How ICMP Students Have Used Video in Their Work

We explore how the ICMP community embraced video during lockdown…


The last year of lockdowns has meant our students have had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ created by the pandemic. 

Many have had the chance to turn the challenges of restrictions and social distancing measures into an opportunity by acquiring new skills, much of which have focused on the visual element of their music - whether it be through filming, editing or creating and performing live streams. 

Here we explore in more detail how ICMP students and tutors have embraced video to enhance learning and teaching… 

EpocCam in Music Production classes 

Marcello Ruggiu is our certified Ableton tutor and music production teacher. Faced with the challenge of teaching online he utilised the EpocCam software to go beyond the confines of the typical virtual class. 

Commenting, he said: “EpocCam allows you to turn your phone into a webcam and I introduced this into my teaching to replicate the in-person experience remotely. I created a small piece of software so I could switch between cameras mid-lesson."

This new format enabled me to adopt a more physical approach to learning and has increased engagement with students who might otherwise have struggled to connect with the session.”

BA Creative Musicianship embraced video

With live venues shut for much of the last year, the idea of what constitutes a performance has changed with many members of the ICMP community turning to virtual gigs and live streams to engage with and build their audience. 

Both ICMP tutors Mark Roberts and Erika Footman have been among those who have adapted their teaching practice around this new form of performance. 

Erika said: “One of my students enjoyed performing at home and said if it wasn’t for this platform, then they wouldn’t have been able to improve their performance skills." 

“This also means that there are more dimensions when it comes to performance, it’s not just performing live in a venue, but rather these are new and great opportunities for artists to find what they enjoy/like the most, what works best for them and their music. Online performance is key - creating that content is so important for your following. And as a result, some students have significantly improved. As educators we have learned as well that there are so many layers to teaching and performing.”


“The reality is as an artist you have to find room for that visual element. My class has given students the opportunity to choose if they want to perform in-person or on video. And there are ways to combine these two elements. Just look at the success of Gorillaz.”

Students were provided with the opportunity to learn how to create video content, develop a narrative and use an iPhone to film. Musician Phil Windsor has played with the likes of John Grant and Tuung and talked to students about the challenges of operating without any gigs and approaches to creativity. VJ expert Jules Sharper lectured on sound, lighting and recording and filming using phone apps.

Mark said: “What was very valuable was being able to keep referencing current artists facing the same challenges and being able to see what they were up to. It was inspirational for the students. An example is Christine and the Queens, who performed online in bedrooms as well as utilising more interesting stage setups.” 

“We also reflected on the value of artists switching from playing big venues with lots of people to playing in their bedroom. What is their artistic voice? Their identity?"

Everyone is now online and has had to face the consumer perspective – so focusing on what people really value. It used to be the big gig, lights, and performance and now it’s stripped back."

“Some students may have found that they don’t necessarily want to aim to go out on the road – it’s now okay to find your performance space in your room or studio. You don’t have to go on tour, you have choices. You can make a record and take a different avenue, like Patreon, perform online and build your fanbase.” 

Zoe Bertini, BACM Student on utilising video

Our second year BA Creative Musicianship student Zoe Bertini returned to her hometown of Florence in Italy during lockdown where she continued her studies. 

Zoe found that switching to online performing really helped - not only did it relieve some of the anxieties she felt about typical live performance but meant she could explore adding video and visuals to her creative approach and expand her palette of sound by incorporating elements of electronic music and utilising Ableton. 

She said: “I’ve always struggled a lot with performing in front of people, I wasn’t feeling safe, I’d get really anxious. Switching to online meant we were able to explore different ways of performing, and I slowly became more comfortable playing in front of people.”

“The video aspect was also difficult for me but I feel more confident and like I have improved a lot. I’d watch the videos over and over and become more conscious on what to improve, communicate better, even with body language. I realised how important the performance aspect is when it comes to music and art in general.” 

It was really surprising to me how I managed to get from forgetting the lyrics of my song (during my first performance at ICMP) to being able to create and edit videos, becoming more confident in front of the camera.” 

Zoe collaborated closely with her tutor Erika Footman on refining her performance techniques and finding the confidence to perform. 

“I managed to embrace the vulnerability of the performance with confidence – it was very difficult to also find the right mental state to be in at that moment – I know it was for others too – but I managed. I worked a lot with Erika on this – she's supported me and helped me to find ways to calm down and convey my message when performing. I now can’t wait to see what performing in front of people will feel like for me.”

New Digital Storytelling Module for Music Business and Entrepreneurship Degree

In response to the creative needs of our students, ICMP is introducing a new Digital Storytelling module on our Music Business and Entrepreneurship Degree

This is based on the degree’s Digital Strategies in the Creative Industries module. Over the last 12 months, this module’s assessment was developed into Digital Storytelling and will be formally introduced in the 2021/22 academic year.  

This will give students the chance to research and present their projects in the form of a video blog and will also be able to work alongside a graphic designer and videographer. The introduction demonstrates how ICMP has responded to the evolving music industry and the skills our students require to launch successful careers. 

Yannis Iliopoulos, Associate Teaching Fellow on our BA (Hons) Music Business and Entrepreneurship programme, said: 

“For this year, we asked students to create a video presentation such as a vlog - so imagine you’re a YouTuber, how would you present an engaging video and target it to your audience? I  allowed the students to expand this assessment so they could explore any topic rather than focusing on music or music tech. Disruptive and innovative thinking are at the heart of this module and we wanted students to reconsider the ways they might create or adapt academic content for a range of audiences. They responded brilliantly.”

Watch student Aphra McSherry-Birley's video from the module

Erika Footman | Photo credit: Lena Lenman

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 14, 2021
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