Ilana Held - MA Songwriting and Production

Ilana Held from the USA, studying MA  Songwriting and Production

Ilana Held from the USA, studying MA Songwriting and Production

What do you think about the course you are studying?
Studying on this course has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have learned so much and vastly improved my musical abilities. I have also made a lot of amazing friends and connections.

Why did you choose this subject?
Songwriting has always been something I do naturally, and often without even realizing I am doing it. It has always been my passion and my purpose in life. My undergraduate degree was focused on guitar performance, but that was only because my university in the US did not offer a songwriting major. I saw this course as a perfect opportunity to focus on favorite part of being a musician.

How do you think the skills and knowledge you have gained on your course will help you get a job after graduation?
Since beginning this course, I have formed strong bonds with several people whom I believe will prove to be exceptional music industry contacts down the line. I have also learned so much about writing and producing a well crafted song that my own work has improved exponentially. In addition, I have gained a lot more confidence in my abilities to write and produce music, as well as to perform and market myself. I really feel that I found my sound and my place in the industry this year.

Why did you choose to study at University of South Wales?
I chose Cardiff because I have always wanted to spend a year in the UK and London seemed to much like New York for a Bostonian like myself. Furthermore, I chose USW because it felt like home the second I set foot on campus. With a welcoming, collaborative vibe, USW has really made me feel that I belong. Not to mention that this course feels like it was made for me!

Has your learning experience at South Wales been positive (eg support from and communication with teaching staff; facilities like lecture halls, laboratories, IT equipment, Learning Resources Centre)?
Yes, definitely! The teachers I had this year really spent the time to get to know me and went out of their way on several occasions to make sure that my time here was well spent. I can tell that they truly believe in me and want me to succeed! The facilities are excellent too. I have had more access than I ever dreamt of to recording studios and the audio staff have been extremely accessible, providing resources and help in the studios.

What do you think of the leisure facilities, like the Students’ Union and Sports Centre? Do you use them much?
I never really go to Treforest, so I can’t much speak to the sports center, but I spend a lot of time in the Cardiff Students’ Union. I believe that the SU has very much enriched my experience at USW. It has provided me with countless gigging opportunities and publicity. I have also met several of my best friends here at the SU. It is a very valuable part of life at USW.

Have you enjoyed your University experience at South Wales?
Absolutely! My year at USW has probably been the best, most valuable, year of my life so far. I have learned SO much and made so many amazing friends. Not to mention that living in Cardiff has been an amazing experience. It is far away from where I grew up, but it feels like home. I am trying to stay here next year if I can get a visa!

Could you describe your time at University of South Wales using 10 words maximum?
I never truly belonged anywhere until I came here.