You can never stop learning, right? It might be through expanding on what you already know or experiencing something completely new. And when it comes to music, it’s the dream to keep learning from someone who undoubtedly lives and breathes the industry; someone who gets just as excited to walk into a studio as they did that first time, who knows what makes the business tick, or who still gets a buzz from walking on stage. Most importantly, it’s the dream to keep learning from someone who can give you all you need to develop and explore your own creativity.
It’s no secret that our students are taught by the best. But, what really drives them as educators? What is it about their passions? And what’s their motivation to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generation of the music industry? We take a look under the bonnets of three music-loving lecturers to see what it is that drives them to expand the minds and skills of future talents.
Dan Tsu is an Events Management lecturer in London. He is also an event producer, live promoter and international facilitator. Co-Founder of infamous Glastonbury Festival venue Rum Shack, he has hosted innovative and independent live shows for 15 years.
Dan holds a reputation for championing and collaborating with young talent, working closely with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Akala and Kate Tempest. He is the Founder and Director of live events and education company Lyrix Organix; a design consultant for ground-breaking programmes, major youth organisations and charities.
So, what drives him as an educator?
“The main thing that drives me as an educator is the fulfilment of young people. Lyrix Organix was founded in 2009, initially as an event company, but also to give platforms to young artists. That was our kind of very basic founding principle.
It started to become apparent that what you were as an organisation and what I stood for as an individual was about making space and kind of informally mentoring artists. And so, a few years down the line, we started doing education workshops with charities, youth organisations, social action organisations, and NGOs. Whether I’m at BIMM or teaching in a grimy youth centre in the depths of East London, it always comes back to the young people.
“The main thing that drives me as an educator is the fulfilment of young people…A lot of it is about unlocking potential. It’s kind of this never-ending, beautiful process where you try and see what each student’s aims and talents are….Making a student feel a sense of self is probably the most important thing.”
I live a dual life. Sometimes, I’ll go into BIMM and work with a certain type of student, then I’ll go to another situation, maybe working with young people who are homeless or very vulnerable. The thing that links the two – and the threads between all of that – is watching how we contribute to the empowerment and better mental health of young people. It doesn’t matter how much I get paid. I’ve started to realise that when you see the fruits of that, there’s literally nothing better.
We do work with a children’s home just outside of Brixton doing one-to-one workshops. There was a young girl there who was very, very vulnerable and had had a lifetime’s worth of trauma. By the time she was 14, she was almost mute. The workshops helped her immensely; she not only came out of therapy and recovery but also began making music.
We went through a slow process of talking to her, just being a companion, but also teaching her songwriting and music production technique. A lot of it is about unlocking potential. It’s kind of this never-ending, beautiful process where you try and see what each student’s aims and talents are. But, it is also figuring out what things they’re scared of and the things that they don’t want to look at. That could be on a kind of a deeper level, or purely on a professional and career level. Making a student feel a sense of self is probably the most important thing.”
Neil Kulkarni is Course Leader for Music Marketing, Media and Communication in Birmingham. He is also currently Hip Hop Editor for DJ Magazine and writes regularly for Wire Magazine, Crack Magazine and the Quietus website, as well as maintaining his at-times contentious F.U.N.K blog.
He is the author of Hip Hop: Bring The Noise (Carlton Books), Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir (Zero Books) and The Periodic Table Of Hip Hop (Penguin Books). He is currently working on a book for Repeater Books about race and British music. His kids are constantly telling him to turn his music down.
With such a passion for music and the industry, what is his reason for teaching?
“My motivation is ultimately to change lives – one life at a time. It’s about unlocking all of the ideas of who one can be, before responsibilities, mortgages, kids and real adult responsibilities start crashing in. It is the opportunity to really look at and study something in-depth. I hope that students who come to BIMM can explore who they are in a supportive and safe environment. It’s about building a foundation of belief in self.
“My motivation is ultimately to change lives – one life at a time…I hope that students who come to BIMM can explore who they are in a supportive and safe environment. It’s about building a foundation of belief in self.”
We look so much at employability and career paths, but I also want the students who come to my classrooms to be leaving with a strong sense of curiosity and be open to the various possibilities that life can have in store.
At BIMM, we offer so many different experiences – from internships to Masterclasses to bespoke modules – but there will likely never be another time to get to thoroughly know yourself or explore the world. What a total treat to be able to do this via the lens of popular music.”
Jo Kendall is a Module Leader in Music Marketing, Media and Communication in London. Formerly the Deputy Editor and current Album Reviews Editor in the land of grey and pink known as Prog magazine, Jo also has experience of promoting events, running record labels, band management, PR, merchandising, podcasting (Progcasting) and making very good tea.
So, what makes her feel excited to come into the classroom?
“I’m delighted to be able to pass down my experience to people who are just starting out. I wish I’d had that opportunity myself. I did have some careers advice early on; they said I should either be a nun, an aeronautical engineer or a policewoman, so that was helpful!
“It’s just fantastic to feel you are playing a part in shaping someone’s future. I get such a buzz out of that, and hopefully, they do too…It’s about instilling in the students that whatever that thing is [that they want to be], they can be it.”
I just think what is really important is that young people are aware of opportunities. We might just need somebody who can come in and look at us and kind of go, ‘Actually, do you know what? You’re really good at THAT – and it’s still in your arena. So, let’s try that.’ I think we’ve been able to do that with our students and point them in a direction that they might not have thought about.
It’s just fantastic to feel you are playing a part in shaping someone’s future. I get such a buzz out of that, and hopefully, they do too. Hopefully, they feel like they are learning something about themselves and are realising what they want to do, who they want to be. Most importantly, it’s about instilling in the students that whatever that thing is, they can be it.”
BIMM is the perfect place to keep learning and creating – as well as keep collaborating, innovating, connecting, achieving and exploring. Don’t think you have to wait until Results Day to start your application process. Apply for Priority Clearing today and start your life in music.