beth goudie ams award

Student Beth Goudie wins Songwriting Prize at Academy of Music & Sound

AMS Online student, Beth Goudie has won the Academy of Music and Sound Songwriting Award at the annual AMS Graduation Awards. The awards, which take place every year, are open to both AMS Online and AMS (Academy of music and Sound) UK students, and give out awards for Songwriting, production and performance.

Beth studied BA (Hons) Professional Music (Performance) with AMS Online, and is set to graduate this summer. Her debut album out in July, adding to an impressive set of recent achievements. After receiving the news of her win, Beth commented: "Receiving the AMS Graduation Songwriting Award has been such a special addition to what was already an incredibly rewarding year. As a songwriter, an award like this is a real honour and encouragement as it gives me a new level of confidence as I move forward in my career. My time with AMS has added so much to my professional and personal life and it’s an experience I would recommend to any musician. Thank you so much to everyone at AMS for providing such an enriching opportunity, it’s one I will be forever grateful for.

Beth was nominated by AMS Tutor Kimwei McCarthy, who spoke about Beth’s songwriting portfolio: "An astoundingly crafted EP of songs, which appear simple of first listen, but are in fact meticulously arranged, so that every note and every syllable fuse and ignite. These songs sound ancient and yet current, showing that they speak to something timelessly human in us".

Listen to Beth play her song Bouncy Castles live on BBC Radio Wales below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri5fhaLouO0

'Bouncy Castles' in a particular felt perceptive and wry and encapsulated the song writers dream of making the personal global. All in all a very rewarding and enriching listening experience with the beautiful recording of the voice adding both poise and fragility"

Judge, Rev Hammer

Each year the AMS Graduation Awards, which cross over both AMS Online and the wider Academy of Music and Sound centres, give out awards for the best performer, producer and of course, songwriter from all the BA students. 

AMS Principle, Rev Hammer, was the judge this year for the Songwriting award, he was looking for a song with a strong chorus or hook line, a memorable melody, a song which has both universal and personal appeal, in essence a song which may be around in twenty years and still sung then.

It’s fair to say then, that Rev was impressed with Beth’s talent. Of Beth’s recordings, he had this to say:  "Utterly charming recordings. The sparseness of the approach works perfectly with the lonesome feel and longing of the message. I particularly liked the lyrical content of songs such as 'Hiraeth', 'Bouncy Castles', 'Ashes' and 'Home'. 'Bouncy Castles' in a particular felt perceptive and wry and encapsulated the song writers dream of making the personal global. All in all a very rewarding and enriching listening experience with the beautiful recording of the voice adding both poise and fragility". 

Beth is set to be awarded her prize, which includes a free recording day at Studio54 in Exeter, at her graduation ceremony. Two other awards, one for Performance and another for Production up for grabs, though details on winners are yet to be announced. Stay tuned to AMS UK's main site for updates.

"As a songwriter, an award like this is a real honour and encouragement as it gives me a new level of confidence as I move forward in my career. My time with AMS has added so much to my professional and personal life and it’s an experience I would recommend to any musician."

- Winner, Beth Goudie

Read more about the awards on the AMS UK website, and follow Beth music on her social channels and Spotify Artist Profile.


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."


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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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANy6NimqGZ4

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....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsjZo8L27MU

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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.

YouGov.co.uk 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.

Disabledworld.com 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.

7/05/2019
Words: Izzy Trott

https://twitter.com/AMSOnlineMusic

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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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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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social media ams online

The Value of a Social Media

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