student news film offer ams online

Student gets offer to compose music for a William Friedkin film

A current student of AMS Online has recently been offered an exciting deal to compose music for a film by William Friedkin, the American "New Hollywood" director, best known for The French Connection and The Exorcist.

Mik Davis, who is studying with AMS Online for a BA Hons in Music Production, spoke with us recently about his career progression since AMS, revealing exciting new plans to produce his first feature length film score for an independent film, financed by Universal Studios and produced by a Lancashire based film and media company.

The opportunity shortly after Mik completed his final 'Production Project' with us, submitting three tracks he used on this very assignment to the film company, who made him an offer within days. He's had to keep stum about the films title, but he can certainly tell us a lot about how he got there.

See Mik's piece for us below.

"Having worked in the music industry as a musician and music producer for the last fourteen years (at varying levels), I have had many wonderful and rewarding experiences, whether on stage or in the control room.

In recent years I had fallen out of love with performing and music production, this was mostly due to the simple fact that the music industry is a hard industry, and it’s increasingly difficult to earn a living from an industry, that changes so rapidly from day-to-day, where geographical location and expensive equipment is key to ‘getting ahead’ – or so I thought.

Instead, I chose to pursue a split career as a person-centred counsellor and as a tutor, teaching ESOL English - both rewarding experiences, both very far away from music.

An opportunity arose September 2018 when I was offered a BA Hons in Music Production (fast-track) with AMS, based on the vast portfolio I had built over the years, this meant that I entered as a non-traditional student and only had to complete the third and final year.

At first, I was cynical as to what I would get out of the course? Whether I would learn any new skills? Or if I even needed the degree at all?

In fact, it wasn’t until I recently completed the course where I could reflect and see how much I had actually gained and developed over the academic year.

Firstly, the course allowed me to submerge myself in music and creativity for a whole year. As a result of now completing the course, I have managed to re-establish my own music career as a producer and found my passion for music once more. I have a legitimate music studio ‘Atelier Noir’, which was developed as part of the ‘Independent Study’ assignment, without this assignment and the criteria I had to meet I would never have been able to realise my full potential as a producer and that producing music wasn’t about money, geographic location or owning expensive equipment – instead it was about producing good work, being enterprising and creative with the space and the equipment I had built up (no matter how dated), focusing on the unique selling point of the studio and myself as a producer, also entertaining a variety of recording opportunities that were offered and available on a day-to-day basis.

This approach has lead to securing a number of avant-garde recording sessions, that I would usually not have entertained, this includes producing a concept album for international best-seller Joanne Harris (Chocolat) and her progressive folk band ‘Storytime’ – I’ve also taken on a permanent contract recording voiceovers for and organisation called Gatehouse Awards for their international ESOL speaking and listening qualifications, although this project isn’t music based I have enjoyed the editing process and helped the organisation to build a library of recordings.

Furthermore, the most exciting news came May 2019 when I was offered a contract to produce my first film score composition for an independent movie financed by Universal Studios and produced by a Lancashire based film and media company, this opportunity came after submitting the tracks created and produced as part of my final ‘Production Project’ assignment. I submitted three tracks created as part of my final assignment for AMS – the film company pretty much got back to me the next day with an offer. I cannot disclose the title of the movie as I’m bound under strict confidentiality regulations - but I’m looking forward to writing and producing this project.

I would highly recommend AMS to any music producer of any age and level, who’re looking to focus on a music project and build a body of work – ok, so the writing elements of the course can be tedious at times, I personally found the written assignments particularly frustrating, but overall, the pros of completing this degree outweighed the cons. AMS have a great team of mentors that offer lots of sound advice, help and support throughout the academic year – my own mentors Robin and Kimwei were extremely helpful, encouraging and were always at hand with a solution, should any question or problem arise.

To conclude and reiterate, completing this degree has certainly helped me to realise my own potential and to identify areas for improvement and further development. For the first time in four years, having rediscovered my love and passion for music, I’m once again optimistic about the future, my own music career and where it may lead."


Songwriting, arranging and composing with Suyog Sotang

This week on our semi-regular student interview series, I chat to Suyog Sotang, an AMS Online student based in Nepal, who has taken a route in music production as a result of studying a BA with us Online. He chats about the benefits of studying an English course in another country without the additional living costs, and flexibility to work alongside it.

"The art of making a soundtrack beautiful whether an instrumental or vocal music has been cultivated in me with the help of this course"

What do you study with AMS Online?

I study the BA (Hons) in Performance Industries.

Where are you from, or (where were you) studying from?

I am based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

What is your instrument / skill / profession?

I play the piano, guitar and sing. I was not classically trained however, I got the opportunity to learn and explore various different styles of music.

What drew you to study with AMS Online?

The course being a top up while everything was compressed to a year and the option for distance learning attracted me towards completing the course.

What do you do alongside your music degree?

I am a full time music specialists at The British School Kathmandu. I am also a songwriter, music arranger and composer of songs for films.

What have been the benefits of online distance learning for you

The fact that it was a distance learning made things very easy as I could still work at the same place and did not have to worry about the living expenses on a foreign country.

How has the course itself helped your musical development?

Producing my own tracks would not have been possible if I was not taking the route for music production on the course. The art of making a track sound beautiful whether an instrumental or vocal music has been cultivated in me with the help of this course.

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

I am currently working as a film composer on a Nepali feature film dated to be release this summer and the course has definitely enhanced my knowledge and skills.

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

I am currently enrolled on a postgraduate programme at the University of Nottingham which shall be completed in few months and I aim to further study for a masters degree and this would not have been possible without AMS online.

Follow Suyog on Instagram to follow his musical progress, or check out his amazing recent work below....

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ams online mental health blog

Music, Mental Health and Creating a Safe-Space with Online Learning

It might seem like a paradox. The use of an online space as an area of solace and recuperation for those with mental health issues, when so much of the online world and modern technology has been criticized for contributing to today's mental health crisis. However the reality is that an alternative online education often strikes a perfect balance for those who wish to study at their own pace, in whatever location is best suited to them, on their own terms.

AMS Online provides a digital learning resource which has all the academic benefits of a conventional, physical University, but instead is delivered on a personal, one-to-one basis where students can learn in an untapped variety of locations. Being an Online Music University means that our students can study from whatever location best suits their needs or existing commitments, not having to travel at all for one-on-one tuition with industry professionals. For working musicians, who make up a large proportion of AMS students, the flexibility of online learning means that they can take their work with them on the road, on gigs and tours no matter where they are in the world (check out our recent student interviews on this). However, the comfort, flexibility and adaptable nature of online learning also has huge benefits for music students suffering with mental or physical health issues. has stated that “one in four students suffer from mental health problems” and while a mental health crisis in young people is evident, new flexible, low-pressure and versatile learning spaces can work to combat this. The Independent claims that University lifestyle itself can often induce anxiety in young people - “studying combined with life changes can lead students to feel overwhelmed and stressed – and many students report high levels of anxiety and distress.” In the modern world, flexible and mobile study might provide a healthy antidote. Or at least an attractive alternative.

The online learning community can provide a low-pressure, all welcoming, and inclusive environment for those who work best from home, in a space which is comfortable and suited to their needs.

Study from home can be comfortable and convenient, providing a digital safe space not just for mental health sufferers, but for anyone seeking an alternative to convention University lifestyle. For those who suffer from mental illness, such as anxiety or other - online learning can be a versatile way to learn within a familiar environment already adjusted to a student’s personal needs, one that also included direct and regular contact with course tutors via Skype tutorials or message communication.

"The one learning community can provide a low-pressure, all-welcoming, and inclusive environment for those who work best from home"

Music can often be an independent and cathartic process - traditional education methods or facilities simply do not suit everyone. AMS Online promotes the ability to learn on your own terms at your own pace, with reflective and personal tuition.

Although it is important for students with disabilities to be fully aware of both the benefits and considerations of online learning, before deciding if it is the best fit for them or not, it is arguable that in the modern world, where online facilities are becoming more and more popular anyway (stat and example), provision, one-on-one teaching and flexibility can be found more readily in online resources.

Online Education provides:

Convenience & Flexibility
So long as you have a laptop, you can study anywhere. An online degree means that you can study at your own pace, at whatever time of day suits you. Deadlines still need to be met, but unlike conventional study, you can dip in and out of lectures and readings, and take the work at your own pace. At AMS Online we exist to support those who already have a busy music work life, are touring, or simply need some extra time to create their best work possible (try our Part-Time study options).

Learn in a comfortable environment
For students with physical or mental disabilities, the option to study within a familiar or adaptable environment is often a huge plus.

One-on-one tuition
Expert tuition from working professionals and musicians is delivered through Skype and online, giving you person one-on-one tuition from the comfort or convenience of your desired location.  Our industry professionals work with us to deliver the most personal, specific feedback possible, and are always at hand to address or talk about your needs - musical or otherwise.

Break away from convention
Many universities have recently been criticized for not offering adequate mental health support to it’s students, University lifestyle itself often contributes to the problem, but there are also social pressures to remain in a physical university structure. The growing success and popularity of Online degrees suggests that there is another option. Learn and achieve on your terms, with the time and space to include degree level study in your life whilst not sacrificing a lifestyle that best works for you. claims that “An online education might be preferable to an 'in-person' education for a student with disabilities for many reasons. One of the main reasons being that the school will be able to accommodate the student better. From a more suitable student/faculty ratio, so they can get more one-on-one help, to the fact that the student will have to do less traveling, there are a large number of factors that can make an online education a better choice for these students.”

The music industry needs to do its bit and adapt to mental and physical health needs of fans and artists. It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and we’re upping the ante on our social media to broaden the discussion around this. Recently Academy of Music and Sound (Edinburgh) Alumni and chart topper Lewis Capaldi announced that he was introducing support workers, gig buddies and an 'escape room' to his gigs. Plus AMS Online and our counter-part The Academy of Music and Sound have been posting a lot on gig accessibility, mental health within the music industry on our social media, so keep your eyes peeled, and keep the conversation going.

Words: Izzy Trott

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