Have you considered doing Honours? Meet Collegium Musicum Choir Alto, Isabella Mazzarolo, who recently commenced her PhD researching strategies musicians can use to manage performance anxiety, after completing her Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Commerce.
Isabella Mazzarolo: She’s the best. She, like – half the time I’m not even singing, I’m laughing. She’s so funny. I love her.
Alex Siegers: Isabella Mazzarolo recently completed her combined Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Commerce with Honours, and this year she commenced her PhD under the supervision of Professor Emery Schubert, Dr Kim Burwell and Dr Sandy Evans.
IM: So, I joined CMC in 2016. And I had always been a part of a choir throughout high school, so I just wanted to keep this up, and when I found out there was a choir at UNSW, I thought “for sure”.
IM: I think in my first year we sung Mozart’s Requiem which is one of my favourite pieces, so it was a bit different from high school. But yeah, anyone who knows Sonia Maddock will know that she is just like a ray of sunshine. She is so much fun and she really just makes every rehearsal really entertaining, which I think you need for 3 hours on a Wednesday night. But yeah, it’s just a great community of musicians.
IM: Yeah, definitely. Speaking from experience, in my first year at university I was actually just doing a Bachelor of Commerce and I decided I wanted to take a break from music, which I regretted straight away. But I missed music so much, and so I think anyone who has come from high school, where you, kind of, have eight different subjects or something, and you can still do music on the side. When you go to university, you are kind of focused on one or two degrees. So, having something like an ensemble to be a part of every week is really important if you want to keep up your music and not forget about it and let it disappear, really .So I think, yeah, it’s really important, and something to just help you keep it up. And also, to socialise with people outside of your cohort and interact with some other musicians.
IM: So, with my Honours thesis, in my final year at university, I was researching music performance anxiety and I wanted to continue doing that, so that is what I am researching now as part of my PhD. And specifically, I’m investigating the most effective strategies that musicians can use, particularly cognitive strategies and these are usually things that we don’t often think would help us, but they can help us. So that’s what my research is about. At the moment, I’m actually conducting a study on how COVID-19 has impacted musicians and their overall wellbeing. I think we can all say that the music industry has been really affected by everything that is going on right now. So, my research, at the moment, is looking at how the elimination of live performances and rehearsals every week, how that really impacts not only on a musicians motivation to continue music but also their mental health.