12th November 2018
Getting an qualification in music
In January 2017, MIL published a news article about a new venue opening in Leicester. In the story we ran, we said ‘Echo Factory is just down the road from Sainsburys [in Humberstone Gate]; the building previously occupied by Fabrika, the art gallery that closed down a couple of years ago. Now given a new lease of life, the ground floor premises has opened as a music school. Echo Factory provides education, services and business expertise for people seeking careers in the music industry.’ We published a fairly long article about this, together with a series of photos (Music in Leicester, magazine, 2017).
Trevor Locke went back there on 25th October to see how the venue has progressed. ‘Venue’ is not quite the right word. The building does have a fully-equipped, 250-capacity theatre, it is true, but there are many other facilities on the site. Practice rooms and recording suites were some of the things I saw on my tour.
As I walked into the cafe area of the building, I immediately recognised the area I was in before when I visited. My guide, today, was Ashley, who explained that the school provides specialist degree courses for aspiring musicians, along with a range of other services and specialised instruction. “We prefer small classes for our students, ” Ashley explained and we looked in on a couple of sessions. “Musically we cater for a many genres” she told me as we chatted about the music scene in Leicester.
Qualifications are validated by the University of Wolverhampton. Teaching staff are drawn from professional music industry people. The courses focus on how the music industry works. There is a concern that music be taught in conjunction with an understanding of how the business works. I found this focus on industry very encouraging. Just what is needed, I thought, to ensure that students received a practical knowledge that will help sustain them in their future careers.
I listened intently as Ashley explained that EF’s degrees “centre around project and portfolio work.” As we walked around the large, well-decorated building, Ashley went on to explain that”…we enable our students to play, mix, manage and critique music with authenticity, maturity and flair, whilst our deliberately small class sizes allows our team to tailor our support to empower each student to develop their unique talents and passion for music, and reach their individual career aspirations.”
I was impressed by all that I saw and heard. As I walked home, I thought, ‘it is rather marvellous that Leicester has so much to offer aspiring musicians. Places to learn and places to perform. A music scene with a long history and a bright future. By all accounts.’
I remember going to the opening night on 31st March 2017. A variety of acts performed that evening, including Leicester’s Aztec Temples band, Prime, and Jabbawoki, from Leeds (Music in Leicester, 2017).
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