Although it’s already March I wish you all a Happy and Productive New Year! Be it professional or personal growth, I wish you the best of luck in anything you put your minds to! Like I said in my last post, I would like to share with you a recent and exciting accomplishment of mine. At that moment I didn’t really know whether it would turn out to be a success or not, but now I do, so here it is: I got accepted for a Master Degree in Sound and Music Computing at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona!
It might not sound like such a great deal as I am in my final year so I was expecting to make a decision on my future. But it really is to me because of 2 main reasons:
1. I found a CS branch that I am very excited about;
2. I will get a whole new life experience in Barcelona!
So how did I discover this programme? Well, it was partly accidentally! I was mainly looking into AI related masters in Europe, and found a few interesting ones but I didn’t feel that sparkling desire for pursuing any of them. And then I started thinking that maybe I should work out what exactly it is that I truly enjoy the most – and my only straightforward answer was music. And as I have a degree in Computer Science and I like its technical side, I simply googled Music Computing and there it was!
The programme combines subjects like signal processing, machine learning and cognitive science to emphasise multiple perspectives of sound and music and allow researchers to use these in useful contexts. For example, they had projects like playing music with eye movements for people with disabilities or understanding various cultures through analysing their traditional music.
My first interest on the topic is analysing the relation between music and sentiments, as I strongly believe that music affects us in much more powerful ways than we can imagine. And because of that, I would like to research for new ways of aiding individuals who are struggling with either physical diseases, mental issues or just wondering what song to listen to perfectly match their mood. My final year project in simulating neurons spiking also sparkled my interest to better understand what is going on in our brains, so it would be quite interesting to also create a model of how music is constantly tuning the connections within our neural networks.
The university – Universitat Pompeu Fabra is not a huge one, but it is one of the fastest-rising young universities in the world and it is located right next to the beach of Barcelona. My programme is provided by the Department of Information and Communication Technologies and is highly interconnected to the Music Technology Group (MTG) – you can have a look at some of their very interesting projects and software tools: https://www.upf.edu/web/mtg/ongoing-projects .
Where the Universitat Pompeu Fabra is based in Barcelona…
The application process is mainly based on a motivational essay, your CV and your grades, along with an academic recommendation. It is not a very complex process, but you do need to show passion for the subject you want study. Looking back to the essay I have written for The University of Manchester, I remember that one of my long term goals at that stage was to create amazing stuff by combining technology with art. I guess I was quite right about that, wasn’t I?
In regards to moving to Barcelona, I guess I was waiting for this moment for a long time. Manchester has taught me a lot, but the most important thing is that when the time is to move on, you need to find the right place for you. And by right I don’t mean the place with the most palm trees, but the one where the energy feels right, where you truly connect with people and of course, where the work you’re doing excites you.
Before getting my acceptance letter from UPF, I was actually about to apply for other Masters on the same topic, so if you think that you might be interested, there are these other programmes that I have discovered in Europe: Music and Acoustic Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, in Italy and Sound and Music Computing at Aalborg University, in Denmark.
Finally, I hope that I successfully shared my excitement with you and you are now more curious to look further than your speciality or degree, maybe even create your own niche of research. The possibilities are literally and provably endless!