The research I have been doing recently for the Welsh Music Foundation into live music over the last few months has made me think – how relevant and important are Foundation Degree’s to the music industry? This is part of a two-part post, where I will address ‘relevance’ first.
I have written a number of Foundation Degree’s over the last 10 years (For both Bournemouth University and Glamorgan University), and I think the original idea behind these qualifications was theoretically sound. The concept of a qualification reflecting the skill requirements of the music industry is useful, and although Foundation Degree’s have worked well in other sectors, there have always been factors that prevent this qualification from being relevant for music.
For example, an important ingredient of all FD’s is the work placement. As the qualification is vocational, it makes sense to facilitate practitioners to obtain part of their credit via the work place.The vast majority of institutions teaching FD’s find this difficult with music, something which results in many devising ‘work related assignments’, where students are accessed via ‘real life’ scenarios. Although this is the next best thing, like myself, many lecturers find it difficult to keep up with current industry practice (How can you do both?). Although it may be easy to organise a work placement to a local builders firm or Tescos (who now have their own FD), it is far more difficult to enable students to work as part of a successful touring act, or a major publisher.
It seems to me that this has resulted in the music industry (whatever that means) generally not relating to the qualification. Having being part of this process over the last 10 years, I recently decided to develop a Foundation Degree that is not aimed at school/college students, but at people already in the industry. This leads me to the 2nd part of my post – how important are qualifications to the music industry.
More on this later ……………………..