Graduate story: Matthew Green
"It’s been just over a year since I graduated from Cardiff University School of Music and since then I’ve been working for Sinfonia Cymru, a chamber orchestra providing early career opportunities to young professional musicians and touring exceptional classical music to rural and underserved parts of Wales.
"When choosing a university and a course I was not alone in asking what the outcome would be. I’m fortunate enough to have chosen a subject that I absolutely adore and fills me with happiness, but unfortunately you can’t pay bills with smiles so employment prospects really were quite high up on the list.
"People often assume that a music degree will only open up a career in music. If I’m honest, the skills I use most in my current job are not ‘musical’ skills so to speak, but skills that I gained through music. Attention to detail, working to deadlines and under intense pressure, communicating effectively and working as part of a team are all things I learned through choirs, orchestras, practice, score study and other activities as a musician.
"Cardiff is a great place to start a career. It’s a thriving city with lots of different businesses based here. At the end of my second year I was already thinking about the next step; I considered a lot of options both related and unrelated to music. In the School of Music we benefit from having a small department that is very friendly. There were always staff or even other students on hand and willing to offer advice, an excellent series of careers talks with various fascinating and interesting professionals offering great advice, as well as the university careers department. It’s amazing the amount of different career options available to you with a music degree from Cardiff.
"I had several meetings at the careers department to help me get my CV into shape and make it as strong as possible. I tried to make the most of the opportunities and help available. I was lucky enough to be offered a GoWales 10 week placement that began immediately after I finished at university, and from this have found continuous and full time employment with a great orchestra. Had things not gone that way though, I feel pretty sure that with the help available from the University, School of Music and with the skills I developed through my time at University, that given time I would have found a job I was happy with.
"I know this may sound inappropriate or even arrogant given the current situation with high unemployment figures and various people finding things quite difficult, but I really do think that my studies at the School of Music have equipped me, and the others that I studied alongside, to be extremely valuable to many employers."
Matthew wrote this for us in 2014. He has since left his role with Sinfonia Cymru and is currently working with Intermusica, a leading London-based arts agency.