Tutor Tuesday is back! This week we feature Dr Erica Buurman.
MPA: What is your teaching specialism?
EB: I teach a range of different subjects, but my two main areas of specialism are music history and performance. On the history side, I have recently taught courses on Beethoven and on the history of the symphony, and in 2016–17 I will teach a new course called Styles and Ideas, which looks at musical styles over a range of historical periods. On the performance side, I teach practical musicianship skills (including score reading and keyboard harmonisation), and performance modules for second-year undergraduate students.
MPA: What made you want to start teaching here at Christ Church?
EB: I was really attracted to the vibrant musical life of the department: there are free lunchtime concerts every Wednesday (often featuring our own students), and a whole range of ensembles that keep our students very busy. One of the highlights of the year is always Performance Week, which is filled with workshops, masterclasses and concerts with visiting artists and ends with a student concert in Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury is also a great place to live: as a native Glaswegian it still feels like a luxury to get so much sunshine!
MPA: What kind of research do you do?
EB: I originally specialised in performance, studying violin and piano as an undergraduate, though my main research now centres on early Nineteenth-Century music, particularly Beethoven, Viennese musical life, and music for social dancing. At the moment I’m particularly interested in Viennese dance music in the period directly before the so-called golden age of the waltz. One of my main aims in researching dance music is to get a clearer idea of what ‘everyday’ music sounded like in the age of Beethoven: if you lived in Vienna around 1800 you would hear dance music much more frequently than you would hear a symphony. In the past year I have presented my research at conferences in the UK, the USA and Germany.
MPA: How do you feel this work influences your teaching?
EB: I try to bring my research into my teaching as much as possible. In the coming year I’ll be teaching a module on Beethoven, and I will bring my research on Viennese dance music into a first-year module called Music in Society. I also draw a lot from my own experience as a performer in my performance teaching.
MPA: What would you say to any prospective students coming to Canterbury Christ Church?
EB: CCCU offers a really supportive environment, great facilities, and research-led teaching. The course allows you to specialise according to your interests (composition, performance, music education or musicology) and you will have lots of opportunities to work with visiting specialists in your area. My main pieces of advice would be to get stuck in, take every opportunity that comes your way, and don’t be afraid to try new things.