On Wednesday 20th June, Post-16 Music Technology students were left speechless by the talents of world renowned musician Craig Blundell. The percussion and music technology specialist spent the day with students at the RSA creating innovative new music. This is a vital part of their Music Technology course.
The students involved are part of the IBCC, which focuses on developing strong industry-links and real life industry experiences. Music Technology students at the RSA Academy are currently studying Unit 17 – ‘Marketing and Promotion in the Music Industry’. The Academy’s partnership with the highly regarded music market leaders ‘Roland’ is giving students fantastic insights into the music industry but also absolutely an invaluable introduction into working within the music industry.
The day started with a question and answer session, where the students asked Craig about his insights and knowledge from working within the music industry. Craig’s personal experiences, sincerity and honest answers (as well as the occasional funny story!) left students keen to learn more. Craig gave students top tips on how to succeed in their future careers, by tailoring his advice for each student he was speaking to, taking into account their course choices and career aims. The students were impressed that he has several roles within the industry – from musician to reviewer, product designer to sound engineer and live percussionist. This wealth of knowledge and experience left students keen to learn more.
The group then moved to our impressive theatre, and worked as Craig’s sound engineers by helping him to set up his complex live sound set up, testing equipment and making sure that Craig could do his own mixing onstage. This rare, real-life crewing experience will be beneficial for all students that work with musicians and artists in the future.
Craig then inspired the students further with a jaw-dropping 45-minute demonstration using an innovative mixture of drumming, sampling and re-mixing. Craig included music of all styles, and regualarly paused during his performance to explain his creative processes and the features of the products – showing the students how creative they can be with their own specialist classroom equipment. This gave students ideas on how to market and demonstrate during their own student-led Roland event in a few weeks’ time.
The afternoon session consisted of hands-on creativity. Craig trained the students on the OctaPad, HandSonic and RC-50 Loop station. His personal expertise and practical training allowed both musicians and non-musicians to feel comfortable and confident on the equipment. The theatre was buzzing with enthusiasm as the students worked together with Craig to make their own loops, bass lines and drumming patterns with their equipment.
Craig’s final advice for success in the music industry was ‘work hard, be prepared and always work to your best ability. It’s the best feeling to get paid to do the things you love’. The students felt so positive about the day’s events that a few admitted they were left speechless and inspired by the possibilities left at their fingertips.
The students will use their new-found knowledge and experience to lead their own Roland training event for younger students in a few weeks’ time – hopefully achieving top marks for their unit along the way!