Hi Daniel, congratulations on passing your viva! How does it feel?!
Thanks! Above all else I feel distracted by the next things on my plate, but it certainly feels good to be done, and I feel like the viva process etc. really made me earn the award.
What was your PhD title?
Conceptualising Choral Play: The Creative Experience of Aleatory Choral Music
Can you explain in a couple of sentences what your PhD was about?
I was researching how singers construct parameters and processes as they perform improvisatory choral music (which is something you see fairly often in choral repertoire since the 60s), as well as how those constructions were exchanged among performers (often in an embodied way). I also transcribed and analysed some performances of aleatory scores, to get a different perspective on how they are performed.
Can you sum up your PhD experience in three words?
No, but I can in 4: one of many commitments.
What was the viva like?
They jumped right in on some very challenging questions, and really pushed to get answers that were as thorough and specific as they wanted. They made me work for it! Though it felt quite intense, it was also relatively short.
What are your top tips to someone preparing for their viva?
- Know what you wrote inside and out, and do some reading around it.
- Know your external examiner’s work thoroughly.
- Do what you need to do – by this stage in your life and career, you know how you best work, and know to revise/re-immerse yourself in the material, so don’t get psyched out by the abundance of advice, systems, and tricks people will doubtless inundate you with.
Any advice you’d tell your earlier PhD self now you’ve made it to the other side?
Spend more time planning the structure of your thesis, and the very clear logical flow of your argument (not leaving anything unexplained, and ensuring that every concept is clarified at the earliest logical place – treat it like a mathematical proof, almost). A really thorough outline can be made into fully-written material extremely easily.
What are you up to now and any exciting plans for the future?
Finishing a couple of articles, teaching at the Conservatoire, and getting back into being a practising artist!
Thanks so much for your time, Daniel, we wish you all the best for the future!