UK Music launches Skills Academies

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Some interesting news from the world of Vocational Education and Music Industry Training here in the UK.

UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, managers, music publishers, studio producers and collecting societies, have joined forces with Creative & Cultural Skills to launch The UK Music Skills Academy, the first industry-led effort to improve recruitment practices in the music business.

Music Week, the leading Music Industry trade publication in the UK, has more here: http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/uk-music-skills-academy-launches-to-bridge-gap-between-education-and-music-industry/055330

Andrew Dubber’s “20 Things You Must Know About Online Music”

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Andrew Dubber is Professor of Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University. He’s a member of the Centre for Media and Cultural Research, and is Award Leader for the MA in Music Industries (which can be studied online via distance learning from anywhere in the world) and also runs the MA in Music Radio.

He is the founder of New Music Strategies, a pan-European music consultancy and strategy organisation focusing primarily on non-commercial and social projects that use music to improve lives. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Bandcamp. He can be found online at http://andrewdubber.com

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His 2007 eBook, “The 20 Things You Must Know About Online Music“, has been downloaded thousands of times and has been made available in several different languages, including German, Chinese and Portuguese. The book is a prime example of how research activity at BCU is translated into practical engagement with the music industries. It’s currently being updated and incorporated into the much bigger and more comprehensive book, Music In The Digital Age.

Download the free eBook – The 20 Things You Must Know About Online Music

Varna, Bulgaria Mobility, May 2013

In May 2013 Matt Grimes and I were part of the BCU delegation that went on a mobility to Varna, Bulgaria as part of the IMMHIVE project.

Matt is the Degree Leader for Music Industries here at BCU, whilst I am a visiting lecturer on the same degree course. Our task for the 3-day visit was to undertake an investigation into the music scene in the city, and in particular to explore vocational education, music heritage and tourism, and the music industries.

We were fortunate enough to meet a few people from Varna who were heavilty involved in the independent music scene in the city. They were kind enough to sit and be interviewed.

Maria Grozeva is a music journalist with experience of working in Varna and elsewhere in Bulgaria. She is also a university graduate and had some useful insights into vocational education in Bulgaria.

Kobo Tsetkov is a musician who plays in a number of bands, most notably the Ska-Punk band High 5. In the video he talks about the local music scene, and also how he was taught to play guitar by a famous Bulgarian jazz-man.

As well as being kind enough to talk to us at length about their own experiences, Kobo and Maria also took us on a tour of musical points of interest in the city. This short video is an edited version of what was a fascinating and often very funny tour.

Maria, Kobo and others we met reported feeling ‘outside’ of the dominant culture in Varna. So much so that different sub-cultural groups (punks, Hip Hop fans, metal fans) often grouped together and acted as one larger group, which is interesting if you consider the often tribal nature and behaviour of sub-cultural groups in the UK. The Metal Shop in the city also served as the only dedicated outlet for Hip Hop, which would appear to support this.

Varna is located on the Black Sea and, along with being a port, is a popular seaside resort. Along the beachfront there are numerous nightclubs and bars offering various forms of music-related entertainment. By far the most popular, it would seem, is a form of music known as Shalga. A Bulgarian student here at BCU advised us ahead of our trip that Shalga had taken many of the visually prominent images often associated with certain types of US Hip Hop (expensive cars, jewellery, semi-naked women, etc) as it’s basis. This would certainly seem to be born out in the way in which Shalga is promoted around the city.

Matt and I also had some time during which we explored on our own, and we managed to take a lot of photographs between us. Hopefully these, along with the videos above, convey a sense of what we found during our visit.

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The origins of the Birmingham Music Archive

The Birmingham Music Archive was created by BCU’s Jez Collins and aims to celebrate and preserve the rich musical heritage of the city that gave the world Black Sabbath, UB40, Dexys Midnight Runners, Duran Duran, and many, many more,

In this short video, made for the Independent Music Innovation course developed in 2013 by BCU staff, Jez talks about his motivation for setting up Birmingham Music Archive and how the origins of the archive relate to innovation and entrepreneurship in the music industries

Independent Music Innovation – Jez Collins – Entrepreneurship and Innovation from BCMCR on Vimeo.

Independent Music Innovation from Birmingham City University

The Independent Music Innovation course is a 2-day programme designed by staff of the School of Media at Birmingham City University aimed at individuals and organisations operating in the local independent music industries

The 2-day course will address concepts surrounding the operation of independent music businesses in the Digital Age, with the aim of aiding participants in the creation of a new online business tool, product, or service that will enhance the performance of their operation and help make their businesses more sustainable.

This course is suitable for people working in one or more of the following areas and organisations: Record Production; Record Labels; Artist Management; Live Music Promotion; Music PR; Bands/Artists/Musicians; Sound Engineering; Music Journalism; Music Photography; Music Video

During the course attendees will:

  • Evaluate their own business activity in relation to the wider music industries
  • Examine the present industrial and economic landscape as it relates to their business activity
  • Explore concepts regarding sustainability, productivity, and entrepreneurship
  • Identify new opportunities and areas for growth
  • Create a new online product, service, or business tool that will aid the operation of their organisation.

For a more information about the course visit the Independent Music Innovation website

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.”

Future of Music in the Digital World, Dublin, June 2013

This is a guest post by Andrew Dyce, a lecturer in music and music business at Perth College UHI. Andrew is also an artist manager and co-founder of Glasgow based label, Saraseto Records. He liveblogged the Future of Music in the Digital World Conference held in Dublin in June 2013 and captured it all in this Storify.

The Future of Music in the Digital World conference, hosted by the Contemporary Music Centre, explored the opportunities and concerns that the digital music industries have proposed.

Keynote speaker Julie Feeney, articulated her own approach to engaging her audiences through social media, whilst encouraging artists to choose and utilise their own tools carefully. Andrew Dubber, expanded on his concept of ‘Experimental Pragmatism’, asserting that artists should feel free to customise and only use tools that meet their needs.

Perhaps the most frequent concern raised during the conference, was the complicated and often non-existent income streams available to artists, labels and publishers. Artists expressed concerns regarding revenue and the popularity of streaming. Once heralded as the future of the music industry, streaming platforms have yet to generate meaningful income for artists and there is little evidence to suggest that will change anytime soon. There is some evidence of growth in Scandinavian markets, although, for the moment at least, these signs of growth are isolated (IFPI, 2013). Although the expectations the recording industry has of streaming to return significant revenue appear optimistic at best and, at worst, misplaced.

As Frank Oteri acknowledged, new technologies have brought with them significant new opportunities for the music industry. Perhaps the most important opportunity is for the music industry itself; a genuine chance to abandon outdated and often restrictive business models in favour of an open, participative approach which encourages collaboration to face new challenges collectively.

Special thanks to Paul Long and Jez Collins at BCU for their hospitality and banter.