From ‘The Wire’ Magazine: Preserving Sound: A documentary on the British Library’s Sound Archive

The Wire describes itself as ‘an independent, monthly music magazine covering a wide range of alternative, underground and non-mainstream music’. 

This video linked here will prove instructive to those interested in music heritage and preservation. As described on the magazine’s website:

“The Wire takes a tour of the British Library’s Sound Archive, deep below its London residences on the Euston Road, to talk about sound conservation and take a tour of its collections with some of its key sound curators.

“The 20th century was about audiovisual material, our memory of the 20th century is heavily audiovisual, but our sense of the 21st century is going to be a different kind of audiovisual… archiving is not going to be so much about what we can bring in, but about what to exclude,” says Will Prentice, British Library Audio Engineer and Conservation Specialist.

Nathan Budzinski interviews Popular Music Curator Andy Linehan, Audio Engineer, Conservation specialist Will Prentice, and Wildlife Sounds Curator Cheryl Tipp.”

http://vimeo.com/74616017

Vocational Music Education in Birmingham

Here is a round-up of the Education Institutions in Birmingham, UK, offering vocational music education courses:

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Birmingham City University

Website: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/

“As the driving force behind the creative provision at Birmingham City University, the Faculty of Performance, Media and English comprises four distinctive centres of creative excellence based across the city: Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham School of Acting, the School of English and Birmingham School of Media”

Undergraduate courses include:

BA (Hons) Media and Communication – Music Industries

BSc (Hons) Music Technology

BMus Popular Music

BA (Hons) Music Business (offered in Partnership with Access to Music)

Post-graduate courses include:

MA Music Industries

MMus / PGDip Music Technology

MA Music Radio

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Birmingham Ormiston Academy

Website: http://www.boa-academy.co.uk/welcome.html

“Birmingham Ormiston Academy is an independent state-funded 14-19 Academy specialising in Creative, Digital and Performing Arts.

The Academy is now open in a brand new landmark building, geographically placed in an area at the hub of the digital and creative industries. It has superb facilities for academic, vocational and extra-curricular activities and will be at the forefront of the development of creative and digital arts.

Outstanding teaching coupled with constant support and guidance will underpin your personalised learning experiences. The curriculum is designed to develop the specific identified talents, gifts and potential of each student.

Performance, performing, production, creativity and excellence will be at the centre of your experiences. You will be taught by a combination of excellent teachers and skilled industry professionals. Admission to the academy will be via aptitude workshops within the key specialisms.”

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South & City College Birmingham

Website: www.sccb.ac.uk

“South and City College Birmingham is Birmingham’s newest and biggest college. Formed on 1 August 2012 through the merge of South Birmingham College and City College Birmingham, we provide vocational education to around 25,000 students.

With outstanding facilities, excellent pass rates and the only college in Birmingham to be awarded with Beacon status – recognition of excellence and innovation, South and City College Birmingham offer 100’s of courses from Level 1 to higher education for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Our music and performing arts courses in Birmingham are perfect if you want a career on, or behind the stage. Learning in our outstanding facilities and meeting industry experts will make you stand out from the crowd. We have a range of performing arts courses, music technology courses and music production courses in Birmingham from level 1 right up to higher education. We also have short and part time music courses and performing arts courses.”

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Access To Music, Birmingham

Website: http://www.accesstomusic.co.uk/centres/birmingham

“Learning with Access to Music is an exciting and unique experience which is refreshingly different to being in a big school or college. We are 100% dedicated to music and we work with people who are equally passionate about music.

Access to Music Birmingham runs from a commercial rehearsal and studio business which means that your place of learning is at the heart of the regional music scene.

Our staff are all experienced musicians and they get to know who you are and what you want to be. We have a proven track record of students going on to university and into the industry (e.g. EZ Rollers and Lady Leshuur).

Access to Music Birmingham benefits from being part of the UK’s leading popular music college which has pioneered popular music education in this country for 20 years. This means your education and training is quality-assured by our national team. Access to Music designs is own music qualifications in partnership with Rockschool so our courses are the most up-to-date and relevant for 16-18s looking to get into the music industry.

Finally, Birmingham is a great place to study music with a really vibrant music culture and we offer plenty of opportunities to get out and perform or work at venues and festivals. You’ll also benefit from the amazing industry opportunities provided by Atom Live.”

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Bournville College

Website: http://www.bournville.ac.uk/

  • Mission statement: To be the education and training provider of first choice
  • Bournville College was established in 1913 (then known as Bournville Day Continuation School) by George Cadbury.
  • The function of the school was ‘to provide young people with a sound general education which will fit them to meet the demands of life and work in the best possible way’.
  • In 1973, Bournville College relocated to a new campus on Bristol Road South in Birmingham, which it occupied till 2011.
  • In September 2011, Bournville College relocated to a new £66 million purpose built campus in Longbridge, kick-starting wider regeneration of the area after the collapse of MG-Rover in 2005. Click here to find out more about our new campus.
  • The new campus features state-of-the-art facilities which include Mac suites, motor vehicle maintenance workshops, music studios, training kitchens, over 1000 computers, Wi-Fi internet access, 3D cinema room, online learning material, conference centre for 200 delegates and much more.
  • The new campus also offers commercial facilities available to everyone, including: Urban Elegance hair salon, Urban Serenity beauty salon, Urban Flavours restaurant and Urban Fitness.
  • Bournville College offers courses for school leavers, adults, employers and international students.
  • Qualifications include A Levels, BTECs, NVQs, Apprenticeships, Higher Education and bespoke training for businesses.
  • Bournville College is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all students and to providing a positive environment where everyone can learn and work together.

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Academy of Music & Sound, Birmingham

Website: http://www.academyofmusic.ac.uk/locations/location.php?id=6

“The Academy of Music & Sound’s oldest centre opened in Birmingham in 2001 above the then music retail giant Sound Control; later taking on the whole building when Sound Control and its successor Reverb ceased trading.

The Academy of Music & Sound originally offered just Music Technology courses and lessons, only moving into instrument specific courses in 2004. Since then the offer has grown significantly and Birmingham now offers private lessons, short courses, BTEC programmes, Foundation Degrees and an Honours Degree programme.

Having outgrown the old premises the Academy of Music & Sound moved into modern premises just up the road in the summer of 2012 – a truly 21st century music centre. The new centre offers students their own venue, music shop, recording studios, Mac Suite, drum studio, rehearsal rooms,  various teaching rooms, keyboard facilities and a student lounge.”

Berlin visit 3-5 May 2013 Part II

While visiting NewThinking, Andrea and I bumped into her colleague Andreas Gebhard, who, similarly to Andrea, was also very actively involved in the orgainising of re:publica conference, to commence the following week. We engaged in conversation, and Andreas invited me to a two-day workshop on cultural entrepreneurship starting the next day, called WSLab. The workshop was one of the preliminary events leading up to the conference. I arrived at Station Berlin – a renovated industrial premises – without having a clear idea of what our task would be, and no idea regarding who else would be participating. When I got to the venue, the preparations for the following week’s conference were already well under way, with boxes being assembled, placed on top of one another all over the spacious warehouse hall.

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The workshop was spread over two rooms in a different hall. Various sheets – to be filled in later – decorated the walls and the desks, felt tip pens and markers were in abundance. The beginning of the workshop was unconventional in the sense that we omitted introductions – so up to the point, about an hour in, when we sat down in alternating small groups to brainstorm together, we had no idea who everyone else was or why they were here, but this in my opinion was beneficial to the working process. (We later had plenty of time to get to know each other better during the end-of-the day beer garden event, where we joined forces with another pre-re:publica workshop).

The initial, warm-up rounds began with discussing ad defining creativity and the significance of creativity in one’s personal and professional life, as well as in relation to communities and society. It was from here that the workshop gradually shifted to more focused group work around more specifically defined questions, but never moving too far from the central question, namely:  ‘How could we enable and promote creative spaces to influence global action?‘ The workshop used so-called open storytelling as method, building on the stages of (1) empathy; (2) define; (3) ideate; and (4) test. It seemed to be an efficient method of gradually drawing up precise scenarios from a bunch of vague ideas at the start.

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The workshop continued the following day (when I was no longer able to attend), and the results were later presented at re:publica.

Berlin visit 3-5 May 2013 Part I

Since my first visit to Berlin in September 2012 consisted only of one evening and one full day, and I used most of that time to observe All2gethernow’s music conference at Noisy Musicworld, I decided to return to do some further exploration of the city and its music heritage, as well as to become more familiar with Newthinking and All2gethernow. My host Andrea Goetzke made sure that I was able to do both.

In particular, upon Jez Collins’ recommendation, I was interested in visiting the Ramones Museum (truly amazing experience, especially for a Ramones fan like myself!) and participating in Fritz Music Tours. The latter on this occasion included a two-hour tour of Hansa Studios, led by Thilo (previously interviewed by Jez), which was then followed by a bus tour primarily centred around places related to David Bowie, as well as Iggy Pop, Nick Cave and others. Since Jez already reported on both the museum and the tour, I just want to mention how fascinating I found the sense of place the tour managed to convey – a sense of Berlin as a city for music making and creative inspiration sought out by people coming from various other parts of the world, both in the past, i.e. the Wall era, and in the present. Thilo’s amazing collection of photographs, which he showed us one by one as we moved from one room of Hansa Studios to another, or his demonstration of the Studio 1 mixing desk through playing music that was recorded at Hansa (Bowie’s Baal, U2’s One) made these locations feel less like the locus of heritage, and more a continuous, living source of exciting cultural activity.

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This sense was reaffirmed by a Bowie-themed exhibition (A Tribute to David Bowie HAUPTSTRASSE. The Berlin Years 1978-1978) at the small Egbert Bacqué Contemporary Art Gallery, where the bus tour ended. We were treated to an exciting introduction by Bacqué, the exhibition’s curator. As we learnt, upon hearing about Bowie’s new album, announced on the 8th January 2013 along with the release of a video for the new song “Where Are We Now” – a retrospective of Bowie’s Berlin years, which was in fact frequently referred to during the bus tour –, Bacqué immediately decided to alter the previously planned spring programme for the gallery and organise instead a homage to the artist. Photographer Joachim Seinfeld was commissioned to take photos of various sites significant in the Bowie story; besides these photos and the accompanying explanations, the exhibition also featured the work of various local artists inspired by David Bowie.ImageImage

Later I also spent some time walking around the Kreuzberg area, observing the variety of subcultural venues, and visiting places like the refugee tents in Oranienplatz – see the attached photos.

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Image(To be continued with a report on the 4th May WSLab workshop organised by Newthinking)

Music and Interactive Media – Examples from Groningen/Eurosonic Noorderslag

One of the reasons why the meeting at Groningen proved important in terms of the overall purposes of the project is that here, the relationship between music and new/interactive media gained more emphasis than during our previous Leonardo meetings. This is in part thanks our hosts Ard Boer and Eva van Netten and New Music Labs – a very exciting, dynamic enterprise developing interactive digital solutions for a variety of music projects, located in a pleasant office on Brugstraat whose interior attests to creativity and subcultural credibility (see photos). (As an aside: walking in Groningen, I was struck by the multiplicity of small galleries, busy workshops, (sub)cultural venues and stores, indicative of the amount of creative activity in the city.)

Eurosonic Noorderslag (as is mentioned in Ann Branch’s talk) also devoted a lot of time and space to the digital shift, framing it more in terms of opportunities and creative solutions than challenges. We heard presentations about the new, and already hugely popular French on-demand music streaming service, Deezer (also available in Hungary, as opposed to, for instance, Spotify, along with 160 countries worldwide – but not yet in the US). Another exciting service that I had not heard about previously is 22tracks – which is also streaming site, but based on selected DJs curating 22 songs according to 22 different genres, in different locations, such as London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. The idea is that individual curation can act as a guide amongst the vast amount of music online. Furthermore, the individual tastes of the DJs are also supposed to represent the given city, the local character, as well as a particular genre.

Ard also introduced his own app, Giglocker:

[wpvideo JXJankXe]

 

However, the main excitement was the Interactive Awards panel and ceremony the next day, where Ard won the Artist award with his fabulous augmented reality app for the band BLØF.

Here is Ard explaining augmented reality during the interrogation phase:

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And demonstrating how it works:

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Congratulations, Ard!

The Company award was won by the equally fascinating Vyclone – a social video platform that enables members of an audience (or any people gathered within the same space) to upload their iPhone/iPad video footage, which material will then be edited together automatically and the end result published on the website. The platform is based on the idea of Joe Sumner (you can read about it here), and has already been used by such artists as Madonna, Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons and Alice Cooper. It appears to be a wonderful way of conjoining fans and artists within the creative process, illustrating the overall trend of consumers becoming active producers through via interactive online media. It also makes use of a vast amount of fan material that exists out there anyway, and would otherwise remain marginal. Lastly, there are great possibilities in applying the editing algorithm within a variety of fields. 

The online platform of Eurosonic Noorderslag itself provided a good example of interacivity, with the possibility of personalising the programme. Also, our wristbands containted a chip that was scanned during the evening gigs when we entered and left a venue. Based on this information, the following morning we received a personalised email notification containing the list of gigs we had attended, which was indeed really handy (the idea is thus similar to Giglocker). Moreover, you were also able to scan your wristband at panels in order to get additional materials emailed to you (slides, links), where it was available.

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