Kate from USA, Master's in Singing
Subject: Master's degree in Singing
Education institution: The Royal Danish Academy of Music
"Many Danes, who are not musicians themselves, come here to attend the concerts at the Academy. This makes us, as students, feel part of the local scene and the life of the city. And that is really nice," says the American soprano Kate Timmery Curran (25), who studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Kate Timmery Curran (25) from Michigan in the U.S., completed a bachelor's degree in music at The Manhattan School of Music in New York in 2013. During her studies, she spent a year at The Royal Danish Academy of Music (RDAM) in Copenhagen, with whom The Manhattan School of Music has an exchange programme. Subsequently, she returned to Denmark to take a master's degree in singing at the RDAM.
Based in the city of Malmo in Southern Sweden, a mere 40 kilometres from Copenhagen, Kate Timmery Curran, who is a soprano, has studied a total of four years in Denmark. She lives in Malmo, because her fiancé is Swedish. She expects to graduate from RDAM in June 2016.
"I love Denmark and the Danes! It is so wonderful to study here. The teachers are really smart. The teaching format is completely different from what we have in the U.S. In Denmark, there is less class instruction, more self-tuition and more project work. Some might feel it is tough, because the structure is so loose, but I like it much better. It gives me a great opportunity to take part in projects outside the school, so I can test myself as a soloist," says Kate Timmery Curran.
A lively scene for classical music
Denmark – and Europe – is a good place to be for young classical musicians and singers, because the classical music
scene in Denmark and the whole Oresund area is very active and vibrant, she feels. Regular people from all walks of life attend the approximately 200 concerts held at the academy of music every year. These concerts are open for everyone and mostly free of charge. And the students at the academy perform regularly at various venues around town.
"Many Danes, who are not musicians themselves, come here to attend the concerts at the Academy. This makes us, as students, feel part of the local scene and life of the city. And that is really nice–and quite different from the U.S. where, as a student, I spent most of my time with other musicians and singers at the school," says Kate Timmery Curran.
Making friends with the Danes
The social part of student-life has been a very positive experience, even though most Danes are not as open and extrovert as Americans, she says.
"Danes can come off as being a bit reserved and hard to get to know. That is only in the beginning, however. Once you talk to them one-to-one, they open up. You can make truly close friends over here–as opposed to superficial contacts. My Danish friends are among the best I have ever had," says Kate Timmery Curran.
Giving a concert on a Chinese stringed instrument
She likes the international environment at The Royal Danish Academy of Music, especially the RDAM's so-called "Music Confucius Institute." The institute is a result of a collaboration between RDAM and the music academy of Beijing, which is called The Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in English. The purpose of the institute is to promote musical and cultural cooperation between China and Denmark. Students are trained in Chinese instruments and Chinese language, and the institute hosts many concerts with Danish as well as Chinese musicians.
"Thanks to the Music Confucius Institute, I was able to spend two weeks in China familiarizing myself with Chinese culture and music. The trip was a marvellous experience and an opportunity I would never have had otherwise," says Kate Timmery Curran.
The trip offered concerts and workshops as well as instruction, all of which was conducted by Chinese teachers and artists. In Beijing, Kate Timmery Curran performed at a concert herself where she played the guqin, as it is called–a Chinse instrument with seven strings.