Sunday, 7 October 2012

Week 1: Life of a Commercial Music Student at Westminister


Summer is officially over and the start of the new academic year begins. I feel like I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Finally I'd get to study music- my first love. 

Today was an extension of the induction the previous week. We learnt about our first module 'The Learning Burst'  which designed to :
'This module "throws" students in at the deep end. It takes a disparate group of young people with very diverse cultural, musical and educational backgrounds and aims to ensure that each student ends the module fully ready to engage with the demand and rigours of academic and practical commercial music study. The module is both immersive, four weeks of daily taught content and Guided Independent Study and comprehensive in its brief to give all student the beginnings of all skills they will be required to develop throughout their degree.'

We also had an introduction to SRS Web, and why it is important to check it regularly. SRS is important to update student details, check modules and timetables. Also if there are any changes regarding enrolment or contact details this can be updated via SRS, this is important as the university needs to ensure each student is enrolled and registered with correct contact details.

Lastly we were reminded of who our tutors are. Mine being Mykaell Riley, and how staff and students can be contacted via email- and also how we can download the handbook, our bible throughout the course. 


It was a grey, rainy morning and I was excited to see what day 2 of a Westminster Commercial student has in store. 

Today's theme was 'Study and Research Skills 1'. We were taught about what is expected of us as students, and what can be expected of us musicians. The key word being to COLLABORATE- with other artists. Collaborating is key as it is through working with lots of different people of we can develop a diverse folio, and find our unique place within the music industry. Questions such as 'What can you say about music?', and 'Why does nobody listen to me?' were also answered. This was great, getting out minds into gear and great introduction to the Music Sociology portion of the course.


Today was not the best day, I had woken up with freshers flu and was struggling to get ready and head to campus. Armed with Lemsip and Strepsils I jumped on the train and made it to university, unfortunately late. 

On the bright side I managed to arrange a tutorial with my tutor and discuss module options, PDP, ensured all details on SRS web was correct, and my tutor thankfully sent me a test email to ensure my email address is up and running. Without a valid email address and password, one would be completely out of the loop. 


Thursday was all about the bands, the theme being 'Playing Skills 1'. Firstly we established who plays what, the lecturer, Ade, drew up categories: Vocals, Keys, Guitar, Bass and Drums, and we each wrote our names under our principal instrument. Mine being keyboard. As the drummers were the majority they each picked a person from each category and voila our bands were born! 

My band is me, and four guys! We chose The Ronettes- Be My Baby, a classic, with a twist as the vocalist is a male- and we've made it more rock, funk. The afternoon was spent jamming and discussing music with our bands, what more could I ask?!

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It was the end of the week, the week flew by so fast. Today we begun studio induction with 'Studio skills 1'- funtimes, one step closer to having access to the recording studios. Sam Bennett is our lecturer for this module.

Sam went through all of the rules for the studio:

  • No food or drink in the control room (except a bottle of H20)
  • Times studio: 10am-8.30pm weekdays & 12am-5pm on weekends
  • Downtime studio (outside Fridays) must be booked 24 hours in advanced
  • Book by email or telephone
  • Outside guests must be booked in via academic staff.
  • Sam Bennett available on Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays. Must give 48 hours notice to book outside guests
  • When booking studio- see the tech office
Sam also advised that we buy over the ear headphones as in-ear ones can loss of hearing! Not at all beneficial as a musician!

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