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13 different countries now have AMS Online Students

Since becoming a global music educator, we reflect on the diversifying effect of online study, and the benefits a flexible degree can have for working musicians or practitioners.

We are now officially an internationally reaching resource - with students studying AMS Online courses in 13 countries including Nepal, China, Thailand, Spain, Australia, and Nigeria, as well as Philadelphia and New York in the States! The universality and accessibility of our courses has been a really attractive option for many students who want the benefits of a UK led university course, with international and global access and possibilities. You can take a degree (literally) anywhere in the world, with the hope it can take you wherever you need to be in your career as well.

It is exciting to have watched AMS Online become a global resource and community, connecting passionate musicians everywhere through an education platform which is specially designed to be flexible and fit around busy working or touring lifestyle. Being able to study through AMS Online wherever you are in the world, at whatever time or pace suits your existing commitments, means that we have become a digitally diverse community, comprised of like-minded, self motivated musicians from all corners of the globe.

Online study is becoming more and more popular, and perhaps even more vital in a time where cuts to music and arts is stifling creative education in the UK mainstream. "It’s intriguing to think of the barrier-breaking impact it may have on seemingly ‘specialist’ arts subjects like classical music" says the BBC of the rising trend in online learning. It seems digital study has its part to play in diversifying education and providing access to what might otherwise be limited or exclusive academic arenas - to the masses.

Our students can really benefit from a flexible approach to study, and the ability to learn, communicate and practice anywhere in the world, means working or touring can be done alongside working towards a degree.

Kiran Shahi is is drummer of Rock, Jazz, and Latin and Fusion styles who is based in and studying in Nepal via the AMS Online resource. In a recent interview he did for us, Kiran talks about how he got involved with AMS study online, "I was actively involved in the music industry for so my years but my academics were always left behind since there aren’t many music colleges in Nepal but after I found out about AMS Online course I was very excited to continue my studies since it was very flexible and that’s exactly what I was looking for." You can read the full interview here. 

“The course was, without a word of a lie, the most important thing I have done in my life! It’s made a real difference to how I regard myself as a creative professional"

Jena Thomson, former student

James Gordon, a UK-based AMS masters student talked to us about how "flexi-study" meant he could teach guitar and tour with his band on the side, whilst working towards his degree at his own pace. "Learning through performing, and learning while performing" he states. While fitting both passion and study into your lifestyle is important, this also means that real gigging experience can feed back into and provide case studies or experience to degree work.“The course was, without a word of a lie, the most important thing I have done in my life! It’s made a real difference to how I regard myself as a creative professional" - Jena Thomson, former student

Easy access to course modules and real-time communication with course tutors and staffs means that musical and creative projects can operate alongside academic study. In fact, they can positively impact learning. Our students are great at keeping us in the loop with what they're up to in addition to their degree. Drew Lowe chatted to us recently regarding his part-time study and how he fits this into a busy touring schedule with both his band and the musical Rock of Ages - you can read the full interview on our blog and check out his band Temple of One's debut single here. And you can read our full interview with James Gordon on our news page. He chatted to us about his band Akoosticka who have been very busy, and his solo projects he has got in the works.

25/04/2019
Words: Izzy Trott

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Sounds of Students - Kiran Shahi, Rock, Jazz & Latin drummer based in Nepal

Each week we feature one of our current students or alumni, and chat to them about their AMS Online experience and the cool projects they’re getting on with alongside their degree. They tell us about their Online learning experience, how they work and perform alongside a degree, and their current musical endeavours. This week I chat to Kiran Shahi who is based in Nepal and completed his AMS online BA (Hons) Performance Industries Top-up with a First class honours. 

What do you study with AMS Online?

 

I am currently enrolled on the BA(Hons) Performance Industries

 

Where are you from, or studying from?

I am from Kathmandu, Nepal.

What drew you to study with AMS Online?

I was actively involved in the music industry for so my years but my academics were always left behind since there aren’t many music colleges in Nepal but after I found out about AMS Online course I was very excited to continue my studies since it was very flexible and that’s exactly what I was looking for.

What do you do alongside / in addition to your music degree?

I was working as a drum teacher at The British School Kathmandu.

What is your instrument / skill / profession?

I am a drummer (Rock, Jazz, Latin and Fusion)

How do you fit study into your day-to-day work and life?

I used to study after my work and in the weekends.

What have been the benefits of online distance learning for you?

I have a music degree now which is always a good thing to have. I was able to study while working full time at the school which was very helpful.

Are you in a band or currently working on any cool projects?

I had few gigs with my rock band Jindabaad this year besides that I am mostly gigging with Jazz Band recently with Le Piro and Madjazz Quartet. I also got an opportunity to perform with two time Grammy Award Winner Marlow Rosado who plays with Tito Puente.

 

 

You can follow, listen and find out more about Kiran's projects on his professional Instagram and Facebook pages.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next Sounds of Students blog post!

22/04/2019
Words: Izzy Trott

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The Value of a Social Media Presence for Aspiring Artists – and How to Get One

We live in a digital age, so it won’t come as a surprise that social media plays a powerful role in everything we do. As a musician or artist trying to make a name for yourself, your social media presence can be an effective tool for building your image and putting your music out there. It's important to implement it effectively, so we've pulled together some top tips and music hosting sites to help get your name known online, and everywhere else.

While YouTube continues to be the most effective and popular way for aspiring musicians to share tracks as well as music videos – (it's technically the most popular music streaming service beating both Spotify and Apple Music!) - there are many ways to get your name out there and build an identity for yourself in the online music world.

Platforms like SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Bandcamp are great for sharing your work and getting feedback, but don’t forget to try other platforms like Instagram and Twitter to build an attractive artist profile for yourself (check out Instagram’s business tools to attract more inquires and connect people straight to your email or phone for gig bookings). Link your music and connect to like-minded artists, promoters and bands - don't be afraid to reach out, comment and connect to people wherever relevant.

Social Spout says that "a smart social presence is undoubtedly the best way to grow your audience and fill space at your gigs", after-all every music audience is glued to social media, regardless of genre. They also have some great tips on navigating social media marketing for artists.

“Fans demand a deeper connection to the artist. They need regularly reminding of your existence and for a fan base to grow, potential fans will look to similar others (existing fans) for approval. No engagement on social media means no growth” 

- The Unsigned Guide

If you’re an artist with an additional skill set – you may have experience in producing, event management, music journalism, or teaching – create LinkedIn account and show off your multifaceted experiences. Check out this post from Digital Music News on why LinkedIn is a useful and underused tool for musicians.

What about content? Aside from obviously getting your music out there and sharing it across platforms, it's a good idea to try and build something of a "brand image" for yourself - or what your might call a "band image" (ha ha). Posting clear, quality photograph from gigs is a great way to build a consistent status online, but don't forget behind the scenes stuff, clips from rehearsals and any posters you can grab from events or gigs you are playing or involved in can really build the versatility of your band's image. Make events on Facebook for your gigs and invite EVERYONE. Get to know the local promoters, venues and collectives and build online relationships with them. Optimize the "networking" in social networking.


"If you’re taking your music-making seriously, then chances are, you have an idea of the type of band or artist you want to be, both in sound and vision. That, is your brand, whether you like that word or not" - The Unsigned Guide

network online

While it is important to network online, and tag any relevant organizers or other artists in posts, avoid being annoying or over-posting.

Always point to your latest promotion or event in your bio or profile - make it the first thing people see when they view your profile. Whether this is in your bio itself (e.g. a link in an Insta bio) or a pinned Tweet or Facebook post at the top of your page, these are great and simple ways to sell your band.

To maximize the engagements of your products or posts you can try things like promoted posts. But before you try this it is key to try and make your posts as organically engaging as possible. A well shot video would be a good post to boost, a poster from a event or gig you're playing (tag EVERY band or organisation involved or mentioned!), or a simple graphic with key info on. You can create your own images and graphics really easily with image making apps like CANVA - they're free and so easy to use to create some simple wording for your Insta or cover photo.

An optimized and synergized social media presence is a great way to fill empty spaces at gigs, get the word out there about your sound and signal your status as a professional. Use your time online wisely, and don't forget, your band is your brand, whether you like it or not.

16/04/2019
Words: Izzy Trott

https://twitter.com/AMSOnlineMusic

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Sounds of Students - Devon Amory, freelance music producer

Each week we feature one of our current students or alumni, as we chat to them about their AMS Online experience and the cool projects their getting on with alongside their degree. They tell us about their Online Learning experience, how they work and perform alongside a degree, and their current musical endeavors. This week I chat to Devon Amory, an aspiring music producer based in Birmingham, balancing full-time work, music projects and flexible online study.

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Where are you based or studying from?

I am currently based in Birmingham.

What do you do alongside / in addition to your music degree?

I work full-time alongside my degree study.

What is your instrument / skill / profession?

I am more of a producer but I also play a little keys!

What have been the benefits of online distance learning for you?

The flexibility of being able to fit it around work without having to cut my hours and not having to attend a classroom or building - or classical education structure - is what really appeals and benefits me.

Are you in a band or currently working on any cool projects?

Will be working on my own E.P soon!

What is on the horizon for you - in the near future, or after finishing your degree?

After graduation I will be aiming to become a freelance music producer.

Stay tuned for more from Sounds of Students on our blog.

Words: Izzy Trott 


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Sounds of Students - Drew Lowe on part-time study and touring

Each week we feature one of our current students or alumni, as we chat to them about their AMS Online experience and the cool projects their getting on with alongside their degree. They tell us about their Online learning experience, how they work and perform alongside a degree, and their current musical endeavors. This week I chat to Drew Lowe who is fitting part-time study for a BA Hons alongside an exciting touring schedule.

What do you study at AMS Online?
I'm currently studying BA (Hons) Professional Music (performance) Top Up, and studying part time. 

Where are you from, and where are you studying from?
I'm based in Andover Hampshire but studying everywhere and anywhere at the moment, as I'm currently on tour.

Who are you touring with, and what is your musical profession?
I'm a professional guitarist currently on tour with 'Rock of Ages' and working on my band 'Temple of One' Debut album.

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How do you make study work alongside your busy touring schedule?
Its certainly hard being on tour but there are ways around it. You have to give yourself the time to work on whatever module you are on. The good thing about being on tour is that I have the day-time to study.

Choosing 'Part Time' has meant I can study and work at a sensible pace.

What have been the benefits of online distance learning for you?
Its meant I can continue my career without putting it on hold to go to a physical University. I can incorporate this alongside my working life as well as using my working life to help me on the course. It's a win-win.


Take a look at the courses we currently offer part-time

What projects have you got going on? Any new releases? 
Yes I'm currently guitar 1 in The UK tour of 'Rock of Ages' and my band 'Temple of One' is getting ready for its debut album release and getting a lot of airplay and press at the moment.

Check out their debut single "The Cards":

What is on the horizon for you - in the near future, or after finishing your degree?
After this I will continue as I am - performing and writing, touring. I would like to lecture in colleges as as I enjoy sharing my experiences with the next generation of musicians.

It's great to hear back from our students, and we're lucky to have some talented working musicians enrolled with AMS Online. You can follow Drew and Temple of One's progress, touring and new releases here.
Listen up for next week's article - we chat to Birmingham based student Devon Amory on music production and distance study.

Words: Izzy Trott 


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Sounds of Students: James Gordon - Masters student, Guitar teacher and band member in Akoosticka

Each week we feature one of our current students or alumni, as we chat to them about their AMS Online experience and the cool projects they're getting on with alongside their degree. They tell us about their Online learning experience, how they work and perform alongside a degree, and their current musical endeavours. This week I chat to James Gordon, a current student based in Southport in the North West of England who is currently studying online for a Masters in Popular Music Performance. He tells us about balancing his masters with his music teaching and gets us up to speed with what his band Akoostika are currently up to.

Where are you from, and where you studying from?
I was born in Liverpool, but live up the road in Southport, a seaside town in the northwest of the UK.

What do you do alongside / in addition to your music degree?
I work full-time as a guitar teacher at Rimmers Music here in Southport.

What is your instrument / skill / profession?
I'm a guitarist and, out of necessity, over the last few years I've become a singer, too.

What drew you to study with AMS Online?
I'd always regretted not finishing my degree when I was in my early twenties and instead ran off on tour around the UK with an unsigned band and dreams of becoming a rock star. That band broke up six months later and rather than learn my lesson and going back to Uni, I ploughed on with trying to make it in the music industry. Fast-forward fifteen or so years and a friend mentioned AMS Online and Shaun Baxter (who I was already a fan of) and how they not only offered distance learning but also recognition of prior learning and industry experience so that I wouldn't have to start from square one again. A quick email just to see if I was eligible (I wasn't sure I'd be up to the task, if I'm honest, I thought the academic part of my brain had probably atrophied after nearly twenty years of rock and roll!) resulted in a really smooth and welcoming admissions process and before I knew it, I was enrolled to do a music degree with you guys.

How do you fit study into your day-to-day work and life?
With more difficulty than I originally thought. One of the perks of my job is that I don't have to work a crazy amount of hours to get by and as most of my students come for lessons in the evenings, my days are largely my own. Still, finding the time to get everything done proved a challenge, especially as deadlines loomed. I had to put a couple of other pet projects on hold and I missed out on most of the newly released TV shows, films and bunch of sleep, but it was all worth it in the end.

What have been the benefits of online distance learning for you?
I've spent ten years building up my teaching practice, so upping sticks and moving to a new city in order to study and also find a new job seemed like too big of an ask. I'd made peace with the idea that I wasn't going to be able to get a degree. Distance learning meant I was able to still work full-time while studying and the flexibility of doing it all from home and in my own time was a huge bonus, too.

Akoosticka Duo Photo

Are you in a band or currently working on any cool projects?
My band was one of the projects that was put on hiatus while I finished my degree (check out http://akoosticka.co.uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/akoosticka), though once I'd finished, we were booked to headline the acoustic stage of the Yewstock Fesitval in the summer, so we reformed to do that. Now that I'm studying for my masters, the lads are also helping me out with a performance for it. And we've got another full band project in mind, too, so that's bubbling away.

After my degree, I took the songs I'd recorded as part of my course, added some finishing touches, remixed them, did a video for each one, knocked together some artwork and then released them as an EP, with a limited run of physical CDs. That's available over on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and is also up for free on my website or bandcamp page.

What is on the horizon for you - in the near future, or after finishing your degree?
The biggest thing is finishing my masters in music with AMS Online. Getting a first in my BA gave me enough of a kick up the backside to make me think that I might be able to go further, to do more. It's hard going, but I'm enjoying it.

Check out James’s music on his website or bandcamp, and follow Askoostika’s progress here.
You can discover more about the online courses we have available , including our Masters in Popular Music Performance, on our courses page, and you can contact us to find out more on how to apply.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for next week’s feature, we speak to Drew Lowe, guitarist and online BA student who chats to us about how part-time distance learning works around a touring lifestyle.

James Gordon
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jaymzgordon
Twitter: @jaymzgordon https://twitter.com/jaymzgordon
Spotify Profile: https://artists.spotify.com/c/artist/1pE531JDxH7n7FOLEITRAg/profile

Words: Izzy Trott