ICMP student stories | How to learn in lockdown

We quiz our students on how they've been learning remotely in the lockdown...


Studying music remotely during the lockdown has offered the ICMP community plenty of opportunities and challenges.  

While the new normal of social distancing has meant physical gatherings such as lessons or lectures cannot happen in the flesh, it's led to an explosion in live streaming, remote learning and virtual events

We caught up with some ICMP students to find out more about their experiences learning in lockdown... 

Conor Houston | 1st year | BA Creative Music Production

How are you finding remote learning? 

I found the remote teaching methods to be well-coordinated. Credit needs to be given to ICMP for how quickly this was organised. I've spoken to friends whose universities had the benefit of the Easter break to organise online classes, and ICMP didn't have that. All the staff seem to have worked really hard and have been as accommodating as possible.

Could you provide an outline of a typical day? 

My routine depends on what I need to prioritise. I'd already started a lot of my coursework by time social distancing measures came into place. A good chunk of my time has been spent on self-directed study, and getting my work to a standard I'm happy with. The video lectures I took part in were useful, and I feel this could now become an additional method of educational delivery ICMP could use in future academic years.

Which online resources, software or tech have you found invaluable? 

Given that music production comprises a lot of computer-based work, even without social distancing measures, not a great deal changed for me.

I'm also fortunate enough to have all the equipment and technology I need in my bedroom. Canvas was of enormous benefit for receiving updates from ICMP, and I ensured I'd check this every day.

Have you any tips or advice for other students? 

Firstly I'd consider how much of an effect this situation has on your ability to complete work. I did briefly consider applying for extenuating circumstances, but I've actually found I've submitted all my coursework on time, and earlier than the deadlines in some cases.

Finally, try to keep what you do enjoyable. It can be hard to enjoy anything at the moment, and my enthusiasm does come and go in waves.

Don't force yourself to work if it's killing you inside, but don't keep putting it off for too long either. Tasks become scarier the longer you run away from them and this is actually a brilliant opportunity to learn about your own learning and working style."

What's keeping you busy?

I am part of an orchestra called The Beatles Project, which perform albums by The Beatles in their entirety. We've just released a version of 'All You Need Is Love', recorded remotely at home by the entire orchestra. 

Before social distancing measures came into place, I'd just completed a European tour playing guitar for US artist Evan Barlow. We hope to tour again once countries re-open. His new EP 'Barlow Lane' is out now. I'm currently working on new solo material, and all of my past releases can be found on Spotify. I'm also posting regular content on Instagram.

Visit instagram.com/conorhoustonmusic for more.

Cas ​Olowoyo | MMus Vocal Performance 

How are you finding the remote learning experience so far?

I’m finding it okay. I think using Microsoft Teams has made it better. My last module was lecture-based with no performance so nothing much changed. But we’ll see how I manage with the upcoming dissertation. It’s been an adjustment because outside of classes I often need to leave my house and go to a silent place to work. Obviously that’s not possible currently so I’ve had to adjust my expectations of myself.

Could you provide an outline of your day?

Wake up, get ready, make a list of stuff I want to achieve/need to do, practice guitar, practice voice, break, practice piano, paint, read, try to meditate. If I don’t manage all of that I tend to watch anime in bed all day...

Which online resources, software or tech have you found invaluable?

JSTOR has become my best friend. My laptop hates Zoom with a passion now and always crashes unfortunately so Teams and Skype have been my go to.

I tend to just use WhatsApp and Facebook and send over files using WeTransfer. I’ve been lucky that I’ve done some cool virtual projects during this time.

Have you any tips or advice which may be useful for other students?

Try and be kind to yourself right now. And to think of others.

No one really has any control of what’s going on right now and while frustration and anger are totally valid they have to be channelled in productive ways. Don’t internalise them. If you can, turn them into art. "

But honestly it’s enough to just get up and sit outside for a while if that’s all you can manage. Don’t worry about the mad pressure to make every moment a “productive”  one. Some days are just hard. That’s okay and you’re not any less for admitting that. 

What projects are keeping you busy? 

You can follow me on Instagram here. I also sing with Camden Voices and ​some of our stuff recently has gone viral so here’s a Jamie Cullum cover we did before all of this went down. 

Georgia Winter | 1st Year | BA  Creative Music Production

How are you finding remote learning? 

I have found the remote learning experience fine; it was handled efficiently and I managed to submit all my assignments on time.

Could you provide an outline of a typical day? 

I have had ups and downs with both physical and mental health since being in quarantine so there hasn’t been a set structure for each day. But when I am well, I get up early and go to my studio space to produce and collaborate online with other artists/musicians and producers.

Which online resources, software or tech have you found invaluable? 

I have found Zoom and Microsoft office handy so I can keep in contact with friends etc. I have also been using sites like WeTransfer a lot to send projects over to people so we can work quickly.

Have you any tips or advice for other students? 

I’m lacking for many words of wisdom except to stay sane and hydrated. It’s a strange time to comprehend, especially for those who need external stimuli and movement in their day-to-day to help them get through.

What’s keeping you busy? 

I released my first self produced single and music video at the start of quarantine under my artist name GNIE. I am also working on my production, songwriting and mixing skills by doing covers and collaborations on Instagram and just finished judging entries in the global Hit Like A Girl competition

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 enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by Jim Ottewill
May 7, 2020
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