This week was a very busy week for me. It marked the end of the term and even though lectures and lessons have stopped, we still have some assignments due in. This may seem like a crazy week in the life but it’s not out of the ordinary for me – as a music journalism student at BIMM, I’m always doing something exciting.
On Friday, my boyfriend and I went to see Sam Fender at the O2 Institute. The gig was amazing and it’s a super easy journey to get to the venue. When I got my place at BIMM I was looking for somewhere to live that was as close to the college as possible with the bonus of living just round the corner from the O2 institute and many other venues. BIMM is located in Digbeth, which is literally just down the road from the centre of Birmingham where there is always something happening.
Being able to go to shows without having to spend too much is an absolute must for any music student and seeing live shows is more than fun. Music should be your passion, and seeing it live is the pinnacle of that love.
Saturday is normally where I have a break and this week I did this by shopping. Birmingham is home to the biggest Primark in the world, which means a lot of my friends from home like to come up to see me and have a little browse around the shops. The town is full of different shops. If there’s something you want then it’s more than likely you’ll find it here. A great thing about being a student is getting that student discount and saving yourself some pennies.
As a music journalism student, I am constantly being invited to other student’s shows and working with the bands to help them gain exposure. Sunday was a day that I had been looking forward to for a while, as I was contacted by a BIMM band called ‘Insurgent’ who wanted me to come and review their gig. On the night of the show, I had to work alongside the band’s photographer. As well as watching shows, I have to remember I’m there to work, but that doesn’t take the fun out of watching new music.
(photo credit – Amy Demidow Photography)
Networking with a range of students is vital. Meeting musicians through BIMM has created so many opportunities for me and has helped me gain more experience and build my portfolio, which I now use to get paid work.
The best piece of advice I could give to someone wanting to study music journalism is to meet people. Everyone’s in the same boat of wanting to make friends, so there are lots of chances to network at parties and BIMM events. Since living in Birmingham I have been super busy all the time, there is always something to do! Where I’m from, you’d never get the chance to go to a gig on a Sunday night!
On Monday, I was back into work mode. So I had lots of caffeine and turned my phone off so I could concentrate. As it’s nearing the end of the teaching year, I will be submitting lots of my work through the next couple of weeks and today my writing portfolio was due, so I did my final read-over my pieces and uploaded the assessment ready to be marked.
I have been building my portfolio throughout the year, and in addition to it counting towards my degree, I can show it to potential employers. Once my assessment was finished, I started planning my blog posts for the coming week. This is also something that was started for university work but has now turned into an avid hobby for me.
Every week I post on my blog as a means of practicing and improving my writing. This week I was uploading my review from last night’s gig and then a lifestyle post as well. Writing my blog has led to me being invited to events by companies such as LUSH, as well as having my tickets paid for by bands who want to work with me.
I like to listen to new music when I’m planning posts and writing. It’s important to keep up with as many new releases as you can. It can be a bit overwhelming with the volume of tracks that come out every week, but as a music journalist you need to know what’s good and what isn’t.
Tuesday was a similar day of hard work. I post on my blog today, so I had a re-read of my review and then posted and promoted it across social media. I spent most of today putting the final touches on a presentation that my group has to share on Thursday for a BIMM assessment. It may not have been very interesting but it was really useful to take that time and plan our assessment perfectly.
Wednesday was a really exciting day for me as I got to do something new. I have been in contact with a BIMM band ‘Baddreams’ who are new to the Birmingham music scene. They asked for help creating their press kit. We arranged a meeting and spent the day writing their press releases and sorting out their social media. I even got to listen to their unreleased music! The great thing about meeting people at the start of their careers is that everyone wants to help each other get started and you get to know some pretty cool people.
Thursday was my last day at University for this year. It’s crazy to think that my first year is over! It was also a day of trying new things. Everyone from the Music Journalism course at BIMM were invited to attend the Birmingham Music Awards at The Mill, Digbeth. The BMA’s happen every year and celebrate Birmingham’s thriving music culture. I spoke to and photographed many of the nominees and performers who I know from BIMM, and it was really amazing to see people I know perform at such a large venue.
The BMA’s are not only attended by musicians but also a wide variety of different music industry professionals, so you get the chance to meet some big names in the Birmingham music scene as well as having a fun night out.
Once I’d done my work at the BMA’s, I headed over to our self-proclaimed student pub – The Ruin – which is very close to BIMM. Tonight, like many other nights before, was an open mic night hosted by one of the students. Attending the open mic nights are just one of the many ways I met my closest friends. They’re a great social event as well as being a great place to showcase and watch the talents of many BIMM students.