Portrait of Sophia allef

Sophia Allef

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

I am a Musicology & Arts Management student from Germany and I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar.

The first time I came to the University of Leeds was as part of an internship I did at the School of Music, working with a variety of projects. Luckily my home university has an Erasmus programme with the University of Leeds, which gave me the opportunity to return to Leeds to complete a semester studying Musicology. My studies at the School of Music enriched my Leeds experience even more as I had the chance to participate in new and exciting modules, such as film music, which I could not do at my home university. 

After all the positive experiences I made during the Erasmus term, I felt confident enough to apply for a Master’s degree. I got great support from all staff and fellow students.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

Arts management courses in Germany tend to be very academic in a mainly theoretical sense. The MA in Music and Management at the University of Leeds offers a practical approach, which enables you to try out projects on your own. In my opinion this is more valuable in respect to future jobs that will require practical working experience.

As the School of Music and the University have a great variety of music ensembles, bands, orchestras and choirs, I was lucky enough to be in a Project Choir at the School of Music and also in Leeds Baroque Orchestra and Choir. It was wonderful for me to partake in not just the theoretical, but also practical side of England’s long choral tradition. I felt how deeply music can connect people and deepen friendships, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I developed a great passion for music (and the arts in general) during my early schooldays and I did my first internship with a Vocal Music Festival. There, I discovered the ‘world behind the curtain’ and how enriching it can be to be a part of a team which makes musical events possible that enable access and enthusiasm for the arts to people.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

I found the vibrancy of Leeds inspiring, as I grew up in the countryside. I loved all the possibilities that being in a big city offered. There were great places on campus where I met students who were in the same boat as me. 

The openness, kindness and hospitality of everyone I met made it a lot easier to get involved with things. Nearly every day of term I was at the Leeds University Union – it’s based on campus and provides cafés, shops and organised activities. Through the Union, I ended up involved with activities I never thought I would be. Favourites of mine were archery and Scottish Dancing – it was so much fun.

I also joined the church choir of St Michaels and All Angels. There I could experience what it is like to be part of an English church choir and to learn music I have only read about before I came to England.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I just got a job as an assistant to the head of the museum “Beethoven-Haus” in Bonn which is Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace! Having made real working experience in England (with Cheltenham Music Festival and Cambridge Early Music) combined with a long-term development in English language was a great advantage within the application process.

I am very grateful for all the experiences, all I have learnt and all the friends, tutors (and places) I have met on the way over the last two years who were just wonderful and always supportive. They have made my time so very special and I already look forward to coming back to visit my ‘English home’ again!