Isla Macewan, BMus Soprano

Isla R

Why did you choose the RNCM?

First of all, I had a really good impression of RNCM at the open day. All of the Student Ambassadors were really approachable and they highlighted all the great things about studying at the RNCM and in Manchester. A few months after open day, when I got to my audition, I found the atmosphere similarly friendly. When I first met the vocal staff on my audition panel they were all very welcoming and the Head of Vocal Studies, Lynne Dawson, made me feel really relaxed and like RNCM was the place for me. The general atmosphere in the College is really nice and friendly everyone’s always chatting and getting together. Lastly, the convenience of having Sir Charles Groves Halls of Residence right next to RNCM was definitely an added bonus, especially for my parents who were very safety conscious!

What is your favorite style of vocal music? What is your favorite piece to sing?

Definitely German Lieder, but that’s only since I started here – I didn’t used to know very much about it but when I started learning more repertoire for my end of year recital, I realised that’s what I like to perform and sing the most. I really like singing in the German language and I think it comes across beautifully. My favorite song to sing is Am Den Mond by Schubert.

What is a typical day in college like?

Well, today is quite a busy day:
10am – 11am: Go to dance shop to buy character shoes for the opera

11.30am -12pm: Coffee with friends in the RNCM café

12pm – 12.45pm: Practice

1pm – 2pm: Chamber Choir rehearsal for concert with The Kings Singers

2pm – 3pm: Singing lesson

3pm – 4pm: Feldenkrais

4pm – 5pm: German repertoire class

6pm – 7.30pm: Opera choreography rehearsal

9pm: Local pub quiz!

What have been your highlights since being at RNCM?

At the end of April 2014 we did an end of term concert in The Bridgewater Hall and we sang  Tippett’s A Child Of Our Time with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Clark Rundell. That was a really amazing experience because the Bridgewater Hall is just an incredible venue to perform in at such an early stage in a career. To sing to a packed audience was wonderful and I feel really lucky to have had that opportunity. Another highlight was in May 2014 when my vocal sextet group did a workshop with Alastair Hume (founder member of The Kings Singers). He gave us lots of tips on how to perform in a small vocal group and gave us advice for future concerts.

What do you plan to do after your studies here?

I’m not entirely sure yet as it’s still 3 years away but I think I’d like to live abroad for a few years and hopefully become fluent in German.  Then I would like to continue my vocal training and do my postgraduate studies abroad too, hopefully in Germany.


Read more about the School of Vocal Studies and Opera here.

Read more about the Bachelor of Music programme here