TICE Music Insight Stage commenced in December 2017 for the 10th anniversary of TICE Programme. Sam (Music mentor) was thrilled to find out he had many students to work with this year, all from the following schools: Burnside BEC, Norham High School and Berwick Academy. We’re also delighted to be working once again with North Tyneside Music Hub (George Stephenson High School, Monkseaton High School, John Spence Community High School and Whitley Bay High School), basing the workshop at the wonderful Y Studio in North Shields. Stan Woodward and King David Ike-Elechi, TICE students and bloggers, filled us in on their own experience of the day…

The first stage was almost a taster of the course, already proving that there were even more exciting things to come. Before Sam even spoke, he kicked-off the early morning start with his iconic ice-breaker, ‘I am an Egg Warmer’. There were faces of uncertainty and discomfort at first but like any other hilarious game, we all began to feel a lot more relaxed and grounded, ready to start the day. Soon after, the group gathered around to figure exactly why they were there and what was in store for the rest of the day as well as gaining understanding as to what TICE is all about.

Sam briefly shared his expertise and history of success, beginning with the fact that Music wasn’t his initial interest in the slightest and alternatively aspired to be a footballer. He stressed the importance of being patient and not rushing yourself to have a definite career choice, to simply explore and ensure that you continue to be passionate about what you do. Even within Sam’s music career, he has fallen into so many roles: producing, songwriting and composing, to name a few. It then led to a discussion about the music business in general and the career opportunities within it. It was very useful to know these jobs within the industry. Even though I [Stan] had completed the TICE Programme last year, there were roles that seemed more applicable and exciting to me this time around. To follow up the idea of careers, Sam touched upon roles that will become more prominent in the future – roles such as VR music technicians and building sample libraries. This gave a real scope as to how wide and varied the music industry can be, especially once we are no longer in education and are seeking employment.

After a short break, the day continued with a series of activities covering key aspects of being a musician. The students were split into groups, firstly dealt with a songwriting task. Following the African-American rhythmic tune, “Juba This and Juba That”, they had to first learn the patting rhythm. Then they were assigned to change the lyrics to a Christmas theme which certainly encouraged everyone to get into the festive spirit! Another mini-activity which Sam introduced essentially involved students becoming a “human sample pack”, challenged to create a beat in their groups using instruments, voices and the body. You would think that the sounds created were used hip-hop tracks, it was so easy to get immersed in it and such a creative way to tackle rhythmic patterns. I personally enjoyed this half of the day the most!

For the main task of the day, we were split up into groups for the performing segment of the day and challenged to start a completely original piece following one of the 4 themes: Fight, Love, Dance and Cry. This was definitely the most challenging part of the day because we only had an hour to start a completely original piece with people who you have never met before. After a while, our group, as well as others, grew more comfortable and after many jams and discussions, chord patterns and melodies were established with every group. Lyrically, it was fascinating to hear songs about revolution, political issues and emotional narratives about love and heartbreak. To finish off the day, we all listened to each other’s compositions and gave each other some constructive feedback – many were incredibly proud of what they had achieved in such a short amount of time. This afternoon activity was really evidence of how good we could play and work in a group which was the more challenging part of the day but also the most enjoyable part!

Overall the TICE Music Insight Stage was great. We met new people and had a taste of what it would be like working in a musical environment. TICE has helped us reason musically and led us to really, really want a career in the music industry.

Special thanks to all the schools involved, NTMEH and Y Studio. We look forward to the Explore Stage!