Applications are rushing in for the first degree course of its kind in the State, but can the programme deliver as the music business continues to struggle?
A NEW WAVE of sound is poised to flow from Dublin. Next September, budding musicians, producers, and promoters will begin an innovative degree course in Commercial Modern Music, run by the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) at the Dublin Institute of Technology. They’ll be in good company at the college “run by musicians for musicians”. Alumni from BIMM’s Brighton and Bristol outlets include The Kooks, Beth Rowley, several members of The Ordinary Boys and Kate Nash, the first unsigned artist to have a number one album on iTunes.
At first glance, BIMM’s decision to set up in Dublin seems a bold move. By international standards, Dublin is a relatively small city. It is painfully losing its young to emigration. Some of the city’s popular music venues are at risk of closure due to the unsustainable cost of rents, with the much-loved Sin É being the latest casualty. And that’s before taking into account the likelihood of further cuts in the third-level education sector, which may directly affect students on the new DIT course.
Industry experts and music educators believe there is a pent-up demand for a commercial music course in Ireland. Until now, students interested in a third-level music education were confined to the Newpark School of Music’s jazz programme, UCD’s heavily theoretical Bachelor of Music, or DIT’s education- and classically-focused music degrees. The Ballyfermot College of Further Education also run a “School of Rock”, but not to degree level.
Sarah Clayman, managing director of BIMM, believes that Dublin is the ideal place for the organisation to dip its toe beyond British shores. “There’s always an excuse not to set up a business,” she says. “We’re not frightened off by Ireland’s current economic climate, and we have long-term aspirations in Dublin. Ireland has a great music history, and Dublin has lots of live venues. Even the buskers are of a high calibre.”
BIMM isn’t about instant fame, say past and former students. The courses give students a broad overview of the modern commercial music industry, encompassing promotion, recording, production, staging, session skills, technical development, music business, sight reading, and of course, performance. The Irish course is also expected to include a module in traditional Irish music, but this has yet to be confirmed.
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by Liam Carey @Bandpages