By Russ Hepworth
It’s been a while since our last #Lockdownlife post. There have been many reasons for this, namely our students ‘returning’ to university, albeit remotely for the new semester. We’ve learned a lot technically, but so have our students.
What’s impressed me is how our students have adapted and risen to the challenge facing both them, and us their lecturers. The students are being really helpful on so many different levels, from helping us videos to help give the courses a ‘physical’ presence online such as this interview with Fergal by Nina – https://youtu.be/3lohh0Ta8TY.
It’s not just the superfluous stuff that the students have helped with. The students have helped us acclimatise to the new ways of working and have discussed how we could make their classes and interactions better.
For example, last week I enjoyed delivering a mastering class with our third years online. This was very different to the norm that we’d do in the studio on campus at York St John University. Using AudioMovers ListenTo (https://audiomovers.com/) for CD quality audio broadcast and Microsoft Teams for my screenshare (something many of us in the audio teaching world are using as a combination, or Zoom), I was able to demonstrate mastering using a DAW we can all access – Reaper (http://reaper.fm). Students chipped in, generated amazing discussions and created a fantastic learning environment.
As mentioned in a previous post, YSJ Music Production is all about transferable skills, and in this instance, despite using Reaper, the students were in a position to transfer their skills to whatever DAW they choose (yes they’re an interesting mix of Studio One, Reaper, Cubase, Logic and ProTools predominately). Some of the principles were possible, but I was very pleased at how the students were up for the challenge and supportive throughout.
The student body, I know, have supported each other throughout the lockdown too. They’ve continued collaborating. How can I tell? Well so many students have sent me their new tracks they’ve been writing together, yet apart (so many not for their assignments). Some excellent music is being generated by our community. Gladly, it’s not getting ‘released’ on Soundcloud or anywhere for free. Their plan, as we’ve taught them, is to hone, improve, and produce it for a proper release with a marketing plan in place (and if free distribution is part of that plan then so be it). Giving music away often leads to very little, without a considered story and a plan behind it.
It’s impressive to see how the students are working and making the best of the current lockdown. We look forward to getting back to business in due course and seeing them all again. York St John Music Production will, I’m sure, after lockdown, always remain a face-to-face delivery university, despite press about that says many other institutions are considering other methods. Through our small groups, camaraderie and community, students are trained, not instructed and benefit from experience, not expectation… even in lockdown.