[Wrth i ymarferion Philomusica, cerddorfa’r Brifysgol, ailddechrau gyda dyfodiad y semester newydd, mae Shannon Parker yn sôn am ei phrofiadau cerddorol amrywiol yn Aberystwyth ac am ei chwrs gradd mewn Astudiaethau Celtaidd.]
Although I haven’t enough Welsh yet to write this post with confidence, since coming to Aberystwyth in September 2013 and learning Welsh for the first time, the progression of my grasp on the language has been more than encouraging. I enjoyed the ‘Cwrs Haf’ (summer course) which greatly improved my language skills. As a student of Celtic Studies, I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed learning Irish and Old Irish, but my favourite module this year has probably been the ‘Introduction to Welsh Literature’. As a keen reader, I’ve really enjoyed exploring Welsh literature and learning about Wales’s history at the same time.
Aside from the course, one of the main reasons I chose Aberystwyth was the place itself and the natural beauty that surrounds it. I enjoy walking and spend a lot of my time in the local nature reserve. The sea is also obviously a plus and I was glad of the swimming weather over the summer! Taking advantage of the sea, something my native Shropshire lacks, I joined the sea rowing club – a fantastic new experience.
Another of Aberystwyth university’s pulling factors for me was the very active music centre. Being passionate about music, I wanted a university where I could be involved in ensembles of a good standard, and Aberystwyth has definitely provided this. I sing in the university choir and I also play the bassoon in Philomusica, Aberystwyth’s Symphony orchestra, which is great fun and always a challenge. Most recently in Philomusica, we performed Neil Brand’s musical accompaniment to Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film, Blackmail, alongside the projection. It was brilliant to play in such an ambitious project which one would not usually get the opportunity to experience. We put a lot of work and time into it and, happily, the audience’s response was fantastic!
When I arrived in Aberystwyth last year I auditioned for the music bursary and was successful. The scholarship has been a great help funding my musical interests and thanks to it I was finally able to take my instrument to be serviced and fixed, and also pay for things like reeds and sheet music. During the next academic year I plan to use the money to have instrumental lessons and perhaps take some higher performance exams. The music scholarship has definitely enhanced my musical life at Aberystwyth and I would advise any orchestral player to audition for it!
Another thing I really enjoy about Aberystwyth is that, although small, it is never lacking in arts events. I put myself forward to be the Arts Centre’s student music ambassador and it’s been great to be involved in the venture. Over the summer, I heard the National Orchestra of Wales perform for the second time, a brilliant opportunity that you would usually only expect in a busy city. Aberystwyth is also a great place to hear traditional music, whether in the pub or the theatre, and because of this I’ve started playing the Irish flute in the hope that one day soon I’ll be able to join in the traditional music scene.
Shannon Parker, Astudiaethau Celtaidd/Celtic Studies, Rhan I.