Student profile
Gemma Bartlett

Gemma Bartlett

"The academic staff are very friendly and welcoming. They are highly knowledgeable and passionate about their subject and specific topic interests."

Entry year


“Attending an Open Day at Surrey made me really feel at ease as the area reminded me of home. The campus setting was attractive as I thought I could get to know students more easily if I was surrounded by them. I also really liked how friendly all the staff were. The flexibility of the BMus (Hons) Music course and the variety of modules on offer also highly appealed to me.

I’d advise to make the make the most of Open Days and applicant days. Talk to current students on hand as they will be able to tell you what life is like as a music student, from first-hand experience. I found talking to students eye-opening.

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to study music, it was always my dream – and it came true! My main passions within music are musicology and performance. I have really enjoyed the musicological aspects of the course; I have learnt about many different composers and artists throughout history from Beethoven to Mahler, through to Adele and Keane. The harmony module has also been one of my favourites so far, it has challenged and stretched the way I think about chord structures. I have also learnt so many new skills from conducting to concert management.  Surrey is fantastic for collaboration and has provided many opportunities to explore performance in a group as well as on my own.  

The academic staff are very friendly and welcoming. They are highly knowledgeable and passionate about their subject and specific topic interests. They are always willing to help, and their door is always open to students who would like a one-to-one.

"The facilities within the music department are excellent. For example, we have three large recording studios which students can book out and use to record their own music. The main studio is amazing. It feels like a proper concert venue and it is where we perform all concerts and assessed recitals." 

There are also lots of practice rooms which are purely for the music students to use which gives us lots space to practice in.

For my first year, I lived in one of the halls of residence on campus. It was a whole change in lifestyle. For the first time, I was cooking all of my own meals and being self-disciplined. It’s been really fun too, I made lots of new friends within my accommodation block, we’ve supported each other, eaten meals together and socialised. They are definitely going to be lifelong friends and we formed a strong support network whilst away from family. It did not take long for university accommodation to feel like home and my flatmates became my family during semester time.

I started the University’s Brass Band Society which I conduct and occasionally play lead trumpet for. I also played trumpet in the Concert Band and Jazz Orchestra in my first year. I have also played badminton on occasional weekends when I did not have concerts. The bands and societies kept me busy, supported me in forming new friendships and helped me to combat homesickness.

The best things about life at Surrey are the people and the surrounding area. You create your own social life and learn to balance it with your workload.  The music students are very sociable and welcoming and I have made friends with students from different year groups too.  The social side is fantastic, there is lots to do with your friends: going out in town, going for a walk in the countryside and much more. The Spectrum Leisure Centre in Guildford has also been a great place to do fun activities like bowling and ice skating.

My greatest achievement so far has been becoming more independent and setting up the University’s brass band. Life at Surrey has helped me learn so many new skills, not only academically, but also how to cook and become more confident in myself and when meeting new people. 

I think I have definitely changed since I started at Surrey. I no longer feel homesick, I can cook for myself and other people and I know how to organise my time a lot better. My friends from my University accommodation and within the Department of Music and Media have helped me become more confident and the person I am today."


Discover more about our courses in music and sound recording, including our BMus (Hons) Music.

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