Could you turn a passion for music into a real career? We caught up with Mark Clayden, college manager of BIMM – and bona fide rock star who has toured with the likes of Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne – to talk more about studying music overseas...
What is it about Berlin which makes it an ideal location to study Music?
‘Berlin is the definition of a ‘Music City’. It’s packed with live venues, recording studios and major labels, and through BIMM’s enviable industry connections, we link our students to all of it. The city has a long heritage of hosting major music artists for performance and writing/recording projects, such as Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, U2 and Bloc Party. Probably the most famous musical legacy is David Bowie’s ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of albums: ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘The Lodger’.
Berlin has been a key centre for music since the 18th century, and has continued to be hugely influential on a global scale. Cosmopolitan, creative, avant-garde, subversive and open-minded; it’s a city that mixes this deep regard for the history and tradition of music with a desire to be distinctively contemporary and cutting-edge.’
As well as turning professional, what career paths does a qualification in music open up? What paths have BIMM graduates gone in?
‘Our graduates are working across every avenue of today’s music industry as artists, producers, managers, booking agents, songwriters, journalists… the list goes on. Some of the names which students may have heard of include George Ezra, Beth Rowley, The Other Tribe and Ben Thompson (of Two Door Cinema Club).
Ben Thompson, live drummer for Two Door Cinema Club:
Former BIMM Bristol student George Ezra:
In addition to an official qualification, what skills does a Music qualification teach a student? Does studying music just consist of actually playing an instrument every day?
Each course teaches a range of specialised skills which go beyond simply being proficient at a particular instrument. The BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals) grants our students musical freedom for expression and creation, nurturing both performance and songwriting abilities amongst other skills. Students on the BA (Hons) Songwriting course will learn all the integral components of songwriting (lyrics, chords, melody and arrangement), with a view to ‘write for commission’ and put them into practice when producing a song. Meanwhile the BA (Hons) Music Business degree covers every aspect of the industry for students, including managing, A&R, marketing, budgeting, legality, record label operations and running their own company. The course is very current with a strong emphasis on the digital age and how they can use this medium as a tool to further their career.
The great thing about our degrees is that all BIMM Berlin students have the opportunity to study the second year of their course at our BIMM London sister college – right at the heart of the global music industry – before returning to BIMM Berlin for their final year.
All BIMM degrees involve a mixture of practical and theoretical learning, and students will gain an understanding of key events in the history of music. BIMM teaches students the personal and professional skills required to have a long and successful career in the music industry, and students leave BIMM with a comprehensive and thoroughly transferable skillset.’
You’ve recently opened a new campus in Berlin. Tell us about it.
‘BIMM Berlin, based in the same building as our partners Noisy Academy, is located in the creative Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district of Berlin. The campus provides state-of-the-art professional facilities, with equipment and software delivered by the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers. Our college features top-of-the-range Mac suites with Ableton-sponsored equipment, backline-fitted rehearsal studios, and an independently owned recording studio which can be booked by BIMM Berlin students at a discounted rate.
The BIMM Berlin building itself is a music industry hub with equipment hire, a radio station, a world-renowned music magazine, several independent recording studios and an online event ticketing agency, giving our students an instant connection to the local creative and music community and ample opportunities for work experience.’
Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience.
When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.