Anne Marie Cundy
Anne Marie's research explores a possible link between music performance anxiety and how performers relate to the music they are playing and engagement with multi-modal learning approaches in violin pedagogy. Multi-modal in this instance refers to aural learning, imitation, improvisation, analysis and historical knowledge.
CourseMusic (Musicology) PhD
‘Ways of knowing: Multi-modality in violin practice’
"My supervisors are always readily available with help and support when it’s needed and equip me with the knowledge and confidence to develop my own ideas and voice."
Having completed my masters at Surrey, I was aware of the breadth of expertise covered by the Department of Music and Media and the options Surrey presented. The campus is set in beautiful surroundings and has a very welcoming and encouraging atmosphere.
Before commencing my PhD, I did my bachelors degree in music performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then a masters degree in Music Composition at the University of Surrey.
When I started my postgraduate taught studies, I had no plans to follow it with a PhD, however the research skills I acquired on my masters course enabled me to consider pursuing research at a higher level. Building on my existing career and experience as a violinist, I aim to add to my knowledge and skill set whilst still working within the profession. I’ve also always had an interest in music performance anxiety and the complex psychological elements that contribute to a professional musician’s education and experiences.
As a performing violinist myself, I have first-hand experience of music performance anxiety and a post-conservatoire disengagement with music making, as a possible result of the didactic teaching style prevalent in Classical pedagogy.
"I specifically wanted to work with my chosen supervisors on my PhD and, having had a positive experience doing a masters at Surrey, it was the obvious choice."
Facilities and tutors
I frequently use the Library for my research and study, and the practice facilities available in the Performing Arts Technology Studios (PATS). My supervisors are extremely well connected and well informed. Each with their own areas of expertise, I have had much coaching in devising a survey as part of my research, statistical analysis and how to narrow down my potentially overwhelmingly large subject area to one important, but manageable area to research.
Opportunity for collaboration
Through Surrey, I was informed of the techne consortium which are generously sponsoring my study and offer many collaborative opportunities and a wide breadth of training to address any of my PhD needs. In addition to this, there are many opportunities to meet with other researchers and connect at Surrey and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Doctoral College Conference.
Favourite part so far
Although still at an early stage in my research, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of positive interest I have received from musicians and fellow researchers alike. The topic of my thesis seems to be an area of research that touches many performers’ lives and further study can hopefully contribute in some small way to improving the experience of future generations of violinists.
My supervisors are always readily available with help and support when it’s needed and equip me with the knowledge and confidence to develop my own ideas and voice. These new connections and having another chance to make new friends are build networks that will be beneficial in the future, both socially and professionally. Plus of course drinking gin in the sun on the top of Wates bar!
Support from Surrey
I feel there are many people I could approach for support should I need it. Mental health is clearly valued at Surrey and whether I wanted to speak to my supervisor openly or have more anonymous support I feel confident these options are there for me.
I think once I graduate from Surrey, the skills and qualifications I will have gained will have a huge impact on my career prospects and employability. Having the opportunity to hone my own personal skills in my existing area of expertise is invaluable. Being a musician with a PhD I will have the benefit of inside industry knowledge, experience and contacts but with the addition of academic training and presenting experience. This means I will be in a position to use my skills to help shape the future of musical education.
Advice for Postgrads
"My advice would be to take the opportunity to study at Surrey, even if you don’t have a definitive career plan for what happens afterwards."
Sometimes it’s good to take on a new endeavour without knowing what the specific end goal is. When I started my master’s at Surrey, I had no idea of the wealth of opportunities or the learning curve I would encounter. I feel I have learnt so much and my future has essentially just presented itself to me because I grasped the opportunities I was given.
After I graduate, I hope to work both in an advising role for music education and to produce a set of pedagogical materials for the violin. My life has been deeply enriched by my time at Surrey. The warmth and encouragement I’ve experienced has helped me to find a new confidence in my abilities and the opportunities I have been given have been endless.