On the 11th and 12th March our most talented students from schools across North Tyneside came together to learn even more about their potential career path in Music. The TICE Silver Stage is a completely different experience to the Bronze Stage and in fact, this year in particular shows a different approach in terms of what we were doing. It was important to acknowledge that our students at TICE clearly have the practical ability but the understanding of how the industry works is always overshadowed by the spotlight. Sometimes the life of a musician isn’t as easy as playing at a few pubs and getting yourself a record deal. Most of the time becoming successful in the music industry takes years of resilient, hard work and this is what was instilled in the student’s minds on our first day.

Loft

Day 1:

Loft Music Studios

We first visited Loft Studios and met one of the owners, Andrew. We firstly had a little tour around the area which was absolutely stunning, I must add. We then had the amazing opportunity to learn about Andrew’s career and do a Q&A with him.

I think our students at TICE were surprised to realise that in order to get into the industry, it’s a great idea to volunteer at music orientated companies. By the time you reach the A-Level/University period of your life, it’s a perfect chance to put yourself out there – even if you’re just making a cuppa for the tech guy! What Andrew stressed was that time would eventually come when a full-time worker will be “off ill”, and that’s when your months/years of watching them do their job comes in handy.

The students were flooding the place with questions and seeking advice after hearing about his many years in working on stage and behind the scenes. They were particularly interested to hear about what he looks for in a musician working in the studio and the answer was simple. Professionalism.

http://www.loftmusicstudios.co.uk/

Generator

We then had the amazing opportunity to meet two of the workers at Generator (Jo and Ged), the UK’s leading Music Development Agency providing business support to the commercial and creative, digital industries. And the best thing about it is that pretty much everything you participate in is free which is a very rare circumstance.

Many of the TICE students were unaware of just how much support and experience they give to aspiring musicians. Holding talks involving very highly respected people in the music business, giving one-on-one advice to musicians and offering free, educational courses are just a few of the many things that Generator does. They even created ‘Evolution Emerging’ which is a way for up and coming bands in the North East to get some love.

I think it really surprised the students at just how many opportunities there are available in Newcastle, Generator being one of them.

http://www.generator.org.uk/

James Smith, Evolution Artists.

Another Q&A/interview with an excellent guy called James who, like Andrew, knows the ins and outs of the music business. He was again, a massive help to the students in figuring out what pathways are available in the music industry.

The most significant topic of discussion was about how University impacts your career in Music. It turns out that James didn’t even study Music at University which firstly proves that you don’t need qualifications to be successful. On the other hand if he didn’t go to University, he wouldn’t have met the people who would start off his career! Crazy, right? This shows the importance of having contacts. The cliche is 100% right: “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”.

O2

02 Academy Tour

After our visit to Loft studios, we visited the 02 Academy – one of the most popular venues in the heart of Newcastle. We were able to have a tour around the place, including looking in the dressing rooms and going on the stage. This was more beneficial for those who aren’t necessarily performers, but who may be interested in the technical/business side of things. 02 Academy provided the students with some really useful information about the various roles within the company which we wouldn’t normally think about.

They told us one particular story about the patch of wooden flooring which was different from the rest of the room, after a the floor collapsed in the middle of a gig. Just shows that you can’t be perfect!

http://www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk/

This was by far one of the most informative trips I’ve ever participated in. It was noticeable that the students left with a lot more understanding and knowledge than what they had before.

Day 2:

Sage Gateshead – Performance Activity with students from Sunderland University

Sage

I simply can’t resist music making in Hall One at the Sage. Beautiful.

Sage2

The music students were doing warm ups and vocal exercises on stage with students from the University. It was so much fun, I felt like I was in a episode of Glee…

We did ‘Dynamite’ by Taio Cruz and to be honest, my first impression was “oh dear god, why are we singing an outdated pop tune?” but they managed to make it so enjoyable and it sounded fantastic.

I was even happier when we began to learn ‘I Want You Back’ by The Jackson 5 (I’m an avid Michael fan). We split into bass lines, harmonies, the melody and those who were able to play instruments. It sounded unbelievably good and every single person involved put so much effort in time for the final performance. The students played/sang these two songs in front of the cafe in the Sage and the feedback was amazing – it was definitely interesting to see everyone working together to make something sound so good in such a short amount of time.

Sage3

Overall I thought these two days had a huge impact on the students. TICE has done an incredible job in making students become more focused and driven towards their goals. It was impressive to see people working so hard together, as well as independently. The Gold Stage, here we come!

If you want any more information on TICE then visit this website: http://www.thisiscreativeenterprise.com

by Megan Savage, TICE Work Experience