Popular Music Foundation Degrees: Are they Micky Mouse Courses?

The funding I recently obtained from the European Social Fund to develop a Foundation Degree for the Convergence Areas of the Welsh Music Industry is now been put to good use. The structure is now more or less fully developed, enabling practitioners to gain academic credit for up to half of the qualification. This is complemented by enabling the attendees to learn about the various structures of the modern music industry, in addition to the means through which they can exploit their creative talent. Unlike other Foundation Degrees that usually take two years full-time, this qualification will take around 15 months part-time, and is largely delivered by distance learning. There are 75 full bursaries over the next three years, with the first cohort starting in September this year. The pedagogical model for this was developed a couple of years ago in a paper I wrote for the Journal of Research into Higher Education, and is now ready for the testing stage.

The subject of if qualifications such as these are worthy contributions to academia is well covered, and during the time I have been living in Wales have discussed it a number of times on Radio and TV. In fact the BBC recently covered the start-up of the course in a short article, and I was surprised to see the same old approach – are popular music qualifications worthwhile? I would argue that on a number of levels they are.

Firstly – the government are informing us they are. University degree courses are about to become more flexible (in terms of delivery) and will have to have explicit links with industry due to the understandable expectations of students. Thus far I have managed to build a number of important links with industry for this course, and this is something that I hope will continue in the months to follow. The idea is not only to get feedback from these important stakeholders, but also to provide potential experience for the students on the programme. As I now have to consider myself an ‘academic’ as opposed to a professional musician – it is essential that full use is made of colleagues who are currently earning their crust within the profession.

Secondly, why does the word ‘popular music’ or ‘music industry’ signify that it is a ‘Micky Mouse’ course? When I developed the original Popular Music Course at Glamorgan 8 years ago (After moving from Bournemouth) – this was covered in the Daily Telegraph – who actually accompanied the article with a picture of Walt Disney’s favourite character (I kid you not). As I stated at the time, popular music is responsible for generating a huge income for the UK, something which has prompted people such as Tony Blair to recognise the importance of music to the economy. The live music industry alone generates over 1.5 , billion, so why should we not study the means that make this possible? As outlined in a recent report I done for the Welsh Music Foundation into the live music in Wales – Popular Music generates by far the most money for the Welsh economy – so to repeat myself – it makes sence to study it!

As with all of my posts, I limit myself to around 15 mins, and I have now reached this point. If anyone is interested in the Foundation Degree in Music Industry Entrepreneurship – please get in touch. And please – don’t call it a Micky Mouse course!!!!

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
This entry was posted in Education, Foundation Degre, Music Industry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Popular Music Foundation Degrees: Are they Micky Mouse Courses?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think this is excellent news, and as you rightly say the Music Industry is an Industry like any other, generating a huge amount of revenue, making it a relevant and worthwhile area of study.
    The Popular Music Industry in Wales has always been full of talented individuals but the lack of a strong Infrastructure has often meant that the talent has had to relocate to find success. In order to build the Industry in Wales I believe it is essential to offer courses which will encourage up and coming Welsh talent to use their ideas to set up businesses and unlock their entrepreneurial talent.
    I wish you every success with the new course!


  2. Simon Kingman says:

    This course is excellent news for Wales. The Music Industry is an Industry like any other, generating a huge amount of revenue for the economy and making it a relevant and worthwhile area for study.
    The Welsh music industry has always been brimming with highly talented individuals but due to a lack of a strong infrastructure, often these individuals have had to relocate to find work in their chosen field.
    A course of this type is essential to develop the Music Industry in Wales and to support new Welsh talent. Also by involving businesses already working within the Industry the students get the opportunity to explore areas of possible future employment and get to make essential future contacts.
    The music Industry is a highly competitive field whichever area you choose. This course could be highly beneficial to people wishing to work within the Industry, by developing the entrepreneurial skills necessary to bring their creative ideas to fruition.
    I wish you every success with the course!


  3. carza says:

    Thanks for this Simon. I hope the course can have at least a small impact on developing the infrastructure in Wales.


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