Arts Emergency

Sarah Kerton

Access and Widening Participation Coordinator

When I was 15 years old, I kept a University of Salford prospectus under my bed. I knew it was the best place in Europe to study popular music. I used to come home from school every night, practice my bass for hours on end, and dream that one day I might be able to go to music school. I never thought I was good enough, and didn’t connect the way I made music with what it’s education looked like. My friends played euphoniums and tubas and talked about going to the Royal Northern College – they played in orchestras and it was totally understood that for them, a ‘proper’ music degree was perfectly viable. I was very good with maths and numbers, a skill that is essential for musicians actually, and my pathway was to be in physics.

For many young people, due to their backgrounds, their financial situations and their upbringing, even the potential of going to University is off limits. This is something that must be addressed, and must be rectified. For many more, while they have University in their sights, their choices and options are limited, often due to a lack of information and guidance. I want to show young people and their parents that their is success to be had with an arts degree, and that its not throwing away your options to go and hone your craft. I was lucky. I had a music teacher who encouraged me, and parents who trusted me to make my own decisions. I graduated at 22 with a First Class Honours degree in Popular Music and Recording. I had the best three years of my life, have had a wonderful career playing in bands around the world, teaching music and running arts charities and now I work to encourage brilliant young people to chase their dreams and access Higher Education… and I still play my bass everyday.

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