Continuing on from my last post regarding the relevance of Foundation Degrees, I would like to briefly discuss how important they are to the music industry. The research I have been doing into live music over the last few months has enabled me to speak to a lot of people in the music industry, and it seems to me that many practitioners within the industry believe that a qualification to upgrade their skills would be useful, BUT – they don’t seem to know what Foundation Degrees or Creative Apprentiships are.
Regarding my own experience, I left school with very few qualifications, but managed to get into music college at the age of 19 to study for my first degree. The reason I was there was to learn about music – I was not interested in the qualification. This led to the first big mistake in my life – I left 4 months before the end of the qualification to play the guitar in Middle East with my first professional band. In retrospect, this move enabled me to move to London the following year and begin my career as a professional musician, BUT – it did not take me long to realise – the qualification I kicked into touch would have opened up many doors that were firmly locked. This led me to go to Middlesex Uni to complete my degree, which I followed up with a PhD a few years later (with composer Gavin Bryars as my mentor). These qualifications enabled me to make the transition from a professional musician to an ‘academic’ (what ever that means). I think this background has made me more aware than many of how relevant training/qualifications can not only give you the skills to make a living, but they can also provide you with a piece of paper that may open up doors in the future.
That is the reason I have been developing a foundation degree for practitioners already in the music industry. I feel it will enable practitioners to get credit for their experience, and learn how to exploit their creative abilities. All of this begs the question – how do this generation of people working within the music industry consider qualifications? As stated above, my impression is many people are interested in training/qualifications, but don’t really understand what they are or what they offer. This communication between universities and colleges is something that needs to be addressed in future if we are to encourage professionals from the industry to take up qualifications such as foundation degrees. If anyone is interested in doing a Foundation Degree at some point in the future let me know.