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As YSJ Music Production develops the new online ‘study with us’ webpage coming soon to it has reminded me of one of the good questions we get at Open Days and Decision Days. The the essence of the question comes at us in one of two ways. One is from a parent asking about our professional experience and how we bring it to bear on the degree programmes. The prospective student tends to ask the question in a more direct way such as ‘have you worked with anyone famous’ or ‘what’s the best selling release you’ve worked on’.

We’re proud that we, as staff at YSJ Music Production, can answer the essence of the question with a clear conscience. I, for one, am part time at the university and in my ‘other’ role I have mastered well over 1000 records over the past fifteen years (and yes there are some ‘names’ in there). My colleague Chris Johnson is a member of several bands, notably UK prog giants Mostly Autumn, and has played on or produced several records in the six years he has worked with us. So I’m glad we can answer that question with some truth. We can also, of course, refer to several artists who have worked with us and our students on our annual trip to Abbey Road Studios such as The Magic Numbers, KT Tunstall, The Leisure Society, Ren Harvieu among several others – please see

Extrapolating the essence of the question further, in fact all of our staff are professionally engaged in one way or another beyond the lecture theatre. Ben Burrows is composing classical works pretty much all the time for silent film reissues. Ben’s work has been at times been in conjunction with the British Film Institute and he has commissions for several silent film shows nationally. Mark Marrington, is a classical guitar specialist outside of YSJ Music Production and is in the final stages of a book on the Music Production History of the Classical Guitar.

It’s hopeful that the response we give to this answers our visitors’ questions adequately. Given that we’re only a small team, as we have small student numbers (on purpose!), we are actively engaged in so many areas. If I am required to respond further, we can answer with hand on heart, that we’re all engaged actively in writing for academic publishers and at the moment we run a series for Routledge called Perspectives On Music Production ( with several academic books or content generated from the department. In addition to this we’ve spearheaded several conferences, namely Innovation In Music and the Music Production Education Conference.

Another question we’re so often asked is how we’re able to discuss the business of music which is so ingrained in our teaching and course design? David Young, our music technology teacher is an innovator and entrepreneur and runs several businesses including with installations in several countries, and most notably the Science Museum in London. I run my mastering business and I have been connected with several industry organisations such as the Audio Engineering Society among others which brings, industry credence to the work we teach. Chris Johnson runs a small label to handle the production, promotion and distribution of the records he makes, as well as managing his tours and other gigs. Real life experience enhances a text book on occasion!

To the prospective student choosing their future degree please ask yourself what’s important. Ask what you’re really looking for in your student experience and please weigh this up when deciding which institution and degree to choose. If business and industry play an important part, consider us. If you want to find out more, please email [email protected]