This years Silver Stage Music was hosted and supported at the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University. For two days TICE students were taken by their mentor Sam Burt to complete their Silver Stage challenge. What is most fantastic about the music team is the students are from different schools, they’ve never met and they start to work alongside each immediately – a complete credit to their talent and ability as well as being young motivated musicians.
The first morning of Silver began with a tour of the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University with lecturer Jane Nolan. Students got to see some practice rooms (each one with a grand piano!), lecture rooms and also the very regal Kings Hall performance space. Dr Kirsten Gibson then gave them a detailed talk on various degree options. These are very wide ranging and take in everything from Classical to the study of Caribbean Folk Music and the course can include a year abroad.
We then hot footed it, via the sumptuous Quadrangle, to the music studios at the city end of the campus. The students were welcomed by Jo Goatman and music technicians David De La Haye and Fred Hollingsworth who gave the students a tour of the well equipped studios and live rooms, writing rooms and the two main control rooms. Following Sam’s own rendition of Umbrella on Spanish guitar that set the students the challenge – they were to work in groups and decide on a song to cover. Everyone had come in prepared with their own versions so at first the groups had to pool all the ideas and go with the best one.
Critical to the task was that the cover could NOT be in the same style/genre as the original. There would also be a performance at the end of the 2nd day. This is a great mini project as it allows students to examine and study what makes up a great song and then to use their creative flair to put their unique spin on it. Music theory had a role to play in order to work out chords and sometimes transpose the piece to fit the vocalist. This year we had covers of ‘Payphone’ by Maroon 5, ‘That’s What Makes You Beautiful’ by One Direction and ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay.
All 3 groups pulled off very unique versions and under the huge time constraints given were highly impressive. Lecturer Dr Paul Fleet also popped in on the morning of the 2nd day to give a more informal chat about the University and the myriad of career paths music study can lead to. He also gave some excellent creative advice to spur our groups on.
The TICE Team would just like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who made this possible from Newcastle University. It was a fantastic couple of days and we can’t wait to come back! THANK YOU…
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