Working in the music industry is something that would rank pretty high up on many people’s list of ideal jobs. For many years your career options would have been fairly limited, but in the last decade the industry has changed beyond all recognition.
The key factor in this has been the development of music technology and the power it puts at people’s fingertips to create, produce and market their own work and ideas and to produce work for clients. It’s no longer a choice of engineer or A&R scout, there are now a wide range of careers in and around the music industry, and more call than ever before for original music and people to make it.
Conventional degree courses often focus on the academic side of music, yet this is not nearly as useful to those wanting to find work in the industry as practical, hands-on experience.
Nescot’s Music Production HND is taught by recent and current practitioners in the field who are experienced not only in the use of the latest technology but also in the self-promotion, entrepreneurship and business skills that the self-employed music producer needs.
You are taught the skills to work both as an individual and within a team, as flexibility is key to a successful career.
As well as being less expensive than a conventional degree course, students of the HND find that it offers much more practical help and training. The music professionals who teach on the course all work actively in the industry and are able to bring their invaluable experience to proceedings, as well as being clued up on how this fast-moving industry is evolving and where the many career opportunities lie.
Music is a catch-all term but jobs in the industry are many and varied. The course teaches skills from recording and production, post production and engineering through to artist and label management and music publishing – a vital source of income for musicians and composers.
The most successful graduates tend to be the ones who are able to turn their hand to more than one area of the business, be it composing for TV or devising a marketing strategy for an artist.
Music is one of those industries where employers or clients rarely ask to see certificates, and are far more interested in your last couple of projects and familiarity with the latest technologies and techniques. The ability to network and promote yourself will also definitely stand you in good stead. All of these skills are taught on the course, and it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that Nescot’s rich musical heritage includes early performances by Queen and Genesis. Nowadays computers play a bigger role than guitars and spandex.
As well as being an excellent route into this complex and fast-moving industry for newcomers, the course is equally useful for those already working in the industry and who want to branch out, go freelance or perhaps just improve their technical skills. Specialising is good but it never hurts to have a few more strings to your bow. The skills you learn will help you choose your path in the music industry, whatever it may be.
By Hollin Jones
Freelance Music Journalist
Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are industry qualified as experienced Composers, DJ’s, Producers, Filmmakers and Theatre, Television, and stadium professionals and they like to keep up to date by staying involved in our relevant industries. Our music lecturers are working recording artists and producers. This means that we can bring real and relevant industry insights to our teaching.
The department has a fully equipped Music Studio suite, industry standard software and equipment.
- Julian Alexander
- Music Production HND
What made you decide to study Music Tech at Nescot?
I knew I wanted to build a career in music and had done A Levels in Music and Music Tech, hoping to learn something other than music theory. I was feeling a bit disillusioned as I felt I had wasted my time but my friend was urging me to check out the Music Production course at Nescot. Coming to the open day it was obvious from the start this was different. Speaking to the studio manager it was obvious he was incredibly well versed in the technical side - he knew loads of stuff I had no idea about! The tutors are impressive too, they know so much about the industry from their commercial work and even now show me new things when we hook up. They are more like mentors.
How did the college live up to your expectations?
I didn’t look back, just having a studio and access to the software they had made an enormous difference. Things like learning how to patch up all the different instruments to a mixing desk and working with the software you find in the industry blew my mind at first! The atmosphere at Nescot is good too - very flexible and creative, it was far superior to what I found elsewhere. One of the first things we were asked to do was team up to create an album. You’re using a real studio live room, a recording booth, all the techniques you’ll need to know. I came into contact with programmes I never knew existed and my perspective on what could be done completely changed.
What advice would you have for anyone thinking of a career in the music industry?
As well as musical talent, you need to have those softer skills of working in a group or with others and networking. It also helps to learn the things that are going to make you more employable so make sure you understand the technical side of creating music for different purposes. Somewhere like Nescot is ideal as you get that industry experience in the same package as what you’re learning. The small class sizes and the college environment are good as it’s easy to integrate and you get a lot of one-one with your tutors. It’s also cheaper than going to Uni!
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve been writing tunes and tracks for Universal and I wrote and produced the title track on Peter Andre’s latest album. I’m now working as a freelance musician and producer, composing music for film, TV and computer games while concentrating on getting my work published. Ideally I’d like to be working permanently for one of the music industry heavyweights like Sony or Universal where my music would have a worldwide reach.
Students at Nescot are among the most satisfied in the country.
The National Student Survey found 95% of those questioned were satisfied with their course, compared to 85% nationally.
This means Higher Education students at Nescot are the most satisfied in Surrey, and compares to 92% at the University of Cambridge, 91% at the University of Oxford, and 90% at the University of Durham.