Scholars Spotlight: Gemma Sapp

We’re delighted to be launching a new feature here on ‘Music Matters,’ profiling students who are part of this year’s new crop of University Music Scholars. We kick-start the series this week as we meet bassoonist Gemma Sapp.


Hi, I’m Gemma. I have joined Kent to do my MA in Theatre Dramaturgy (yes this is a subject!). One of the reasons I chose to come to Kent was its wide range of musical activities and the chance to be awarded a scholarship for musical ability. Having recently completed my undergrad in classical music from the University of Liverpool, I wanted to find a university that both satisfied what I wanted from my course and that had a strong musical ethos and Kent had both of these things.

Music has always been my love in life, and from starting recorder lessons at the age of six, I haven’t put an instrument down. I specialise in woodwind, mainly bassoon and saxophone and before heading to university I was part of Somerset County Youth Concert band and had started playing for many local choral societies and operatic societies. During my time at Liverpool University, I worked my way through the ranks to become President of Liverpool University Music Society in my final year. This meant organising, running and playing in the groups and organising their finances and concerts. I was also playing in and helping to run the University Symphony Orchestra which brought together all of the universities across Liverpool together to play. While at uni I started to play professionally in pit orchestras across the North West including a two week stint at The Lowry, Salford playing for the revival of Chorus Line.

Moving down to Kent has been hard. When your contacts, pupils, mentors and friends are hundreds of miles away it can feel leave you feeling very isolated. However, there is always a band or orchestra who will let you play and I am now a member of the University Orchestra, Wind Band, Big Band and we have recently started a wind ensemble playing some finger-busting Mozart. From involving myself in these and getting to know the staff I have found work with Sandwich and District Choral Society (from which I found another contact…) and hopefully some pit work later in the year. I also have a couple of pupils again. I love teaching. Seeing someone improve, develop and enjoy music is a joy and privilege. In the last week I have also been elected to one of the positions for Post-Grad rep for the Music Society so expect to see me around a lot more.

I’m sorry this has gone on a bit but when I start talking about music I really can’t stop. The title of this blog sums it up for me, ‘Music Matters – Because it does, doesn’t it?’. Yes. Quite simply, it does.

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