How Online has Created New Opportunities for ICMP students

We explore how the online world has opened up new learning opportunities for ICMP students...


The pandemic has led to all of us having to adapt to social distancing measures, requiring a transition to working, studying and living online. 

Our students and tutors have been no exception to this, but have demonstrated great resilience by turning these challenges into opportunities to gain more skills and expertise.

Some have incorporated video into their work, lessons and assessments to provide themselves with more knowledge to progress their careers. 

Here, we explore how online has opened up new musical worlds for our students through remote working over the last year… 

Feedback Fridays Competition

BA Creative Music Production Tutor Charlie Thomas introduced Feedback Fridays for a module with his second year students. Every Friday, the class would listen to the work of their fellow students and provide constructive comments.  

Commenting, Charlie said: "This pushed students to deliver music every week and start giving feedback to their peers. In the first week, everyone was nervous but by Semester B, they couldn't wait to play their music in front of each other."

In Semester B, Charlie ran a competition for students where they would be tasked with creating a new piece of music within a certain set of limitations. For example, during sixties week, students would only be allowed to use classic synths or a certain type of reverb and provide references to the era.

Charlie said: "It was very challenging for them – for the sixties, for example, they couldn’t tweak their music at all. They had to think of how to make their music sound and what effects to add."

They had to rethink how to make music and truly challenge themselves. I was blown away with the results! One student did a soundtrack piece that was one of the best I’ve ever heard."  

Each week, students would anonymously vote for their favourite musical pieces to foster a sense of healthy competition. A grand prize of an SM7B microphone and an opportunity to join Charlie for a session at Konk Studios was up for grabs.

Winner, student Yona Junillon said: "I joined the production course in the second year with basic production skills, so when Feedback Fridays started, I was quite nervous and reluctant to share my music with my classmates."

After a while, I became more comfortable and confident in my abilities and shared my creations more enthusiastically. Getting feedback from Charlie and my peers allowed me to experiment more with my music-making by pushing me out of my comfort zone."

"Having to write and produce a new song every week was a big challenge, but it compelled me to become a more consistent and disciplined musician. I also enjoyed collaborating with other students and am now more self-assured in my lyric-writing. Taking part in Feedback Fridays gave me valuable skills that I will implement in my studies as well as in my professional life."

Embracing new ideas through blended learning

BMUs Popular Music Performance Module Leader and Tutor Jon Harris took advantage of the remote working format to come up with new ideas for classes.  

Among them was an Industry Support Forum where there was a dedicated hour a week that students in their instrument specific classes could ask tutors any question they wanted about the industry or their chosen instrument. 

Students were also asked to create a mock working musicians diary for imaginary hypothetical gigs that they would have to plan for over the space of three weeks. There were dedicated sessions for students which covered how to prep before recording and gigs.  

Jon said “They did so well! The participants acted very professionally with their approach to each task which was great."

What we have taken this year with the blended approach to learning is the opportunity to try new things out in the course we offer, some of which are now included in the regular programme."

Online collaborative skills

Dave Evans, Deputy Programme Leader for the BA in Creative Musicianship, described how many of his students have from studying online. Now they will have new skills including video-editing capabilities and home recording.  

He said:

Online collaborations taught the students important skills which will make their face to face experience even better. In their second and third years this will be extremely valuable so they are much better equipped now than before."

From a contact with tutors perspective, students have enjoyed the freedom of only having to use Microsoft Teams rather than needing to be onsite. This has enhanced communications between tutors and students and will continue to be enhanced when everyone is back on site. 

Dave concluded: "On the most part, the students have appreciated the skills that they have gained from this situation. The skills and quality of stuff they produced, was on an upward spike. Elements of collaboration and performance that were explored remotely will be kept as part of the programmes, as they are still relevant."

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
June 30, 2021
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