Music students reach new levels during lockdown

Website Editor

UCW Professional Music Performance and Production students recently joined Weston College learners in a very special virtual workshop with legendary Level 42 bass player and vocalist Mark King – the latest initiative demonstrating how the students and staff are embracing distance learning and teaching.

The Zoom masterclass was set up thanks to the great connections between our lecturers and professional musicians and producers, with Level 42 gaining global success in the 1980s and 90s with their genre-defying jazz-funk hits such as Lessons in Love and Something About You.

Mark, who is widely considered to be one of the world’s most influential bass players thanks to his signature slap style, performed songs and singalongs for the students, told them about his inspirational journey and answered their questions about the music industry.

He said: “My message to young musicians is to make the most of every opportunity. The industry is always changing so make sure you’re able to adapt and keep making valuable connections. It was really fun to perform, meet the students and answer their questions.”

Lee Sullivan, UCW’s Professional Music Performance and Production degree coordinator, commented: “To have one of the world’s greatest bass players visit our virtual classroom during such challenging times was just fantastic. We are incredibly grateful to Mark for providing such a superb workshop, inspiring our young student musicians, giving them the opportunity to see his technique up close and hear about his career.”

Jay Lippett, who studies on the course, added: “I felt very inspired following that session. It was amazing to learn about the personal success stories of one of my favourite bassists and I have certainly taken Mark’s advice to heart!”

In the eight weeks since the UK lockdown started, there have been a number of other innovative initiatives involving UCW music students and staff.

Janine Bloomfield launched her own near-weekly virtual music festival, with the Locked In Festival Facebook group having already gained an incredible 3,700 members and providing a performance platform to UCW and College and regional musicians, singers and DJs.

Students have honed their performance and production skills from home, been encouraged to build their own Raspberry Pi CPUs to give them a greater understanding of music technology, and the virtual learning environment has been enhanced with regular pub-style quizzes and broadcast sessions themed around different music genres.

BA (Hons) Professional Music Performance and Production at UCW is delivered in partnership with Bath Spa University.

Please go to the Weston College website to learn more about their fantastic range of Level 2 and Level 3 music courses.