UNIT 11: PREPARING FOR PREGESSION IN MUSIC PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTION

Task 1 –

My ambitions are to have a career in the music industry. I plan to go to university and study music business / promotion and I am extremely driven to achieve a job role in the music business. This drive came from my time at Colchester Sixth Form College, where I got in to all my universities to study History. I had always seen music as a side thing and a hobby, however the horrible realisation that I was about to spend 3 years studying something I don’t really like but was the best of a bad bunch of A Levels made me take the jump and study music. Since being at Colchester Institute studying music I have found what I want to do with my career. This course has made me want nothing more than a career in music and speaking to our lecturers and their stories have made me realise that there are a lot more roles than I ever realised. I love performing and writing music in South Hours, however I think a degree in the business side of music will benefit me much more in the long run as I will have a much better understanding of the industry. This will therefore allow me to not be as naïve should the band take off and we start making real money – I will know what I’m talking about. You need to play the long game.

My number one choice of locations for my further studies is London. London always has been and always will be the hub for creative arts and music so the amount of people I will meet and be able to contact when I need them will be immense. I am a confident and straight-shooting person so I think my personality will be perfect for the intensity and efficiency of London, allowing me to create a large list of contacts and even if I decide to start my own PR company for example, I will have a wealth of people to call upon to help me get started and make a living. The phrase ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know’ comes to mind with regards to this and it is completely true. An example of this already happening is with South Hours where Jim showed his friend who works for Spotify our debut single ‘Bruise’ and it was added to an official playlist and boosted our streams tremendously. I hope to be able to do this for other smaller bands in the future and to be a role model like Jim is to us – we have a lot of time and respect for Jim as he’s done a lot of different jobs in the industry and we have learned a lot from him. He is straight up and honest with us and that has influenced us to be the same.

After university I don’t really have a plan. I am hoping that during my 3 years of study in London I have made enough contacts and found a direct path to what I want to do, as oppose to just a job in the industry. Obviously the dream job for me is to make it big with South Hours and this could be achievable, however I need to open as many doors as I can and I am hoping that being in London around like minded, driven individuals will do that for me. There are so many different scenarios it is impossible to choose just one that I want to focus on, for example a friend at university may get in to a PR firm in London and boost South Hours and we make it big, whereas another way could be that Ben Becomes a song writing teacher and I do his taxes because of my knowledge of the music business. There are so many opportunities that I couldn’t tell anyone exactly where my career is going other than in to the music industry.

In regards to my individual guitar playing, I am progressing my sound by adding more effects pedals in to my playing. Up until this year, I have only really used a chorus and built in amp reverb. I am planning to buy an MXR Carbon Copy delay, a TC Electronics HOF reverb and a Tubescreamer TS9. This will take my sound, and the band, to the next level. I noticed when I was trying to find a good tone that it all sounded very flat and wooden, so I am investing in pedals to make myself sound better and in turn, the band. I hope that with both guitar tones from me and Owen nailed, the sound will be 100 times better and then generate more interest in us as our live shows will be much better and we will sound a lot more full. It is all about being and sounding as professional as possible for us and I believe this is a good starting point to achieve this goal. As we earn more money from gigs, I can buy more and better pedals.

 

Task 2 –

https://www.whatuni.com/degree-courses/search?subject=music-business&location=london

This website is where I found my choices for university. I am pretty set on going to London and WhatUni lets you see every university in the UK that offers the course you want. It also includes student reviews and all the essential information you need to make a decision on where you want to commit 3 years of your life, such as tips on the accommodation and what the night life is like in the area.

These reviews are important to me as universities have to sell seats. They will try and convince you to spend your money with them and only show you the best parts, so hearing first hand student accounts of the facilities are vital because you get an idea of what it is genuinely like. Obviously everything is subjective and you need for formulate your own opinion, however if there is something that is genuinely quite wrong then you will see a pattern in the reviews. Nothing will be completely perfect but it’s about finding the thing which will interest you most and be the most fun for you during the 3 years.

Another way I am making the choice as to which university I go to is by attending interviews and open days. I have done this for all of my universities and it helps give me a much better understanding of the campus, course and how my life will be if I decide to study there. This has been very beneficial as it has really narrowed my choices – for example when I visited ICMP, I did not like the area of Kilburn. I didn’t like how dry it was, despite how advanced the university is. It was not for me, so I know if I went to ICMP I would not live in Kilburn. As a result of that, I really dug in to where my universities were located and if I could genuinely imagine living there – I started to think more about where I would be happy rather than how good my degree would look.

From this I have realised that quality of life at university is very important. I will be committing 3 years of my life to studying something and must be happy where I am or else I will really struggle to get along and get through all the work. If I lived somewhere where I didn’t feel safe, couldn’t really afford and hated going home every night then I would stand a poor chance of passing my studies and getting the career I want in the industry. A way to measure how good the quality of life is through reading the student reviews again. These tell you how much it really costs to live, what the area is like and where to avoid. Another thing I did was just visit and spend a day around where I would be living. This is exactly what I did with Southampton and I would feel a lot safer there than in Kilburn. Living comfortably is half the battle at university and it is something that is very important to me.

 

Although some may see it as naïve, this is my only path i want to head down. despite the appeal of dedicating all of my time to South Hours, I am taking the sensible option and going to university to broaden my knowledge of the industry. Regardless of our choices of future path, South Hours will continue. Ben, Owen and myself are all going to university in London, and our ex colleague Reece Hall will be joining us on bass when we move over there. The uni path is a very open one for me and it will not just be dropping everything and starting a new life in London. I have the band with me and we plan to work just as hard on the material we are creating in the next 3 years as we are now – it is not just a degree I am going to London for. Being in London, studying a music business course will allow me to find a pool of like minded people, who are on the same path as me and will in turn increase my / South Hours’ network. I believe this is demonstrating my awareness while I am progressing – I am not just making this decision for a degree, I am making it for a number of reason that include networking, band development and personally maturing.

UCAS application evidence:

Here is my personal statement i used for UCAS. This demonstrates my passion for the industry and how i see myself in the future. This shows evidence of me talking about related employment and that i have the communication and presentation skills needed to make successful applications.

“The music industry is something i have always been incredibly interested in. I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old and haven’t looked back since and I have been in numerous bands and projects. In the last year, it has been highlighted to me just how many avenues there are for making money in the music business and I really wish to explore this further. Band work is something I have been doing for the last 5 years and i believe getting a degree in Music Business will give me the essential keys to opening as many doors to the music industry as I can.

I love performing in the band, however I have a lot of experience in that now from studying at Colchester Institute and gigging around hometown. I need something which is going to push me that bit further to access a clear path and career in the music industry and i believe studying Music Business will do that for me. This is because I will have a much greater understanding of the bigger picture – everyone’s dream is to be in a famous band but they lack the knowledge of things such as works numbers for their compositions which give them royalties and in turn, make them money. I believe studying a Music Business course will open many avenues for me as I do not just see myself being famous. I see myself having a long and successful career doing something with music and in total honesty, I don’t know what that will be yet and that is what has inspired me to take on a course like this – the courses offer so much of what I’d love to learn, all I know for certain is that I will work in the music industry one day! I am a very upfront and honest person that takes criticism well and really takes it on board.

I know music is the right path for me because of my time at Colchester Sixth Form College. During my time here i applied to university to study History. At the time I thought I loved History, and I still do. However I was not passionate about it. This is when I made the decision not to go to university to study History and instead do my Level 3 in Music Performance and Production at Colchester Institute. This was the best decision I made as i was studying what I was passionate about. Before my time at Colchester Institute I saw music as a hobby, but now I see it as a viable career and the only one i want, hence i am applying for a degree in Music Business! My main band South Hours have just hit 10,000 Spotify streams on one of our tracks and this is something I am incredibly proud of and would not have happened without a lot of time and hard work. This is one of my strengths – I am not afraid to put the hours in. I know about writing essays from my time at Sixth Form, and I know how much of a grind it can be to write about something you don’t really want to but you just have to get it done. If I was lucky enough to study music business then my whole heart would go in to the essays, the coursework, the research etc because i am genuinely interested and passionate about it all! At some point in my life, I want students to be writing and doing research about the work i have achieved in my life!

To conclude, I am applying for this course because I am extremely driven to have a career in the music industry. Music business knowledge is an essential tool to have if you’re going to make any money and I know it will not be a grind for me. This is what I want to do with my life and a degree will give me the solid foundations I need to forge my own path in the Business.”

I have applied to study music business at Solent Southampton, ICMP, BIMM London, ACM and the University of West London. These courses are the best for me that I could find and I would find them the most enjoyable as they incorporate a multitude of skills and research in to every aspect of the industry.

Despite the drive to study music business at university, I am also working on pushing myself as an artist. A way I am engaged with this development is through sheer practise. We practise every day a college, then go out of college to record our own demos and practise even more. This in turn gives us a huge amount of material to pick and choose from when we play our gigs – it also allows us to really develop our tracks to make them the best they can be, for example Bruise took Ben and I over a year to write and we are reaping the rewards from that now. As a result of the success of Bruise, we now really take our time with music and make sure it is perfect before anyone outside the band hears it.

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Another way we develop the band is through talking to venues and other artists in our local area to arrange gigs. Our shows are getting better and better – for example last year our biggest gig was Brewhouse and this year we have already played Colchester’s most prestigious venue, Three Wise Monkeys. We have made good friends with the booking agent for Three Wise, David Mansfield, and he has asked us to play a number of gigs around Colchester and asked us to return to Three Wise Monkeys in February 2019. We are also trying our best to promote the band further on our social media – we are hoping this will open up new areas for us to play as we reach a larger audience, for example we are hoping to find some London shows in the near future. We are doing this to spread our name across as much of the country as we can, and are doing it by getting as many shows as we can. This will also allow us to meet new people who could include artists which we will play shows with, booking agents and promoters. We are aware that for now we are a small time band, so every show we play is important for us as we want to network and eventually we will have made enough contacts to play bigger venues, with bigger artists. Below is a picture from our Three Wise Monkeys show in which we impressed David and a number of other promoters around Colchester and London.

We are now refining our set to the songs that went down best at the shows we have done this year so that in future, the reception is as good for the whole set as it is those songs. We are also analysing our most popular songs to try and find what makes them so good so we can incorporate that into our new tracks. This also includes our stage presence – we are looking at what we were doing on stage and trying to add more of it to our performances. We are doing this to guarantee that our shows are worth coming to watch again and are the best they can possibly be at this stage.

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We are also trying to reach out to record companies and get some high level recordings of our songs. this will put us in a better stead when it comes to networking and finding better shows as it proves we are willing to invest time and money in to the band – The better recordings will demonstrate our professionalism to people higher up in the industry and show them that we are serious about this and we know what we are talking about when it comes to our sound. We try to be as professional as possible when it comes to talking about these studio sessions as the outcome of the sessions will the songs that we sell to people, which is our product and how we will make money / gain a larger audience.

We have recently been in contact with Tom Donovan to use his studio as he is the best person in Colchester or what we want. We contacted him off of our own back and took the first step in achieving the recordings we want – This shows a level of maturity as some people would sit down with a lecturer and then make sure everything is perfect before sending and then go back to said lecturer for every single bit of advice. This is not what we have done and we are doing it all ourselves as we have to learn somehow. If we make a mistake, we will learn from it and we recognise that we cannot be spoon fed for the rest of our careers.

Evidence of this can be found below:

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