ba hons music students ams online lewis

BA students double in 12 months as we welcome talented new students!

It’s been a great start to the new term here at AMSonline, with record intake of students and new specialist tutors, we’re really upping our online game and really looking forward to what the upcoming year has in store.

Firstly, our intake of BA online students have incredibly doubled in 12 months! The 2020 September starts was our highest ever – we enjoyed double the number of students starting the BA this September when compared to last September. Plus we’re absolutely thrilled to welcome all our new students who come from a range of different musical backgrounds and skills.

On the course this year we’re excited to welcome some great talent with a wealth of experience, including Toni Robinson. Toni is also a session singer/backing vocalist who has toured with Rita Ora and Jess Glynne, and has worked with the likes of Elton John, Bastille and Kano. You’ll have probably seen the slick new Just Eat Ad featuring Snoop Dogg recently too – Toni composed and performed the entire Just Eat 2019 Advert and then worked on the vocals for the recent Snoop Dogg rendition (again featuring as the vocalist)!
AMSonline student Toni Robinson is part of the Just Eat campaign.

We also have Lewis (Lewie) Allen join us us this year. Lewie plays guitar for Sam Smith and Liam Payne, and has worked with a host of other big names including Jesse J, Tom Jones, Jesse Rowland, Ariane Grande, and Peter Andre! He’s also joined us for an AMS masterclass before – so we’re thrilled he’s back to study with us. And that’s only to name a few!

Lewis Allen
Lewis (Lewie) Allen – guitarist for Liam Payne and Sam Smith.

In other news….

This year, we’re also very excited to welcome Bass-player extraordinaire Ariane Cap to the AMSonline teaching team. Ariane is a popular online music personality with a successful Bass blog and a big following. Ariane is also a passionate educator, self-published bestselling author, eclectic performer (electric bassist), a busy blogger and habit coach!

“I am happy to announce my collaboration with AMSOnline under the validation of the London College of Music/University of West London. Receive your Foundation Degree after two years studying at AMS Online with me as one of your teachers.  On the Foundation degree students can choose to specialise in a certain instrument, and are entitled to an amount of support for that study by way of online video sessions. The curriculum is well rounded and practical.” – Ariane

Ariane Cap Guitars

She taught at the Berkeley Jazz Workshop, the Golden Gate Bass Camp, was 10 years artist-in-residence teacher at the Wyoming Rock Camp Experience in Jackson Hole, taught at the California Jazz Conservatory’s Women’s and Girl’s Jazz and Blues Camps for 10+ years, co-taught masterclasses with Paul Hanson at the University of the Redlands, Colorado State, Montana State University and others.

Like what you hear? Want to learn more?

Our next entry point is January 2020 – get in touch with our recruitment team now to find out more about our courses and find the option to suit you best. You can also explore all our courses here.


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.

Words: Izzy Trott

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James Gordon - Masters student, Guitar teacher & 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 or, 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
Twitter: @jaymzgordon
Spotify Profile:

Words: Izzy Trott