Studying music in London: How to prepare

Check out some essential advice on how to prepare for the start of the next academic year...


If you're studying music in London with ICMP this September, then the start of the term is fast approaching. 

If you're a new student, you'll be thinking about many things - from what to take with you to the best budgeting tips, we've got you covered here in the first of our blogs on how to get ready. Check out this essential advice from our outgoing Student President and artist Aislin Evans. Aislin graduates from our Songwriting course this year so is well placed to give her insight. Read her tips for new students below. If you're still looking for something to study this September, then check out our course availability... 

What would be your top tip for anyone starting at ICMP this September?

Be prepared to be overwhelmed with information during induction. Don’t try to remember it all, and always ask if you forget something. You’re going to meet a lot of new people and it’s going to be exhausting - so look after yourself in the first few weeks.

How can you best prepare for university life?

Learn to cook basic meals.

If you live off ready meals and takeout you’re going to be broke by week three. Most of your weekly shop should be ingredients for home cooking."  

Also get to grips with the basics of home cleaning and, most importantly, time management. There’s so much going on, and if you want to study while making the most of every opportunity available to you, you’ll want to keep an eye on your stress levels and avoid burnout.

Are there any things you wish you’d known before starting?

Unfortunately, London estate agents have no shame. Be doubly careful with any housing arrangements, make sure your deposit goes into a verified protection scheme, and be prepared to have a hard time. London is so worth it, but don’t let any estate agent pressure you just because you’re a student and look easily gullible.

Are there any do’s and don’ts you associate with your first week at ICMP?  


Download the Outlook app on your phone and sign in with your new ICMP email address. You’ll have access to your ICMP emails and your up-to-date timetable on one app. It’s really essential.

Register with your local GP, especially if you’re on medication that needs renewing. Get set up with a doctor and book an introductory appointment asap to avoid the dread of having a medical/medication emergency with nowhere to go.

Scout out your local area. Find the nearby supermarkets, get to know the nearby transport and bus lines (the Jubilee line and Brondesbury Overground are your friends for anyone studying at ICMP) and generally take time to get settled in your neighbourhood.

Be a tourist! Once term gets fully in motion, you won’t have much time to explore London, so soak it up in the first few weeks and remind yourself why you came to study here.


Wear yourself out. Moving to a new city, meeting loads of new people and being overloaded with information is going to take its toll.

‘Freshers flu’ is a real thing with your body adjusting to all the new bacteria it’s encountering. Make sure you prioritise self care and your health at this time (and all times!)."

Have you any advice around budgeting/looking after your finances?

Set your expectations straight from the beginning - London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Chances are your maintenance loan won’t even cover your rent, or will leave you very little to live on. Have an honest conversation with your parents to see if they will be able to help you out month to month, or look at some part time work to support your studies. Private music teaching is a great way to get some extra cash. However, we recommend not working for more than 12 hours a week or you won’t have time to do all the work required for your course.

Get a Young Persons railcard and get it connected to your Oyster card for ⅓ off off-peak fares. It really makes a difference when you travel a lot around London.

As a full time student, you don’t have to pay council tax in the UK. However, the council needs proof of student status, so request this from ICMP as soon as you can and send it to the council, or you could end up owing thousands of pounds to the council. This is really important! 

Check out this blog on budgeting tips at ICMP here

What essential items do you need to take with you to university?

There are countless lists online about what to pack for uni, but my advice is bring some things that will make your space feel like home. It’s likely that your accommodation won’t be luxury living, and having some things that make your space feel like home can help to combat homesickness and make you feel like you belong here, not just sleeping in a lifeless room.

Have you got tips on orienting yourself and creating your student networks?

Get on the ICMP Student Facebook Forum. This is a great online space where people are always looking for band mates and collaborators.

Have a specific interest? Start a society! Gather some interest and get in touch with the Student President to get the ball rolling.

Check out local open mic nights. This blog is a good place to start. 

Once classes have started, set up a class group chat.

Uni is tough and your classmates will be your rocks, and the people that understand you most."  

Start a group chat so you can easily communicate and ask questions with your classmates.

Utilise The Hub. If you’re looking for a specific kind of collaborator or people who are into the same kind of music you are, chances are the team in The Hub can put you in touch with other students at ICMP. They are an invaluable resource and definitely worth getting to know... 

Still looking for more info? Read our #ICMPSpotlight blog on why London is the best place in the world to study music. 

Study music in London with ICMP

If you're interested in developing your musicianship, learning from our regular industry guests and collaborating within the vibrant ICMP creative community, then speak to our Admissions Team. They're on hand to help you find the right course that matches your ability and aspirations.

Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

Find your course


by Aislin Evans
August 15, 2018
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