Zosia Herlihy-O'Brien

Bachelor of Music student Zosia tells us about her first year at university.

Zosia Herlihy-O’Brien, School of Music student
Zosia Herlihy-O’Brien

"My journey into music started at a young age, having played the violin since I was four years old. Growing up, I was honoured to be a part of the Pettman Academy for Music, which is a nationally recognised music institution for classical performers.

"I spent many of my Saturdays at the School of Music studying musicianship and theory, before moving into orchestral performance and chamber music practice. Because this programme is an active feeder into national tertiary programmes, it felt natural that I would study a Bachelor of Music.

I was definitely excited coming to study at the University. Like everyone else here, I have a dream of becoming a professional musician, and so it helps being surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Zosia Herlihy-O'Brien

"During orientation, I was lucky to be surrounded by students I already knew from competitions and music ensembles like the National Youth Orchestra. It was an excellent opportunity to meet new people who I’d be studying with, and to connect with other new students - usually by asking what instrument they played. After completing DELNA testing, we had lunch at the School of Music and discussed the year ahead. I was thrilled to meet everyone and think about the three or four year journeys ahead of us.

"I am now under the tutelage of Andrew Beer, concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. Working with Andrew has been great, especially with the career he has behind him. We do a lot of primary performance practice, but I’ve also appreciated learning a lot of technique as well.

"Learning how to relax the body more while playing has been essential. I love performing; it’s something for which I have a great passion. It has helped me to connect a lot with friends, both in my year and the years above me. Being able to attend some of the recitals of third-year and postgraduate students is encouraging for me, as one day it will be my turn.

"A big challenge for me this year has been with over-commitment. There are so many things to be involved in or concerts to be a part of that you often have endless opportunities. Overcoming this for me included using a calendar effectively to ensure I knew what was happening when, and learning to say no to honour commitments already made.

"Looking ahead, I am excited about going into my second year of study. 
Rounding up this year, I have learnt many things, but perhaps most surprisingly I’ve realised that going to the gym has helps a lot! Stamina and endurance are essential to me, especially when I have to perform thirty-minute musical pieces.

"I am determined to become a soloist and travel the world, learning from different places and doing something I am so passionate about."