When I found out about the TICE music programme, as a keen drummer I jumped at the chance to take part. I started by completing the bronze stage which was a one day course and a really enjoyable experience. The silver stage was over 2 days on the 11th and 12th of March and involved visiting 3 venues alongside pupils from other local schools including Burnside and George Stephenson:

Loft Music Studios LogoDay 1: in the morning we visited the Loft Studio in Newcastle. Andrew, the Studio Manager gave us a guided tour of the whole studio including a music production room. He explained about the music production side of the industry and said that bands play in the main room and that they record in the recording studio. We were told that theme songs for programmes such as CSI were created in the music production room.

Whilst at the Loft Studio we met Generator, a music development agency, who talked about the projects established by them, including, Evolution Emerging, a music festival for up and coming artists from the north east. I was aware of this festival as my drum teacher and his band have played at this previously.

Next we met James Smith, a DJ/producer, who told us about a night club he managed and how to hire DJ’s and a bit about the music production industry.

MusicFrom the Loft Studio, we went on to the Newcastle O2 Academy. I was really excited about this as I had been to a couple of gigs here to see Killing Joke and The Levellers. We had some lunch and then went on a tour of the building, including, backstage, the dance floor and we stood on stage ! This was cool because it gave you a ‘bands eye’ view of what it is like playing in a big venue. We were also shown the control panel on the stage which projected imagery.

We then headed home after an exciting and educational first day.

Day 2: the second day consisted  of  a visit to the Sage in Gateshead which stands on the banks of the River Tyne. We were introduced to a lady called Kitty who gave us a guided tour including 3 performance rooms. She told us about the various events that were held at the Sage including the BBC Radio 6 music festival, a blues concert and a rapper called Roots Manuva.

SageWe were then introduced to 3 students at the Sage who ran a workshop with us on vocal work. This was a first for me as I am a drummer. We then went and performed the 2 songs we had learnt to an audience having their lunch in the Sage Restaurant! I really enjoyed this new challenge but I would say that I think my drumming skills are better than my voice !

Overall, I really enjoyed the 2 days. It was an educational experience and I got the chance to try out some new skills alongside people from different schools. I also liked learning more about some of the places that are well known in Newcastle and beyond in the music world. The days really made me think more about other aspects of music and the industry.

I would recommend this to any musician who wants to expand their musical knowledge, whether practical or the business and production aspects of the music industry.

by Jack Reid, John Spence Community High School.