We know the path to success doesn’t always go smoothly, so we asked our lecturers about the ups and downs on their path to the University of Brighton. Today it’s Johanna Bramli, who runs our digital music and sound art degree and says: “it’s a cliché story but it was thanks to a fantastic music teacher who saw through my quiet ways and believed in me that I found my confidence.”
Hi Jo. So, tell us, what were you like at school? Were you a diligent pupil?
“I was terribly shy, the thought of speaking in class would absolutely petrify me. But little by little I did come out of my shell, mainly through creative means. I was a pretty good student though but would often shock teachers who didn’t expect bold radical work from such a quiet mouse!”
“I would often shock teachers who didn’t expect bold radical work
from such a quiet mouse!”
Why did you decide to go to university?
“I did my schooling in Belgium and didn’t find any higher education opportunities that would inspire me. I knew I wanted to do music but didn’t care for the traditional route. I’d gone to the music conservatory in Brussels straight after school but quickly realised this wasn’t for me. I found a music course at Goldsmiths College, London which appealed to my experimental and creative mind.”
How did you decide which subject to study?
“I initially thought I would study a subject within the humanities, but in my last year of high school, I realised it could only be music. It’s a cliché story but it was thanks to a fantastic music teacher who saw through my quiet ways and believed in me that I found my confidence.”
“It’s a cliché story but it was thanks to a fantastic music teacher who saw through my quiet ways and believed in me that I found my confidence”
What did you do after graduation and why did you choose that path?
“University opened my mind and my creativity but I didn’t get enough practical experience on the course which was something I knew I needed, especially as a woman in the music industry. I decided to do a 1-year BTEC course in Music Technology.
“Returning to postgraduate studies after having developed a career in music gave me a very strong focus and helped propel my career further”
“My supervisors at the time advised against this and thought I should progress onto an MA, which I did years later. I’m glad I stuck to my guns; developing a solid grounding in recording and studio skills was an essential part of my journey. Returning to postgraduate studies after having developed a career in music gave me a very strong focus and helped propel my career further.”
At what point did you decide that you wanted to teach others?
“I started teaching music to young children in a local drama/music/dance after-school club whilst at university. I naturally fell into teaching while developing my own practice. I then started teaching vocal technique in a further education college, then experimental composition, music tech and so on. My teaching and creative practices developed hand in hand.”
“I wouldn’t trust myself without doubts, but it’s equally important to reflect back and recognise the distance you’ve travelled”
Was there ever a point where you doubted yourself – where you felt that you weren’t going to achieve your goals?
“Of course! I wouldn’t trust myself without doubts, I think it’s an important aspect of one’s personal, creative and professional growth. But it’s equally important to reflect back once in a while along the way and recognise the distance you’ve travelled.”
Find out about studying Digital Music and Sound Arts BA(Hons) at the University of Brighton.