Beyond the books: music

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In the fourth in a series of posts throughout September looking at the lighter side of student life, Louise Bell shows you how to let your musical side out whilst you study

What do REM, MGMT, Radiohead, Public Enemy, The Strokes and the Chemical Brothers all have in common? Yes, they’re all massively successful bands – but that’s not the only answer.

The thing that links them is that they all got together when they were studying. Of course, we can’t guarantee that you’ll end up playing stadiums in front of thousands of screaming fans, but if you have the urge to make music, your student years are a great time to start.

Again, it’s a good way to meet people. And as a student music-lover, plugged into the local gig circuit, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to perform. Think of all those student events and parties you could play. Every star has to start somewhere…

So where to begin? The obvious first step is to find other people who can play, but it’s not the only way: some bands are drawn together by a love of the same type of music, then learn as a group. Place an ad in the local paper or listings magazine, or pin it to the noticeboard at college, your favourite café or local shops.

Then find a place to practise. Does anyone have access to a garage? Is there a space at college or a local church hall? Okay, that’s the easy part done. Now all you have to do is practise, practise…and practise a bit more.

Spread the word

When it comes to music, the internet’s got a lot to answer for. Yes, it’s brought us the Arctic Monkeys (playing small gigs one week, straight to number one the next after building up a huge fanbase on MySpace) and Lana Del Rey (rocketed to fame – and a Vogue front cover – after posting a home-made film to accompany her song Video Games on YouTube). But it’s also brought us Justin Bieber.

The lesson is clear, though: the internet is a great place to get yourself heard. Tell your friends and followers where to find you online, and join relevant forums and groups. MySpace even offers design tips (check out the ‘Profile of the Day’ feature) and expert seminars on how to make your page work for you.

If you’re in Glasgow
Would-be guitar heroes should head to the Riverside Music Complex for weekly classes and private lessons for levels from beginners to advanced.

If you’re in Liverpool
Knotty Ash Rehearsal Space offers free studio space, plus tuition in DJing and songwriting

Wherever you are
There are always groups trying to complete their lineup, and the internet can be an ideal way to track down new bandmates. Try Musofinder or Join My Band.

This article first appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Accounting Technician, AAT’s membership magazine. Don’t miss Louise’s last post, which goes live on 1 October, which will look at how you can test your brain away from your studies.

Louise Bell has contributed to Accounting Technician magazine.

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