Perfect Score utilises the combined 100 years experience of LMEH, Curve Theatre and Pedestrian to raise awareness of careers in music, develop talent in a range of styles and genres, and promote progression into varied music careers. The project is designed to support greater progression into careers in music for young people in challenging circumstances or those experiencing barriers to music education and career development.
Perfect Score has three main strands in which young people, developing artists and music organisations can get involved; these are called Press Start, Level Up and Perfect Score. Press Start delivers targeted inclusive drop-in music making sessions for young people experiencing disadvantage, Level Up provides continuing professional development for Trainee Music Leaders, and Perfect Score will be a young peoples’ music careers conference.
Perfect Score Conference. The Big Day!
The day was a huge success: massive thanks to the exhibitors, panellists, speakers, performers, tutors, funders, gophers, teachers, guardians and (of course!) the enthusiastic young attendees for making it so special.
The event kicked off at around 9.30am as the young people arrived keen and ready to learn, already the atmosphere was buzzing as they excitedly perused the 15 exhibitor stalls and chatted to representatives from organisations across the music industry.
At 10am the attendees hustled into the auditorium to hear the keynote speeches. First, Pedestrian’s Director Bob Christer welcomed everyone to the event, and encouraged the young people to start devising some burning questions to put to the panel later! Louise Rickwood of The Creative Industries Federation started the keynote speeches by setting the scene of the event, revealing that the music industry is worth £5.2 billion to the UK economy and engaging the audience with some energetic live interaction, welcoming their contributions. This was then followed by some words from Oliver Morris of UK Music and Skatta, a young grime artist from Coventry. They spoke about pathways into the music industry, and shared Skatta’s latest music video.
The young people were then let loose to explore the exhibition stands in more depth, including enjoying displays and demonstrations by organisations such as OHMI Trust, The National Foundation for Youth Music, Intasound, Confetti, Normans Musical Instruments, Youth Education Project, Leicester Music Education Hub, Steinberg Media Technologies, Musicians’ Union, The Mighty Creatives, Rock School Limited, Amara Publishing, Horus Music, DeMontfort University and Voice Magazine. The attendees had a fab time interacting with the exhibits, including music technology, software and instruments (including some unusual home-made varieties!)
During this time, young people who have been involved with the Perfect Score project developing and rehearsing their own original music met with UK Music to present their tracks and receive personalised feedback about ways to advance their music industry career. These young performers are known as the the Press Start Musicians and Trainees, and include Estar, Sly, 11, Usman, Muzi, TM, Aaliyah Essence, Nidah Hanif, and Dulzo.
At 11am it was time for the workshops. One was lead by Leicester music-scene veteran and beatboxer Akshay Sharma (a.k.a. Mr. Shay), which was a journey into music technology: how it used, by who, and covering the evolution of music technology from the piano to modern-day samplers. The young people really got involved and enjoyed the session.
The second workshop was by event and stage manager Kelly McCormack, which was all about the role of the stage manager. This included defining what a stage manager does, the skills and personality required, the pros and cons of the job, some insights from other people in the business, as well as good ways to get experience if you’re interested in pursuing stage management as a career. It was a fun session, which had the young people very engaged and interested.
It was then time for lunch, a busy time when the young people chatted to exhibitors and listened to music. Perfect Score Project Manager Kate Rounding even got the chance to show them her flute playing skills, accompanied by music tracks created during Pedestrian’s Concept music project!
The next activity for the day was the panel discussion, our panel was comprised of Oliver Morris, Louise Rickwood, Kelly McCormack, Skatta, Perfect Score Press Start musician Estar, and Tanyel Gumushan and Niall O’Connor of PPLPRS. Questions posed to the panel included those around collecting royalties and registering with PPLPRS, how the organisation operates, and the kind of corporate work that ensures people are licensed. There was also a lot of discussion about inspiration, why artists make their own music and the challenges that the panellists have faced in their music careers. The key message to the young people was that there is no straight pathway in anyone’s music career – everyone’s journey is different, but each time a door closes a new opportunity opens elsewhere. Young musician Estar spoke very confidently about her own musical journey with the Perfect Score project, and the work she’s doing towards getting her music known.
In the final part of the day the young attendees were treated to performances by the Perfect Score Press Start musicians. The performances were incredible and the atmosphere amazing as the musicians performed a diverse range of music including rock, hip-hop, R&B and reggae-inspired pieces in response to smiles, big applause and back row singing and dancing by the audience! Sly and Estar’s performance celebrated their home in the the city of Leicester, referencing lots of Leicester landmarks and features. All of the Press Start musicians showed great bravery and confidence, to the admiration of everyone watching.
The event then drew to a close, the day having been a great success. Altogether 145 people attended the event, including 80 young people. After the young people and their guardians had departed, a partner organisation forum was held which was attended by over 30 people from organisations including HQ Familia, Arts Council England, Soft Touch Arts and Technology in Music Education. This represented a chance to explore future thinking and discuss the development of joined-up approaches to working across Leicester and the East Midlands. All the music industry representatives that attended were very impressed with the Perfect Score Young People’s Music Careers Conference, and expressed a desire to continue and take it further.
As ever, if you’d like to contact us about this project you can reach Pedestrian’s Perfect Score team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perfect Score Press Start at Sirkus Studios
Press Start young people were accompanied by Perfect Score Music Leaders Naji Richards and Akshay Sharma to Sirkus Studios in Nottingham, where they enjoyed a mixing and mastering masterclass with Karl Junga (also known as Robin) to gain valuable insights into professional mastering techniques.
Robin has a track record of international chart success, with number 1s as signed artist, writer, performer, producer, mixer and mastering engineer. The team learnt techniques needed to work with music to ensure it is of the highest quality and ready to be played on radio, online, through large PA systems and for vinyl pressing.
All high-quality mastering begins with a great mix, and Robin worked on two of the tracks created by the Press Start musicians and producers to demonstrate the techniques used to prepare a recording for mastering. He then went on to demonstrate how he utilises a range of techniques and plug-ins to master the tracks so they sound the very best on any platform. Both mixing and mastering of audio requires skill in the use of music technology as well as a tuned and developed ear, along with creative finesse to ensure the tracks are clear, balanced and contemporary. Robin said that the Press Start participants were keen to learn about the processes involved and able to take some new and advanced terminology, skills and techniques from the session.
Perfect Score Visits BBC Introducing!
Welcome to our latest Perfect Score update! On Thursday 31st October Perfect Score tutors Tyler Clacey and Naji Richards spent their Hallowe’en accompanying participant Tian Mhende to BBC Introducing at Tobacco Dock in East London. We had an in-depth chat with Tyler about the day and what they learned.
Tell us about the Perfect Score trip to BBC Introducing!
We had a nice smooth journey and we got there promptly on time; a lot different to last year when we were stuck in traffic for six hours! It was a great day all in all, I feel like there were so many people who were at the same point in their journey musically. For the younger people there were a lot of their peers there, but there also people my age and Naji’s age who are a bit older and more experienced in the music scene but who are trying to bring the younger people in and give them knowledge and insights based upon our own experiences. I felt having that mix there was really beneficial.
The day was fairly focused on songwriting, performance and mental health/mindset. There was also some information about how to make money in the music industry. Mental wellbeing is very important to make sure you stay on track as an artist, though I noted there didn’t seem to be much on music technology or production on the day that we visited.
What was the highlight of your day?
Seeing a lot of Leicester people! It was great to see the community that I’m already in expanding and going out into the rest of the UK and spreading our knowledge and reputation in a united way.
Playing with new bits of kit like DJ gear was really fun. It was interesting to see someone like Naji, who’s grown up in the era of vinyl DJing, try some of the new equipment available at the event and show him how that works. Watching him learn something new was really cool, and demonstrates that no matter how far along you are in your musical journey, there’s always something new to learn! For my part, I learnt some new skills too, especially networking (I met lots of nice people). I’d also like to mention the great food!
What were the activities throughout the day?
The activities consisted of masterclasses, talks and events featuring PPL and PRS. We went to an interesting masterclass called Spotify Presents: Who We Be Talks With DJ Semtex and Keith Dube. Keith talked about making podcasts, so the focus was on spoken word and presenting rather than just music. That showed to me that there’s multiple ways of getting into the music industry and overlaps with other disciplines.
What happened during the masterclasses?
The masterclass would be lead by a host who would do a short interview with the artist; the floor would then open for the audience to ask questions. After that there was a practical aspect where the artist would demonstrate their skills, then ask members of the audience if they wanted to try it for themselves. So there was a nice mix of activities going on.
Did you enjoy the masterclasses you went to?
Of course the masterclasses were wicked! Craig David was probably the most high-profile artist; he’s had a twenty-year career so there was so much knowledge to gain from that.
The masterclasses were from really established artists, so were valuable and had a lot of great knowledge, though they also said some things that I did already know which in a way was rather comforting as it shows just how much I’ve grown in experience and confidence. A really cool experience for me was seeing a masterclass by DJ and Producer Eats Everything – I was lucky enough to be called up to mix with him! It was a nice feeling to be able to do what I do in front of him, when before I’ve been in a crowd of twenty thousand people watching him perform. I was a little bit starstruck, to be honest!
Which was your favourite masterclass?
There were three masterclasses that stood out to me, the first of which featured novelist Maverick Sabre and Rachel Furner, who spoke about song writing: methods for writing songs, what puts them in the right mood for being creative, as well as stories from the course of their careers. That was really eye opening in terms of the depth and breadth of the topics covered.
The second was the insights from podcaster Keith Dube, who spoke a lot about mental health. It’s really relevant to a lot of people today as we’re seeing a movement towards being more open about wellbeing. Keith also spoke a lot about the importance of talking to people and realising you’re not alone, which can be difficult for a lot of men. He didn’t realise that so many people felt the same as him until he started communicating.
Finally there was the talk by Craig David, which was really interesting because he’s had a career spanning twenty years or more so it was great to hear his perspective, including the difference between being a one-hit wonder and having an enduring musical career. He talked a lot about the roller coaster ride of the music industry (and life in general!), which was really insightful.
On the topic of mental health, what do you feel are the potential pitfalls for people entering today’s music industry?
Craig David touched on the danger of being sucked into your own hype: ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you need to keep it under control and not get wrapped up in your own success. It’s important to take a step back and remain humble.
Another thing he mentioned was that you can get addicted to success and ‘one-upping’ yourself: his first album sold seven million copies and the second three and a half million. Some people would be disappointed with the reduction in sales, but to him it was a huge achievement and something to be proud of. His message was to appreciate what you’ve got and enjoy the journey, because whatever pinnacle you get to, it’s never enough! You’ll always be searching for the next horizon: it’s human nature.
Any other thoughts to add?
I think events like BBC Introducing and the Perfect Score Young People’s Music Careers Conference are the bridge we need between elite artists and those just beginning their musical career, in order to share the personal in-depth knowledge that you can’t really express in a tweet or Instagram post. In a more intimate setting musicians can meet their community: real sharing, understanding and connection are made possible.
Insights from Naji Richards
We also had a brief chat with tutor Naji, who had the following to say:
It was a really good day! I enjoyed using the DJ kit and trying out different music equipment. It was absolutely packed with like-minded people, so networking and making new connections was great. We also saw Craig David, who hosted a seminar about his journey as an artist. It was interesting and full of useful advice for the young musicians, artists and producers we’re working with. In particular he emphasised the importance of remaining grounded: fame can come quickly but that can change in the blink of an eye, nothing is certain or permanent. He struck a good balance between that and the need to be confident and sure of your skills, talents and abilities.
The whole team really enjoyed visiting BBC Introducing and connecting with other musicians. We look forward to next year’s event!
Redbull Studios Recording Session with Perfect Score
We would like to say a massive thank you to the team at Redbull Studios! As part of our Perfect Score project our Trainee Music Leaders Millz, Tian and Muzi had the opportunity to record at Redbull Studios in London.
The Redbull team have worked with a huge range of artists including Jessie Ware, Mike Skinner, Jessie J, Skrillex, Plan B, Goldie and Rudimental, as well as many more! They are keen to support new, emerging and talented artists and we were thrilled to be invited to record in this fantastic studio.
We are looking forward to hearing more from these talented young music professionals!
Big thanks to Naji Wavey and Tyler Clacey for supporting the team and to Akshay Sharma for video editing!