What Am I Doing Next?

January 31, 2016 — 97 Comments


The decision about what to do next for my Masters’ study has been on my mind all month.

Scotland has a well-being dividend, after three and a half years here I’ve settled into the wider community, made relationships in and out of college and have a lot of comfort.  There is very little travelling because it’s a compact, cultural City and I receive great support from lots of fabulous people.  In fact Glasgow is full of warm and generous people and has been a great home for me for my first spell away from my parents.

London is billed as having ‘a cultural life that is unsurpassed anywhere in the world’.  London city life can seem unwelcoming, they say people on public transport and in the street avoid eye contact.  I put this to the test and I get lots of smiles back and have had a few chats on public transport.  I met a fabulous elderly man in the café at the Royal Albert Hall and sat next to him whilst I ate my soup and we had the most interesting conversation about his recent bereavement and how much he missed his wife and her love of the ballet, the Bolshoi and life, the time passed so quickly.


I narrowed my choices down to The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and The Royal College of Music (RCM), London.  It is difficult because I know lots about the RCS, which I love, and much less about the RCM.  I have read the RCM prospectus from front to back several times, visited the institution a couple of times, and I did the tour.  The first page quote by The Director; Professor Colin Lawson says; “Choosing where to study is one of the most challenging decisions a musician ever makes” gulp!

The RCM welcome page says they are ‘ranked no 1 place to study Music by the Guardian’ newspaper’s UK university guide.  Also on the positive side they value independence and individuality, they offer ‘unparalleled performance opportunities, opening up the world and improving your performance’.  ‘The institution takes your musical future seriously from the day you arrive”.  They also hold numerous competitions and have three fully staged opera productions to audition for, watch and learn from each year.  On the downside studying in London is also expensive, double my current living costs and nearly double the annual tuition fee loan as the RCS very generously offered me a scholarship to help with my fees.  There are tube fares to take into account I think my brother pays £1500 each year for his travel card.

Royal College Of Music

However… I’ve accepted my offer to study at the Royal College of Music, I just want to take the opportunity to challenge myself and I feel very excited to take this leap of faith.  I’m looking forward to working there and I hope that it will be an interesting couple of years. Some people think I have a masterplan but frankly, as all my long term blog friends know, I pretty much feel around in the dark and grab onto any opportunity that passes by.  Before reaching my decision I really had spent the entire month in turmoil about my decision because Judith Howarth has been a fantastic vocal professor this year and has helped me to develop my vocal skills and performance, Judith is still working in the Industry and if I had the spare funds I would go out to Berlin in February to watch her perform in Peter Grimes.  Your teacher is very important as they act as your guide and mentor to help to nurture you and I have grown and learnt so much in Glasgow during my undergraduate studies. But I now feel that the time is right to move on and take the next step on my musical journey.
I feel this is more an “au revoir” than a good bye 🙂  and I am still looking forward to the rest of this year.

97 responses to What Am I Doing Next?


    I hope you enjoy the Royal College of Music and indeed the city of London. By the way I run a London transport themed website, http://www.londontu.be, which you might care to visit 🙂


    I’m sure your decision is the right one. After all who knows more about what you need than you. Bon Chance.


    You go Charlotte! 🙂 you’ll know. 🙂 Maybe catch up with you when we go to London this spring/summer!
    well done!


      I’m not sure I’ll be there this summer my course starts mid-Sept, but I’m pleased you’re getting a trip to London, it’s a long way from New Zealand.
      Best wishes


    We wish you all the success, you deserve.
    You work so hard with everything you do…
    Good luck in London,😊😘


    I wish you well in your future endeavors! May you find joy and happiness at every turn. Xo

    Peter Alexander January 31, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations, Charlotte! I am proud to know (albeit at a distance) such a promising young artist, and one who is so thoughtful as well as talented. I think this is exactly the right decision. It is not easy to step out of a comfortable cocoon, but it is often the very best thing you can do. With such thoughtful decisions about your career, I have no doubt that you will go far. You are a talented, wise and lucky young lady, Charlotte.


    Fantastic Charlotte, this will be the start of another exciting chapter and I look forward to hearing all about it. See you soon xx


    Congratulation my Dear ! And, as you say, it’s just an “au revoir” with Glasgow, your friends there and you’re teacher. You just gone to live in an other place, you do not go on another planet ! I have a short travel in London in November, and when i lost my way, I have ask to peoples – each time people answer me with a smile….. In Paris, when I ask people, they run away 🙂 …. So enjoy your end of year in Glasgow and and be shure that you gone to have a great new life in London ! different life, different things to do, hard with money, but with many new good things too ! Enjoy your life and All the best for you my friend !


    May the Lord continue to bless you Charlotte in pursuit of your Masters and thank God you could take the time to comfort the elderly man, who had lost his wife. May the God of all comfort continue to comfort you as you do His business of spreading joy in the world.


    Exciting times ahead Charlotte and I know you’ll exceed no matter where you are or what situation you are faced with.


    Wonderful. 😊
    Beautiful wallpaper by the way, I’m jealous. I need to learn that skill. It is wonderful you have such choices in life and you take it seriously. If London is the best then just think of the improvement you’ll make with opportunities at hand also. Your good looks will be the bonus or icing on the cake. Keep us updated.


      I wrote and asked if there would be any objections to me continuing my blog before I made my decision because The Head of Vocals at the RCS has always been very encouraging of my online diary and I didn’t want to stop. I can continue so that’s good.
      Best wishes


    Follow your heart’s desires. They are always right.


    What a gigantic decision! Big congratulations! The seas will be bigger and rougher in London, but now is the time to discover how big your ambition is. You can shape your career based on experiences at these two very different places, returning, if you want to after a few years to the friends and surroundings you love in Scotland. I loved London in my twenties and one of my daughters is now in her mid-thirties and cannot tear herself away. The bonus is that we will get to hear you, and hopefully support your performances.


      It was gigantic, a big factor was trying to reach different and varied performance opportunities. The Opera School in Glasgow is fabulous. You’re right about wanting to be tested, if I’m not prepared to challenge myself then I’d never know if I can do it. It’s exciting to think you might be able to hear me live 😊.
      My best wishes


    I think it is a good decision. It widens your base (I don’t mean putting pounds on posteriors!) and will show that you can hold your own in one of the most challenging musical environments that there is. There is also a measure of prestige attached to RCM which is hard to match elsewhere. Mist importantly, I believe they have the capacity to take students to the absolute limits of their talents.


      That’s what I’m hoping, I’m wanting them to spot things in me that I’ve not yet discovered and help me to improve. I think that it will also prepare me to overcome new challenges from travelling, to finding somewhere to live, and making new contacts and finding new venues to perform in. Thank you 😊.
      Best wishes


    Good luck to you. I ‘lived’ in London for a month in the summer of 1986, on secondment to my then-firm’s London Office, filling a gap between the guy who was leaving and the guy who was starting. I enjoyed it very much, but it was another world: Manchester has since caught up on so many of the things interesting me that could then only be found in the capitol, and whilst London was more expensive even then, it wasn’t so out-of-proportionately so.

    If it’s the best place for your music, then of course you must go for it. I’m sure you’ve properly weighed the loss of all you contacts in Glasgow. Here’s hoping that it’s not going to be the disastrously expensive experience it is for so many who are not already well off.


      It is scary Martin and very expensive but hopefully I’ll make every penny worthwhile. My younger brother still has two years of study left in Glasgow and I will try to maintain several of my contacts there, it’s just started dawning on me how unsettled a musical career is.
      Best wishes


    Best wishes to you.. You will do well wherever you are!


      My Mum said that, it’s hard to make the decision because you can’t see around the corner and it’s easier to stay where you know and where you feel safe, but I don’t want to be looking back saying “if only…”
      Best wishes
      Charlotte 😊

    Annette Rochelle Aben January 31, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    You are going to have the time of your life! Something tells me that you will get to see your friend perform… Just a gut feeling. Cheers. <3


    As most decisions are. Half scary, half totally awesome. I trust that you will do well because of your strong work ethic and great passion for what you do. Congratulations.


      You made the huge decision to go from one side of the Country to the other so you’ll know what I’m going through and the U.K. Is much smaller. Thanks Eric
      Best wishes


        My hometown had no mountains and it never snows anywhere in the entire state. Isn’t your brother in London? Does this mean he’ll get to drop by at ridiculous hours in the morning to say “Hi!”? 🙂


        Matt lives on the East side of London a good hour away and he knows I’m an early bird 😄 but he’s a great cook so I’m going to persuade him to help my food budget by inviting me for Sunday lunch 😆.
        Best wishes


    A hard choice to make. Good luck!
    Do you know the Australian soprano Jessica Pratt? Worth a listen.


    Congratulations Charlotte! I hate having to make difficult and important decisions – it’s always such a relief once they’re made! You are brave to go out of your comfort zone but I think it will be good for you to study somewhere different. If only it wasn’t quite so expensive there! I had a number of friends who studied at the RCM and the Wind Ensemble I was in used to rehearse there too.
    Best wishes and lots of luck!
    Clare x


      Thanks Clare, the last time I met a similar fork in the road, deciding whether to stay on and study my A levels in the 6th form at my High School or change to a Sixth Form College; I decided to stay on at School, the sixth form didn’t get a big enough request for A level music and were going to drop A level music after I made my choice, fortunately the Head of department said I could study music inside the BTEC music group but it took a lot of extra self-study and discipline, I achieved my ‘A’ and offers from several conservatoires so it all turned out well. I just want to see if a different location helps me to identify my career goals and create new performance opportunities. It will be a challenge to see if I can live well with much less money. I’ve just found out that one of my good friends has decided to go there too so that’s great.

      Best wishes


        I am so pleased you have a friend to share it with! I think it is good to have a change of scene now and then. I hope you manage on less money – what a challenge!


    A difficult decision – almost between a doubt and a certainty – but you have probably done the right thing here. Staying in Glasgow would have been a little like staying on with your family.


      My Dad said there’s one thing for sure, nothing is a certaint. It’s going to be up to me to take advantage of opportunities wherever I am and make sure I try to make myself comfortable there.

      Best wishes


    Congrats on your decision to go to the RCM. A tough choice, but only you can make it. September seems light years away but it really isn’t. We can all follow along your journey to success Charlotte. All the best, Darlene


      Thanks Darlene, I’ve been reading books, blogs and facebook pages of opera singers and they really do travel around a lot, spend time away from home often in big Cities for weeks at a time in order to perform regularly I need to ensure that I can meet this challenge and figure out ways to maintain my regular life at the same time.

      Best wishes


    So much of this depends on what your longtime career goals. If you want to be a world class performer, I am pretty sure London is the way to go. And it sounds like this is what you want. Congratulations and God speed. You’ve faced challenges before and I think you will face and surpass these too. And with a smile on your face and hope in your heart, how can you go wrong?


    The decision to move on to London is a great choice for your artistic opportunities. I wish you all the very best, Charlotte! The time you spent at the RCS will no doubt be invaluable… to help in your career in the arts. Have a wonderful week and congratulations.


      I really don’t think either choice would have been a bad decision I just want to reach my highest potential. The RCM is in the top 10 music conservatoires in the world; I know that doesn’t guarantee anything but I did really like the operatic opportunities there.

      Best wishes


    It’s not just about the quality of learning at the RCM, it is also about the outstanding range of opportunities available to you in London – and beyond.


      I agree Rhys, my vocal teacher for my first three years here in Scotland trained at the RCM and there have been many successful alumni from the RCS but I really wanted to try to discover if there are a wide range of opportunities to perform which is my passion. I’ve also got a few things on my wish list that I’d like to check out if there are opportunities to do.

      Best wishes


    Good luck with your studies!


      Thanks Mick, I’ve been working hard for two weeks now on my research project, I can’t believe how long these things take me to do, and other people seem to crack off their projects much faster than me!

      Best wishes


    As I came from a former British colony, Hong Kong, I’ve heard of the good reputation of the RCM for a long time. As a youngster, my husband had his piano exams with the RCM affiliated examiners in HK. Now in Canada, while we have our own RCM in Toronto, we still look up to the one in England. My son got his piano ARCT with the RCM here. I congratulate you on being accepted at RCM London and your decision, albeit hard to make, of taking up the challenge to further your training there. I wish you all the best, Charlotte!


      Thank you Arti, I was told that they audition around 750 for 20-25 positions of all voice types so it is quite a compliment that I was offered a place and I was thrilled to have a choice.

      Best wishes


    Good luck on the journey, and you’ll be Glasgow’s loss. I’ve enjoyed watching your blog flourish over the last few years and it’s a great example of the use of social media to build a professional brand. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.


      Thank you Patrick, Glasgow has got plenty of talent staying on to do their Masters and I wish them all the best. I have never really considered myself as a brand I just love to sing and perform and to share my experiences with friends. I’ve certainly had a brilliant experience blogging. I’ve got some exciting things to announce for this year, watch this space! 🙂

      Best wishes


    What an adventure, Charlotte! Congratulations and best wishes!


    Tough call…follow your heart.


    How wonderful, Charlotte! Wishing you the absolute best in your new endeavor.


      Thank you so much Linda, I have always loved a new challenge and moving to London and studying at the RCM will force me out of my comfort zone. I intend to make the most of every minute and will keep you posted 🙂

      Best wishes


    Enjoy and good luck in your new life adventure!



    Great news, Charlotte! And if you’re going to live in London for a while now, maybe we can have an opportunity to meet in person–my sister and I go into London whenever we can, especially to see concerts at Royal Albert Hall. Maybe someday you’ll be singing in one!

    Best regards,



      That sounds great Cate, the Royal Albert Hall is just up the steps across from the college 🙂 It will be fabulous to study there and also take in the concerts and performances that are only available in the capital.

      Best wishes


    I’m reminded of when I had to decide where to go to college. It was a big leap of faith for me too, but it turned out pretty great. I’m sure you’ll do really well in London, make great new friends and have lots of fun. And turn into one of the best singers ever. 🙂


    Enjoy the new page in the ongoing chapter of life! x


    I think this is so exciting, Charlotte! Congratulations. You made a courageous and brilliant choice, imho. I spent a semester in London and for an American, it was a true challenge to be seen and accepted for myself and not the usual image of a Yank, but I loved it. Everything about that city appeals to me and, of course, it is where my parents started out anyway.

    It will be exciting to hear more about all this in the coming months. Yay!! 😀


    This is such great news Charlotte, and while it is great to always have options available it is even better when you had two incredible options to choose from. From what you’ve written, it seems that the Royal College of Music will be perfect for you…and nothing more needs to be added about the city of London, one of the greatest cities in the world. Cheers!


    You are a true sojourner, enjoying your journey, pushing yourself, and taking on challenges in your path. I admire that. It is late here. I live in Florida, but I am looking forward to listen to your sing! (When I can turn the sounds up. My husband is asleep right now 🙂 I am always thrilled to connect with others from around the world. I am so thankful that you stopped by my blog.


    I love Glasgow. My Aunt Kate still lives there – she is 94 and still going! I remember fondly taking trips there as a child. What I remember most was the close Aunt Kate lives in and potato scones, Pink Panther chocolate bars of all things, also Coke floats and the tip! LOL I wish you great luck and happiness in London and applaud you for challenging yourself instead of staying where you are…where you are comfortable. =) Bravo and best wishes.


      Thanks Susan, I love Glasgow too, wow they’re made of hardy stuff in Glasgow. It’s funny what sticks in your mind, I remember everyone telling me I must try a deep fried Mars bar, Irn Bru and Haggis (turns out I’m allergic to the Barley in it 😀).
      My best wishes


    Lovely post! :). Good luck to you!


    Thank you for the follow and nice to meet you. Lovely post and best of luck in your endeavors.


    Thank you for following my blog. Good luck in your next phase of life.


    I wish you a fine time in the college.

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