MA Music graduate, Harry Docherty, discusses his choice to continue his academic career through a Masters at Edinburgh Napier University.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Harry Docherty, I recently graduated from my Masters in MA Music and am going on to study for my PhD.

What were you doing before your Masters?

Before my Masters, I studied my Bachelors in Music at Edinburgh Napier University. After that, I went straight on to doing my Masters because I wanted to keepMA Music student, Harry Docherty up the momentum of studying and I was strongly encouraged to do so by the people around me and my lecturers.

I’m glad because I think it was a really good time to do it and it made more sense as opposed to taking a year out so that I could keep in the academic mindset.

What made you decide to do your Masters?

I wanted to do a Masters because I saw the academic route as the most suitable one for me. It doesn’t restrict me to only studying because I’m still pursuing other career paths as well, but I wanted to see the academic route all the way through – I’m now going on to study my PhD in music. 

How did the timing of your Masters work for you?

The timing, for me, going from my Bachelors going on to my Masters felt a bit daunting at first but the more time that passed between the degree and going on to do my Masters, that long break in Summer, it was enough for me to gather my thoughts and clear my head a bit.

So, it started off daunting and then it became exciting and then it felt more natural the more I did it. It was definitely the right choice to go straight into it.

My lecturers really made a push toward experimentation and exploration of different things that are maybe outside of your comfort zone, all anchored within the principle of critical self-reflection.

Harry Docherty

MA Music graduate

How did you find the application process?

The application process for me was quite straightforward. I think because I was a returning student, it was already all familiar to me. It was all very smooth.

Being a returning student, I was allowed a significant discount on my tuition fees, so that was really helpful with going into the Masters. I felt like the university strongly encouraged us students to come back and continue our studies which was nice.

Did you access any funding?

As a Masters student, I was able to be funded by SAAS because they were able to cover five years of study – for me that was my four-year Bachelors degree and my Masters.

It was ideal for me; it was readily accessible and easy to apply for as well. Without that, I think I really would have struggled to find funding.

Where do you hope your Masters will take you in the future?

Studying my Masters has helped me on to doing my PhD which I’m starting soon. On top of that, there are other career paths that I’m pursuing at the same time; those include creating my own music and becoming a recording artist, doing composing work and lecturing and teaching.

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How do you feel about your future career?

I’m definitely excited about my future career and all the opportunities that have opened up to me. Over the course of studying here, I’ve come to learn that you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one thing at a time and that it’s perfectly normal, natural, and encouraged to a do a little bit of everything. With all that in mind, I’m really excited to see what the future holds and continue developing as a multi-faceted person.

I’d like to continue lecturing and giving presentations as this is something I had a chance to do in my Masters and I really enjoyed it.

What’s been a highlight of your studies so far?

I think a highlight of my Masters has been being able and encouraged to try all these different things. My lecturers really made a push toward experimentation and exploration of different things that are maybe outside of your comfort zone all anchored within the principle of self-reflection and critical reflection especially.

We had a module that was literally called ‘Exploring’ where we were allowed to do any sort of mad project and were encouraged to try something we had never done before, it gave me a lot of new skills, for example I tried working with visuals which was something I didn’t think I’d be able to learn, it was really cool to try that.

What advice would you give someone considering a Masters?

The advice I would give someone considering a Masters is that it is a step above and isn’t always easy, it is very much focused on self-directed learning which is different to an undergraduate degree.

You start to develop your own projects and you start to feel like you’re becoming an independent academic rather than just a student.

Rather than a student who’s being taught things by a teacher, it’s almost like you’re starting to figure it out for yourself, you’re seeing what interests you and you’re overall becoming more of an expert in the field that you’ve become so passionate about over the years.