Meet Chloe Uhrmacher, Diploma in Music student, University of Melbourne

Diploma in Music student Chloe Uhrmacher. Photo by Giulia McGauran.
Diploma in Music student Chloe Uhrmacher. Photo by Giulia McGauran.

French horn player Chloe Uhrmacher is in the final year of a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne with a concurrent Diploma in Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. So, how can she combine those twin passions?

As told to Kelly Southworth.

I grew up in the United States, but when I was in Year 10 I came to Melbourne to visit family. We rode past the University of Melbourne on a tram, and I remember saying to my mum, “Wouldn’t it be really cool if I could study there?”

I started researching the courses and programs the University offered. I’ve always had a passion for music, and wanted to be able to continue my study of music seriously beyond high school. I found I could study science with a major in Physiology while also studying music at the Melbourne Conservatorium – a combination not offered by many universities in the US. The University of Melbourne quickly became the top option for my studies.

I usually have a mix of science and music classes every day. For example, I’ll start early with a Physiology class, followed by Music History and a horn class at the Conservatorium, and I then head to the medical building for my Anatomy practical. I usually end up at the Southbank Campus in the evening, practising music with my friends.

I feel my education is well-rounded because of my involvement in the Diploma in Music. My science studies exercise the analytical and logical side of my mind, while my music studies allow me to be creative and artistic.

I get to experience incredible opportunities in both departments, from working with world-class French horn players to studying groundbreaking research about the human body. There’s never a dull moment, and I always have so much to learn.

It can be difficult and tiring to do a bachelors and a diploma simultaneously. You have to be responsible, organised and diligent to get all your work done to a high standard and on time. It can be overwhelming if you’re not careful, but making time for yourself among all your responsibilities is so important. It allows you to reset and refocus on what you need to do to reach your goals.

I try to make time most days for the things I really love, like going for a run or cooking for my friends. I’m also a member of the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra – it still involves my passion for music, but allows me to make new friends and play amazing concerts outside of uni.

I’m inspired every day by the many incredible women in my life. They’ve worked so hard to carve out their own place in the world, by pushing through and overcoming any challenges. Growing up, I was always told that I could do anything I set my mind to, and I think the emphasis on determination and hard work got me where I am today.

I’m planning to continue my studies after I graduate from my Bachelor of Science this year. I’m going to extend my Diploma in Music to qualify for a Bachelor of Music, and I then plan to enrol in the Doctor of Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne. I want to become a physiotherapist specifically for musicians, and the combination of the Doctor of Physiotherapy and Bachelor of Music will be crucial in making that dream come to life.

Physiotherapy for musicians is a niche market, but one that people should be more aware of than they are now. Musicians are so hard on their bodies. Hours of practice and playing can cause overuse injuries, just like it can for athletes. I want to be able to help musicians to play more effectively while reducing the risk of injury.

To create an uncommon career for yourself is difficult, and to pursue it in a new way is even more challenging. One of my favourite quotes is: “Keep your feet on the ground and your head among the stars”.

You have to know it may take a while to reach your dreams, but always remember that you can achieve them and that they’re worth every ounce of hard work you’re putting in now.