourself a specific number of hours to study and use the time left to practise music or another hobby."
"Music has helped me develop multiple skills that complement the thinking style needed to succeed in law. For example, having the confidence to express my own interpretation.
"Playing music is mentally stimulating but relaxing, as it allows you to be and think creatively. I enjoy it as a hobby because it makes me feel fulfilled and rewarded when I work towards something. I feel as though it is a timeless hobby as you will never run out of music to discover and learn. I feel that practising my instrument regularly makes me more motivated to do work, as I’m in a good and focused mood when I finish playing. It helps me to relax and not feel overwhelmed by my university work."
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