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Faculty of Music



Cambridge was a great place to study music and develop as a musician. As an undergraduate, I was also a choral scholar at St John's College, singing seven services per week during term time as well as touring internationally and recording several times a year outside term time. Combined with my academic studies, this meant that my time at Cambridge was saturated with music. The music tripos began by establishing solid foundations, with a focus on fundamental harmony and counterpoint, 19th-century musicology, analysis and practical aural and keyboard skills. I especially enjoyed developing these technical skills. But as the course progressed, I was also able to take courses in a variety of more specialist areas - early music notation, Middle Eastern music, music of the Trecento and Beethoven's late string quartets. I loved this variety and being able to broaden my horizons whilst simultaneously developing my core musical skills.  

On leaving Cambridge, and before/during my law conversion, I sang professionally with a variety of professional choirs in the UK and abroad, something which was largely made possible by my time and studies at Cambridge. Now that I am working full-time in law, my day-to-day work does not directly involve music, but I am always using skills I developed during my time at Cambridge. Law is equally as broad a subject and profession as music, and studying for a degree which involved research and essay-writing alongside more practical and analytical studies was definitely helpful in preparing me for my current work. The ensemble music-making opportunities from which I benefitted at Cambridge developed my ability and appetite for teamwork, another important facet of working in a law firm. Now that my professional life is less steeped in music, I find myself taking a more active interest in listening to music for pleasure, whether live or recorded, and I am more grateful than ever for my ability to appreciate music, something my time at Cambridge significantly enhanced.   

John Clapham read music at St John’s College, 2011-14, whilst also singing in the St John’s College choir as a Choral Scholar. Since leaving Cambridge, John studied law via the Graduate Diploma in Law conversion course and is now nearing the end of his training contract with Macfarlanes LLP, a London-based law firm. Away from law, John continues to sing with a number of professional church choirs in London.