Friday, 3 June 2016

Visit to Leeds College of Music

This is a blog-post from a visit to Leeds College of Music (LCoM) in 2012. LCoM was in 2012 in the process of transforming its programmes. They were cutting down on the number of degrees and made the degrees they provided more flexible. They also opened for more studio-time for everyone and much longer opening-hours. Mac-labs, studios and rehearsal rooms are now also open till 3am! Level 1 and 2 HE students now had access to facilities only level 3 students and above had access to before. Music students also had access to more of the technical facilities that only technology and production students used to have. You may think this makes everyone fight more for studio-time, but I won’t believe it. Last time I checked LCoM had about 60 teaching and practice rooms, seven recording studios, three mixing studios, a large in-house venue and a small recital-hall. The college is not lacking in facilities. The library is well-provided in literature for practical skills and academic knowledge. There is also a substantial collection of printed and recorded music—especially the latter category was important for us production students. (Although, today most music can be streamed if you risk the lower resolution for critical listening.) In 2012 Leeds College of Music also got its ‘all Steinway status,’ which means that close to all pianos are made by Steinway.

My 2012 visit to the college was part of a private study-trip in the UK for a prospective student. At LCoM we had an appointment with lecturer Brian Morell to talk about admissions and student life, and we met with a number of other staff. I am not going to present the current line-up of degrees here, but I’ll rather provide a few highlights from my own experience as a Leeds College of Music student (I graduated autumn 2009):

- The college is a dedicated music conservatory and it is strong in both jazz, pop, classical and production studies. This meant that I always had access to top-of-the-range musicians for collaborations. LCoM’s old slogan ‘where music happens’ described our student-days spot on.
- Leeds is a great city for music, and the legendary venue ‘the Wardrobe’ is just across the street.
- LCoM always had great facilities. Significant upgrades have been undertaken in recent years. If I have any critique on the current state of the studios, may I suggest that they are so well-equipped that no studios now represent the lower end of the industry? Though that luxury is hardly a problem!
- During my post-graduate studies in Music Production our little class had four doctorate-holders overseeing us. That gave us a density of PhDs to Masters-students of almost 3 to 1. That’s even before counting visiting lecturers.
- Several of my friends from LCoM have gone on to great places in both music and academia. For me, being linked to the LCoM-community today means I’m linked to a living organism of musicians and producers. And it means being linked to a college that is big enough to conquer new ground and increase my CV-prestige as a degree-holder, but small enough to receive us alumni back in a family-like fashion.

…but then again, I’m the wrong guy to ask for an objective outside-perspective! Cause I loved it too much!

Big thanks to Senior Studio Technician Keith Smith and all the other staff who spent the day with us!

Norwegian Singer/Songwriter, up-and-coming Producer
and future LCoM Student Oda Kveinå Tonstad
in the G-series SSL studio.

Film meets music and sound. This suite has quite a big canvas
and a Genelec surround-system built into the walls

Studio 113 used to have a TOFT ATB when I was a student.
Now it has an Audient 8024 and the college uses Audient

From the musical scores section of the library. On the far wall you
can see parts of the extensive record collection.

The library's wall of magazines and journals

Read more about the College's facilities on this link.

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