Shuying Hu from Singapore, is studying MSc Music Therapy full-time at QMU over two years.
Shuying’s first degree was in Environmental Engineering and she was an Assistant English Teacher in Japan before arriving at QMU.
She has enjoyed playing the piano and guitar for a large part of her life, although she was never a professional musician. When she first discovered the field of music therapy, she was fascinated by the meaningful and exciting work that music therapists do.
Why did you choose to study MSc Music Therapy at QMU and in Edinburgh/Scotland?
“I feel that the course will allow me to utilise skills in two areas I’m good at – music and working with children.
“As I began to research on possible places to study music therapy, I zoomed in on QMU’s Music Therapy programme based on a variety of factors. I liked it that the course was under the School of Health Sciences, as my first degree was science-based as well. I also liked that the course was validated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and was recognised by the British Association for Music Therapy.
“Edinburgh looked like a lovely city to live in, not to mention cheaper compared to London!
“It’s been ten years since I obtained my undergraduate degree, and the thought of becoming a full-time student again was exciting and terrifying at the same time. It was not an easy decision to make, and I spent countless nights planning my budget before taking the plunge.”
Did you receive any funding or scholarships as part of your studies at QMU?
“I’m thankful to have received the QMU International Scholarship, which helped a little towards my tuition fees for the first year.
“Postgraduate studies require a lot of discipline and initiative. In the first year, we have classes only two days a week and one day is spent at practice placement. You have the flexibility to plan the rest of your time. For me, it is a delicate balance (or a constant struggle) between finding part-time jobs, doing independent study, and taking time off to relax and socialise.”
Have you received any additional support whilst studying at QMU?
“I’m grateful that my course leader and Personal Academic Tutor are supportive and understanding, and put in the effort to check that we are coping not just with the course work, but also with life as an international student in general.
“It certainly took me awhile to get used to studying in UK as compared to Singapore, and in a music therapy course, which is vastly different from an engineering course.”
How do you think the course is preparing you for you chosen future career?
“Looking back at my three months at QMU so far, I feel that the combination of practice placements, alongside lectures and practical music workshops, allow for quite a well-rounded education and prepares me for employment right after graduation.
“Being linked to a practicing music therapist as part of my coursework allows me to see the actual work happening first-hand, and I’ve had the opportunity to ask both theoretical as well as practical questions to my practice placement educator”
What top tips would you give future MSc Music Therapy students based on your own personal experience?
“Sometimes, when I’m unable to make decisions, I would ask myself – “Which will you regret more? Trying, or not trying?” I decided to make a mid-career switch because I felt that “regretting not trying” would be the bigger regret.
“Even though I’ve only been on the course for three months, and job prospects in Singapore are still uncertain (music therapy is a little-known field and profession in Singapore), I’m very glad I said ‘yes’ to myself and went ahead to pursue MSc Music Therapy with QMU.
“Not having a stable source of income was - and is still - my single biggest worry. Plan your finances well before taking the plunge, but also remain hopeful that hard work will pay off and things will work themselves out.
“I have course-mates who juggle part-time work and full-time studies quite well. I still do not have a stable part-time job yet, although I’ve dabbled in a number of interesting jobs, including online tutoring and waitressing. These are things that I wouldn’t have had been able to experiment with while in full-time employment, and I try to enjoy the little random opportunities that come along.”
What are your plans after graduating from QMU?
“At this moment, I’ve not decided whether I will go back home immediately after graduation or work in UK for a while, but it is my wish to eventually return back to Singapore to work. I miss the food, the people, and the sun very much.
“I hope to contribute my skills as a music therapist to the healthcare setting in Singapore, and would like to advocate music therapy as a valuable allied health profession in Singapore.”