'I love the fact that we are given such personalised and individual attention here...'
Assistant Conductor, Christchurch School of Music
'Nothing beats being in the middle of 50–100 people all playing music together,' says flautist Matthew, explaining what makes music special for him. 'My dream career is to play full-time in an orchestra, and do some teaching on the side.'
The importance of studying a subject that is your true interest has become clear to Matthew, who initially planned to study science at university.
'I soon realised that I would only be happy if I concentrated on what I loved the most, and that is music. I am doing constantly what I love, and that is performing and learning about music. Whether it is through theory or history courses, or my regular flute lessons, I just love immersing myself completely in music.'
Around the age of 15, Matthew decided he would like to become a professional musician. He had several study options open to him, having been accepted to the New Zealand School of Music and the University of Auckland, but he says he was drawn to UC by its teaching staff.
'I spent a week learning with UC flute teacher Tony Ferner at the International Akaroa Summer Festival and from that moment I knew that I would only want to study at UC,' he remembers.
'I love the fact that we are given such personalised and individual attention here. The faculty and staff really care for their students and their well-being.'
These days Matthew regularly plays alongside Tony Ferner with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. He is also the assistant conductor with four of the Christchurch School of Music's ensembles which means leading in rehearsals and providing any necessary assistance to the main conductor.
'Music is hard work,' he says. 'There is no denying that. But it is also one of the most rewarding professions ever. Performing in concerts is always lots of fun – I have made some of the best friends of my life through music.'
Outside study, there is more music for Matthew, who loves to go to concerts almost as much as performing in them himself.
'I also like travelling and I probably spend far too much time on the internet,' he says. 'When you are at university, it is good to have a balance between study and the rest of your life, and to make sure you have some fun along the way as well!'