Bede's hosts 'A Life In Music' Seminar

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Deborah Franks reports on our 'A Life in Music' evening seminar, hosted by Bede’s Director of Music, Robert Scamardella.

The Bede’s community came together for our ‘A Life in Music’ seminar, hosted seamlessly by Robert Scamardella, just before half term. The seminar’s aim was to inform, inspire and offer advice to pupils considering a career in music. Breaking into this industry has never been easy – regardless of instrument, style or raw talent; however, it is a desirable career for those who have a passion for music.

We were honoured to be joined by four speakers from the music industry: Howard Moody (Composer, Keyboardist and Conductor); Roy Hilton (Piano Teacher at Bede’s, Jazz Pianist, Composer, and Musical Director); Benedict Kearns (Repetiteur, Baritone and Conductor); and Adam Staff (Sound and Recording Engineer).

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Each speaker guided us through their career journeys, shared personal observations on what they have learned when working in the industry, and gave valuable advice for forging a music career in the 21st Century.

The seminar focused on three main messages. The first was the unforgiving reality of today’s industry – musical perfection and uniqueness is expected at every single performance, rehearsal or collaboration. The ability to sight-read and sing cannot be underestimated, and can make or break a professional reputation. Today’s industry requires musicians to read a variety of styles and musical genres, at the drop of a hat. It was said that the London Symphony Orchestra can allow itself to be one of the least rehearsed in the world, due to the musicians’ exceptional, world-class sight-reading abilities.

The second message was about diversification. Musicians need to be more adaptable than ever, not only in their musical style, but also in their business and life skills. Those wishing to forge ahead with a career in music need to be able to network; self-promote through social media; be resilient and open minded (“say yes to every opportunity, even if not ideal, and then work out how to do it!”); deal with the legalities of contracts and freelancing; and be completely reliable.

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The third section was a positive accolade to good, old-fashioned manners, with the message that being personable, charming, straightforward and honest still goes long way in the industry, and enables musicians to earn the trusted respect of others.  Many friendships and cultural experiences are to be had in a life in music, so being true to yourself, and to those around you, is all part of the package.

Oh and lastly, there is a little bit of luck involved too! However, the attending musicians were encouraged to make their own luck, by developing their musical and professional reputations, and positioning themselves well. This can only maximise the opportunities to have a not just a career, but the joy of an ever-evolving, lifelong friend in music.

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Lower Sixth pupil, Matt Grant, said: “The seminar was genuinely very interesting and helpful. As someone hoping to play music professionally in the future, I enjoyed hearing people with varied and diverse experience speak about music as a career. I definitely learned a lot.”

Learn more about the Music Department at Bede's >

Learn more about Careers Advice at Bede's >