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Music & Education

The Academy of Contemporary Music is a college based in Guildford, offering music industry education with a difference. Courses are run in subjects such as Music Production, Artist Development, Performance and Business at both FE and HE levels. Alongside these academic qualifications, ACM also does part-time courses and summer schools for those looking to try out a new skill.

Priding itself on providing innovative, current and engaging music industry education since 1995, ACM was founded by guitar tutor Phil Brookes. Phil’s vision was to create a school with direct connections to the music industry whilst offering a clear vocational focus. Throughout its tenure, ACM has always maintained its strong connections to the industry by having a dedicated Industry Link team. The Industry Link are always creating new opportunities, work experience and internships at real world companies and events for its students. In addition to this fantastic service, the Academy boasts many tutors who are currently working in the industry to ensure all lectures are fresh, current and engaging. With this unique teaching style at the core of the Academy’s values, it is incredibly important for the college to put on these masterclasses to show students first-hand how they can achieve this kind of success. Throughout the years ACM has constantly evolved and pushed the boundaries of music education, creating a clear brand in the process. In 2013 ACM was partnered with the world- renowned Metropolis recording studios after it was acquired by entrepreneur Kainne Clements (co-owner of Metropolis). Since this exciting partnership, students at the ACM have had a whole host of opportunities come their way, from

exclusive masterclasses to recording sessions in the famous powerhouse studio itself. To continue pushing forward as world leaders in this education sector, ACM wanted to do something different in the way of running a competition – the idea being to directly involve a student and give them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, kickstarting their career in the tough world of the music business.

Fifteen students were selected to take part in the competition in which they learned and performed Drifters tracks. The calibre of talent on show was extremely high and it was a tough decision to make, however in the end Ginnie Breakwell was chosen for her ‘natural performance skills and strong voice’. Currently studying on ACM’s Vocal Performance degree, Ginnie (22) enjoys performing in a variety of styles including R‘n’B, Soul, Jazz and Pop. She is presently finishing her second album for her Hip Hop/Pop duo Motif who are in the process of signing with Metropolis Publishing. Motif have featured on BBC Introducing, The Convent Live Lounge and have recently made their debut at Bestival. The day started with a masterclass hosted by the Academy’s Head of Creative Industry Development – Ace (guitar & backing vocals in Skunk Anansie). Drifter Michael Williams alongside musical director Dan Healey and manager Kathy Mashadi took part in a Q&A with the students. They were asked many questions which ranged from vocal warm up techniques to how they started out in the industry, alongside important tips on vocal health. During the masterclass students Sarah Martin, Eleanor Martin and Rhys Wilson got to perform backing vocals to ‘Saturday Night at the Moves’ with

Michael Williams. Whilst the students had been learning the tracks for weeks they were quite nervous at the pressure of performing alongside a legendary Drifter, but their hard work had paid off as the performance went without a hitch! Manager Kathy Mashadi was so impressed at their talent, she invited the students to come and perform live with The Drifters at their upcoming Croydon show. The session was fast paced with lots of golden advice crammed in. Michael, Dan and Kathy thoroughly engaged the students, so much so they all crowded round once the class drew to a close to ensure all of their questions were answered.

After a short lunch break the rest of The Drifters arrived. It was straight into the studio where students were already looking learn more. The Drifters were blown away by the facilities at the Academy and were eager to get started with their session in the colleges ‘Teaching Control’ studio. Ginnie and Michael went into a practice room to warm up their vocals and the engineer quickly set up the session. Once together, Ginnie and The Drifters took no more than two takes to lay down an incredible version of Saturday Night at the Movies. The Drifters then went on to perform two more tracks followed by an interview with Ginnie and Eagle FM. During the studio session Dan Healey and Kathy Mashadi were on hand answering students’ questions. The Drifters even signed posters as keepsakes for the performers - which was a lovely touch. Students and Drifters alike had a wonderful time and it was a very successful masterclass put on by the ACM.

November 2015


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