BA Hons Top Up available in Exeter & Gateshead September 2023

Are you looking to top up an FDA (Foundation Degree) or HND (Higher National Diploma) in music, music technology, multimedia or other related subject to a full BA hons?

If you are, then there are limited places available on our BA Hons Top Up at both Exeter and Gateshead Academy of Music & Sound Centres starting at the end of September 2023.

Our BA top up is a flexible, creative, year long programme (2 x 12 week semesters) that tops up a level 5 qualification to a BA (Hons).

There are modules in composition, performance, writing library (stock) music as well as the opportunity to specialise in music management and undertake a large scale project in an area of your choosing.

Our course page is HERE> 

If you don't have a previous level 5 qualification please do still get in touch, because if you've been active in the music industry in some capacity for over 5 years we can consider your experience to 'fast track' you onto this qualification, saving you both time and money.

Academy Group Photo.

The BA (Hons) top up in Exeter and Gateshead is validated by the University of West London, as such it is fully eligible for a tuition fee loan, maintenance loan and grant (where applicable) to support your living costs whilst you are studying.

If you have special educational needs, or a mental health condition you may be able to unlock further support through DSA.

Our city centre campuses offer small group delivery in high quality creative spaces, backed up by experienced tutors and support staff.

Get in touch today!

Contact Us 


aaron wilson summer rock guitar school

Aaron Wilson presents Guitar Summer School of Rock at AMS Edinburgh

AMS Edinburgh HND student Aaron Wilson will be running a rock guitar summer school series this year at the Edinburgh campus in Leith taking place over various dates.

The summer school will be 3 days a week, bi-weekly over 4 weeks in total, and the days will consist of 3 different groups: 2 hours Beginner group, then 2 hours Intermediate, then 2 hours Advanced.  Group sizes will be limited to 5 people and all sessions will adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. There will be beginner, intermediate and advanced sessions to suit every level of experience, and anyone is welcome to come along!

Each lesson is designed to boost all areas of attendees’ guitar playing and knowledge covering everything from scales, modes, fretboard and general music theory, and chord knowledge, to covering genre and guitarist appreciation and learning how to jam with your favourite songs and in a band setting; Aaron will cover it all!  

Week 1: 6th, 7th, 8th of July
Week 2: 20th, 21st, 22nd of July
Week 3: 3rd, 4th, 5th of August
Week 4: 10th, 11th, 12th of August.  

£65 a week per person OR £240 for 4 weeks

To book your place, contact Aaron Wilson on any of the following:
07932071121 | [email protected]www.aarronwilsonguitarlessons.com

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron is a lead guitarist, guitar tutor and session musician based in Edinburgh, about to complete his HND qualification at AMS Edinburgh. Aaron has been a lover of music for as long as he can remember, starting his musical journey at just 7 years old with his very first guitar. He has been passionately dedicated to playing and progressing with guitar in all ways ever since!  Aaron has studied guitar at multiple different music institutions, such as the Academy of Music and Sound Edinburgh, and Morningside School of Music, and also currently teaches guitar for the Leith School of Music.

With a range of experience in several forms of music, including Blues, Rock, Metal, Jazz, Fusion, and Finger-Style Acoustic, Aaron has become a proficient, young teaching professional, confident tutoring many styles. He also has experience in the live music scene too, having performed within various bands and as a session musician. 

Instagram page@aaron_wilzo
Facebook PageAaron Wilson Music

steg g reccomends loki empress stanley odd

Steg G recommends. . .

During our recent interview with the Scottish hip-hop artist and academic Steg G, Steg recommended to us a few of his favourite Scottish rappers, hip-hop artists and musicians. A mini who’s-who of Scottish hip-hop for those who hadn’t heard it before. We’ve listed his top 3 here. Scroll down to find out where to go first for your Scottish hip-hop fix….


Empress is one of Scotland’s finest female MC’s. With an impressive freestyle repertoire, and an empowering stage presence – she really knows what she’s doing. Having collaborated with the likes of Steg G and Loki, Empress is really making waves in the scene, and we can be sure to expect great things from her in the near future. With a great flow, beats and rhymes, she is a natural talent and we’re excited to see what she bring to the stage next. As Steg says, she’s simply a “fire rapper”.

Listen on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or Spotify.

Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd are an experimental and alternative hip-hop collective. They are know for playing around with and combining instrumentation, with samples, loops and raps. It’s no surprise Steg recommends them as one of our 3 go-to artists.

Formed in 2009, the band have supported acts such as Arrested DevelopmentSage Francis and The View, and played at major Scottish festivals T in the Park and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party. Their first album was released in May 2010 on Circular Records. Their self-released follow-up, Reject, was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year Award 2013, and A Thing Brand New in 2014.

See more on their website.

Loki The Scottish Rapper

Loki (AKA Darren McGarvey) might be best known now for is TV and media appearances, plus social work and books, but as Steg reminds us, at his heart he’s a hip-hop head, and a talented one at that.

McGarvey was brought up in Pollok on the south side of Glasgow, and went on to study Journalsim – now well known for his social commentary. Between 2004 and 2006, he wrote and presented eight programmes about the causes of anti-social behaviour and social deprivation for BBC Radio Scotland. McGarvey has worked with youth organisation Volition in the past, teaching young people to rap, and in 2012 he led a workshop as part of a PowerRap competition for schools, encouraging young people to explore important issues through music and language.

But as Steg says, his actual hip-hop is also top tier. And we highly recommend you check it out.

Listen on Bandcamp now.

HANG Hip hop grime conference scotland

HANG, Scotland’s first hip hop and grime conference unveils full programme

The full programme is unveiled for HANG (Hip-Hop Aimed Networking with Grime), Scotland’s first ever hip hop and grime conference. The event is also asking for applications from artists to perform at a live showcase. 

Introducing HANG, Scotlands very first music industry conference dedicated solely to the hip-hop and grime scene currently flourishing in the country. Taking place online (1100-2000) and live (2000-2200) at Glasgow’s SWG3 on Saturday 31st July, HANG aims to empower members of Scotland’s hip hop and grime communities and celebrate the diversity of voices reflecting the country in the 21st-century. AMS are also proud to be one of the many sponsors and supporters of the inaugural event.

The all-day educational and cultural programme will see key speakers Tiffany Calver, host of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Rap Show, Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) winner Nova, Aberdeen MC Ransom FA and Orwell Prize winner Darren McGarvey (AKA Loki the Scottish Rapper) all joined by experts from the industry, community organisations and artists from across Scotland.

New names revealed for HANG include Jill Brown, founder of Scotland’s first label for ex-offenders, broadcaster, musician and champion of new Scottish music Vic Galloway; Henca Maduro, founder of Europe’s largest urban music conference New Skool Rules; Khaleda Noon, the award-winning director of Intercultural Youth Scotland and Zander Whitehead (aka Fliptrix) founder of stalwart UK hip hop label High Focus Records.

Open to all ages and abilities, from fan to established artist, HANG’s free programme of workshops gives insight into the core elements of hip hop culture such as breakdancing with Tesko and Shelltoe Mel of Glasgow dance group TheDimeStop; spoken word with EmpressDave HookBecci Wallace and Washington, and DJ-ing with Steg G and DIJA.

Throughout the day, participants can watch the premiere of graffiti artist Rogue One re-creating the HANG logo in the iconic setting of Glasgow’s SWG3 where the event will culminate with a live showcase from Nova (the Edinburgh artist behind Re-Up, the first grime record to win the SAY Award) rising Dundee artist and SAMA winner India Ros3, Ayrshire rapper BemzMistah Bohze of Glasgow’s label Southside Deluxe, and two artists invited to perform exclusively for the event.

Darren McGarvey says: “HANG presents one of the first opportunities for artists from different generations, social backgrounds and genres to come together and share in a collective experience. Hip hop culture in Scotland is well developed, but not well integrated. This leaves many artists feeling like they exist on the outside and that the action is all happening somewhere else. HANG, in my view, could be a way to smash this perception, by supporting people to realise the truth – together we are stronger.”

HANG aims to empower artists with the skills to take charge of their careers with a series of free panel discussions on topics such as how to pitch your music to radio with Galloway, Go Radio’s Aarti Joshi and Delaina Sepko of Sunny G’s Beats & Breaks show; what platforms best support hip hop and grime with Henca Maduro, Clash Magazine editor Robin Murray and Sami Omar, founder of Glasgow-based music platform Up2standard; and how to monetise your music with Zander Whitehead (Fliptrix), Susan Montgomery of 23rd Precinct Music Publishing and Kwame Safo of the PRS Foundation’s Power Up initiative to support Black music creators and professionals.

McGarvey, Sinkler and Ransom FA – presenter of BBC THREE’s UK-wide Rap Tour – will begin the day with a discussion on the history of hip hop in Scotland, chaired by journalist Arusa Qureshi.

Partnered by Creative Scotland, HANG is presented by the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA), which is a signatory of the PRS’s Keychange commitment to include 50% of women and underrepresented genders by 2022 in programming, staffing and beyond.

The last discussion of the day will feature Calver exploring her career from blogger to becoming the first female host of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s The Rap Show with BBC Introducing in Scotland presenter and artist Shereen Cutkelvin.

Further challenging preconceptions about hip hop and grime will be a discussion on the importance of the genres to the wider community with Karen Dunbar (the comedian fronted hip hop workshops over lockdown), Intercultural Youth Scotland founder Khaleda Noon, Donna Boyd of Making Recovery Visible and Jill Brown, founder of Conviction Records.

The group will discuss how hip hop and spoken word informs their own approaches to community engagement, from its role in dry club nights, collaborative performances with refugees, songwriting workshops in prisons and more. Brown found a majority of inmates she worked with were drawn to hip hop. That’s a reflection of the genre’s burgeoning popularity but also how hip hop values authentic, unique voices.

Brown says: “I set up my label at the end of last year after leading songwriting workshops for young men in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison. Hip hop culture, and its many musical forms, plays a crucial role in the lives of many of those on the margins of society in Scotland and this event recognises this. You can’t underestimate the power of giving people a voice.”

HANG comes at a time when hip hop and grime can no longer be relegated to the edges of Scottish culture.

“Hip hop in Scotland has been developing for as long as hip hop itself,” says McGarvey. “But it has been criminally under-studied and reported due to a fixation on the part of Scotland’s cultural institutions on more traditional forms of art and music. The truth is, Scotland’s cultural image and standing will benefit immensely from embracing hip hop rather than treating it like a dirty little secret.

“In a nation where experts scratch their heads, desperate to ‘engage’ young people in creativity and literacy, hip hop provides endless opportunities and some of the world’s best practitioners.”


Artist invitation

Two artists are invited to perform sets at HANG at Glasgow’s SWG3 on Saturday 31st July 2021. Artists are asked to submit a link to two tracks plus a short biography to [email protected] before 5pm on Friday 18th June.



Tickets are available from 9am on Wednesday 9th June from Eventbrite.

Day passes for the online activities are free, and tickets to attend the socially-distanced evening showcase are £5 plus booking fee.

All day time programming will be available for free on @officialSAMA Facebook & YouTube channels. For the full programme visit officialsama.com/hang

ams glasgow may playlist

The AMS Glasgow May playlist is here!

Sunnier times are surely ahead. And with that hope, comes our fresh monthly playlist…

The AMS Glasgow regular staff playlist feature is here once again. This month features some darker sounds, packed with angst about the past, but also some rock and indie bangers, looking forward to the future and a brighter day. A playlist for the country’s mood right now? As usual, we’re featuring Glasgow and Scotland’s best up-and-coming talent including this time, Dinosaur Pile Up, Ceiti, Tigercub, Nothing But Thieves and Against the Current.

Stay tuned for the next AMS Glasgow playlist coming next month, and look back on previous playlists here.

Listen via Spotify using the player below now.

liverpool sound city 2021 festival ams academy of music

Sound City Returns in 2021!

In 2021 Liverpool Sound City returns to their spiritual home!


Sound City is back – and with an incredible line-up announcement! Coming your way for 3 days across Liverpool, Sound City have revealed that global indie superstar Beabadoobee will headline the Friday of the festival, together with UK rap sensation Not3s, GRACEY, Baby Queen and The Snuts.

Special guest Jamie Webster joins Red Rum Club for an all-out hometown party on the Saturday, whilst Sound City favourites Lottery Winners, King No-One and Monks all make their return alongside The Murder Capital and The Mysterines.

The spellbinding Lapsley takes to Sunday with scintillating songstress Miraa May, joining previously announced headliner Rejjie Snow and The Lathums.

The organisers commented on the past year for the events industry: “Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us throughout the last year – it’s been a long time coming but we cannot wait to see you all for an unforgettable 3 days in the heart of the greatest city of music.” 

Day and Weekend Tickets now available ~
Read about our partnership with Sound City here.

ams edinburgh free online workshops songwriting guitar

Free Songwriting & Guitar Workshop Open Day with AMS Edinburgh

We’re doing something a little different for our next open day…

Join our Edinburgh team on 5th June for an open day with something a little extra – a free guitar and songwriting workshop, for those budding strummers and songwriters out there! Enjoy two workshops with AMS tutors Michael Mackay and Marina Rolink, followed by a presentation about studying at AMS Edinburgh, and a Q&A session for you to ask anything and everything about our courses.


  • 12:00: Introduction and presentation
  • 12:30 – 13:30 – “Making Friends with Inspiration” Songwriting Workshop with Marina Rolink
  • 13:30 – 14:30 – “Tools for the Modern Guitarist” Guitar Workshop with Michael Mackay
  • 14:30 – Q&A Session: Courses and Studying at AMS Edinburgh

The presentation will cover:

  • How to apply
  • Fees and funding
  • The audition process
  • Life at AMS Edinburgh!

We will be hosting the event via Microsoft Teams. Digital invites to join the event will be sent via email once you have signed up. Sign up via the button below to secure your free slot. The workshop is open to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about us, but would be particularly relevant for those looking into potential further study at HNC/HND level.

For more information feel free to get in touch by calling 0131-656-0600 or email [email protected] if you have any questions about the event or signing up.

We look forward to meeting you all!

Steg G interview -hip-hop hip hop is for everyone AMS uk Scotland glasgow edinburgh

Steg G Interview- "The best hip-hop is still to be made"

Words: Isobel Trott

Ahead of the free hip-hop workshop he is running for us on 3rd May, academic, teacher, hip-hop head and musician Steg G took some time out of his hectic teaching and music making schedule to tell us a little bit more about what they can expect from the digital workshop. Steg dives into why teaching hip-hop in various contexts is so important, and gives us some expert knowledge and recommendations on the flourishing and varied Scottish hip-hop scene.

So Steg, what are you up to at the moment? What’s happening for you music-wise?

I’m always working on music and got a few new projects in the pipeline at the moment. About to relaunch my record label as well in the autumn and got quite an ambitious plan for that too. And definitely excited about that.


You’re also involved with Sunny G Radio in Glasgow, is that right?

Yeah, I’m the station manager for Sunny G Radio. I love being part of Sunny G, it helps to do a lot of good work for the community. It helps support local artists, it helps to join the dots of community life together, such as [with] musicians, with activists, with community workers, with young people, with older people. I really see Sunny Govan as like a tapestry of Glasgow. We’ve got like a hip-hop element, a folk element, our young people, our old people, our recovery element, you know, it’s just all these different patches that make it a very colourful broadcast. That’s how I like to see it anyway!

And how’s the fundraising going for Sunny G?

Yeah fundraising is good... Fundraising is always challenging for being a small Scottish charity, we kinda rely on fundraising, even pre-COVID as well we would be quite active fundraising. Sometimes it’s hard to get money for radio activities. Although that’s changed a little bit – changed a lot actually because of COVID, because people now realise the value of radio. Whereas pre-COVID people were sort of bypassing radio for new media, etc, etc, etc. Not realising that accessibility is really, really important. And also what we offer is up to the minute – up to the second – updates, so that people can find out a bit what’s happening.

At the moment we’re [all] thinking about reopening – as in society reopening. So that means certain businesses are reopening. But they’re only maybe half reopening. So we’re hoping to attract some advertising to let the public know ‘this business’ has reopened ‘this day’. But there’s going to be some conditions to that as well.


In terms of the hip-hop workshop on 3rd May, you’ve got coming up with us, could you tell people a bit more about that, what it’s going to involve? What they can expect?

Well, firstly, the hip-hop workshops we do with the Academy is fun. You don’t need to have a big, massive, huge experience of making hip-hop or being involved in hip-hop. If you enjoy hip-hop music, that does help a lot, but certainly, we will help participants learn more about how they can refine their rap skills. Maybe they’ve never rapped before and its all about helping them find their voice and give them confidence to express themselves. Because putting yourself out there sometimes – well, it is – it’s really personal. And that can be a big jump for people going from the paper to performing. 

We give people who are maybe a bit more advanced in songwriting and lyric writing some tips, some tricks, some examples about how they can refine what they do. And again, we never really want to the take away from the participants’ creativity, we just want to support them to grow in a direction that suits them. Not everyone wants to be a rapper though, a lot of people want to be involved in hip-hop and find out how to make music or record raps or get into the music production part of it too. So we talk about that. And we show people how they can make music using a phone, or a tablet, or a laptop using free software which is widely available.

I’m a big advocate of music for everybody. That’s one of the things that attracted me to hip-hop initially, the fact that this is music which does not necessarily have a barrier to entry. You don’t necessarily need to save up to buy an instrument. You don’t necessarily need to spend years on your music theory. If you’re creative and you’re passionate and you’re wanting to get involved in music, then hip hop’s always been a great vehicle for that. And I always encourage people to get involved in music because it’s a vehicle for everyone. We live in such a time of technology it has made it… not necessarily dead easy, because you still need to be creative, still need to have good ideas to make music… But the technology can help us to speed up the process, and maybe get rid of a lot of the… a lot of time that we take maybe to even master [things like] playing a guitar. We can bypass that a little bit with technology these days. And that’s not taking away from the music that’s made via technology, the music is still incredible and still very, very expressive and creative. It’s just, I like people to know that music is for everyone. Whether they’ve done music before or are not experienced in music. And hip-hop is a great tool for that.

You’ve run a few short courses for us before. I know you’ve had some interesting people turn up like Karen Dunbar before. What’s the response to those been like?

Oh, yeah, I love the short courses that we do because I never know who’s going to come through the door – metaphorically speaking on Teams at the moment. But I always get inspired by the participants too. I get inspired because they are keen to develop their musicality, and that inspires me to see they have made a jump, a significant jump, to go and get involved in music education and a music training programme.

I’m also very inspired by the diversity of the participants. And of course, there’s young people, there’s older people, there’s celebrities, there’s Reverends, and everything in between. Really to see how such a wide demographic can embrace and get something out of being involved in making hip hop music is dead exciting. And I also almost get an insight into the future of Scottish hip-hop – because I get to see the talent before everyone else does. So I quite enjoy that too.


It’s interesting you say there’s been such a broad demographic in attendance and lots of people seem to be interested in it. Do you think hip-hop tends to have a stigma around it? And some people have a certain pre-judgement about it?

Yeah, there’s a stigma. Or, an idea of what people think hip-hop is. Unfortunately, that’s due to mainstream media, sensationalist journalism, etc. The hip-hop that we hear on the radio, see on TV, it’s not really reflective of ‘true’ hip hop. That’s reflecting a mainstream Hollywood record industry style of hip-hop. And not necessarily hip-hop that gets played in people’s houses, or people’s cars or people’s Spotify playlists, you’ll find that’s a lot more underground what people are listening to as well.

I like people to know that music is for everyone. Whether they’ve done music before or are not experienced in music. And hip-hop is a great tool for that.” 

It’s good it’s increasingly being seen as more open. And that hip-hop is being taught more as well!

I think people are seeing themselves reflected back in hip-hop and Scotland as well. For the first time, people are seeing people like myself, people are seeing female MCs, people are seeing transgender rappers, people are seeing older people, younger people, celebrities, all getting involved in it. And not necessarily seeing big gold chains and that model of gangsta rap that we get subjected to a lot. It’s really starting to relate to more people as a vehicle. And people are thinking, ‘I could do this’ or ‘I could use this in my music,’ or ‘I could use this to express myself as well’.

Also, I know that people are sometimes scared to go to hip-hop shows because they don’t know what to expect. They think that crowd is gonna be hostile, or a testosterone-filled environment, which is not a friendly place to be. It’s the total opposite! In Scotland it’s the total opposite. When people do go to these events, they find that everyone appreciates people for coming and [they] want to get involved and to find out more. We don’t have a certain ‘dress code’,  people can look like they want to look. And also the music that people are rapping and performing is relating to a wider audience too. So people might come and they might go and witness a rap battle, but when they go, they realise it’s just normal people having fun, enjoying music, and they’ll tend to bring the friends along the next time. So I definitely see it building.


In terms of the Scottish hip-hop scene, from what I can tell it seems like there’s definitely a real underground flourishing scene going on. What are your thoughts on that?

Yeah Scottish hip-hop is at a very exciting place at the moment. It is a little bit behind England. And England is a little bit behind the rest of the world as well [laughs]. We’re also starting to see English MCs like slowthai being critically successful, critically acclaimed with their music [globally], people like Stormzy are always top of the charts. There’s also an underground movement in UK hip-hop as well.

Scotland is a little bit behind that, Scotland has always been a little bit behind on media because of geographic position as well. And maybe a little bit of the ‘Scottish Cringe’ has held us back throughout these years. Scottish people used to hate to hear themselves back in the media. They call it the ‘Scottish Cringe’, and basically we were told – taught by school – that our accents, our voices, sounded lower-class. Because we never used to hear Scottish accents on TV, that’s why I didn’t hear people sing in Scottish accents, the only one that we’d hear was The Proclaimers! Years and years ago. And they would get a lot of slagging for that too.

But you know, there’s always been Scottish bands, from punk to funk, to folk to rock. They all use their own accents now. So we’ve come through quite a transition as a culture, as a society, where we’re embracing our own accents, own words, own identity. And that’s a very very powerful thing. Again, the media, the mainstream things like the BBC saying that you need an Inverness accent – that this is the acceptable Scottish accent. If you live in Pollock in Glasgow, your accent is only on the TV for comedy purposes, mostly at the butt of a joke. Thankfully we have people like Loki now who is challenging that and flipping that narrative on its head now. So exciting times for Scotland for Scottish hip-hop. And I do feel like we are on the cusp of having our first superstars, whoever they may be. I don’t know who that is. Obviously, I did wish I knew who that was [laughs]! But I think we’re on the cusp of that, well, that’s this year or next year, but very soon.

How about yourself, how did you get into hip hop? What introduced you to it?

I got into it because I was always into music, playing guitar. Then I discovered hip hop through breakdancing, through what they call B-boying. But I was really into the music first, the dancing was sort of a reaction to the music. But I loved the fact the music was so different from the music that I was being brought up on. I was brought up on my parents’ music collection and their influences. But when I heard hip-hop it was raw drum machines, samples, and recorders. It sounded like music of my generation. It wasn’t my parents music, it was something that was new, something that was fresh, something that I could get involved in. I always loved a bit of hip-hop, even being a white person from Pollock in Glasgow, I always knew that hip-hop was for everyone because the messages rappers would say – it was always about reflecting their environment, reflecting their community, reflecting their own experiences. And I love that about hip-hop, so I really got into it quite quickly, and stuck to my guns, and said I’m just gonna go blinkered, do hip-hop, and be a hip-hop artist.


Which artists acted as your first introduction into hip-hop? Who are your favourites?

I have to say Public Enemy. Public Enemy was a massive influence on me for lots of reasons. They had the Sonics. They had the message. They had the team behind them as well. Public Enemy was a movement. It wasn’t just one person rapping a song, it was – let’s reflect our community, our society, let’s try and change, let’s educate people. And let’s empower people as well.

So I really liked that about Public Enemy. But then technically, Chuck D is a great lyricist, he’s got the voice of power, such a powerful voice – and the production of Public Enemy is so intricate and layered, and dense and musical. But it sounds almost like a wall of sound at some points just due to how advanced they were back in the day. It still really sounds good too. And Public Enemy are still doing great records in 2020 as well, making amazing albums right now. So really, it’s about the day. Lots of people coming up now – far too many probably to list! But then I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t look back too much in hip-hop. I like to look forward and see what’s coming next, what’s coming up right now. I will look back more one day, but not jus’ now.

Yeah. It’s easy to get nostalgic about.

Yeah, I think so! There’s still a lot to be done, that’s what I think. And I think, I mean, I’m optimistic, but I think the best hip-hop is still to be made…


In terms of teaching hip-hop and applying it to education and in music schools, what do you think the value of that is? Why hasn’t it been done as much as other areas of music teaching?

Yes. It’s a great question. I guess there’s a few reasons for that. There’s been a stereotype of hip-hop, that it’s derogatory to women, it causes violence, it’s materialistic – that’s not going to work in the classroom. That stereotype straightaway is a block. But again, that’s the element of hip-hop that people experience through the mainstream. So if you are an educator, and you don’t know hip-hop, and you’re only exposed to Tupac, and NWA and Dr. Dre or whoever, then that’s what you’ll think hip-hop is. So it won’t translate to the classroom. But if you experience some of the great lyricists, some of the great hip-hop records, some of the canon of hip-hop, you’ll learn why that’s respected and why it’s part of the canon. Then that certainly can access the curriculum and open up teachers’ minds.

Although teachers are changing. A lot of hip-hop people are now involved in education. Whereas before it was maybe traditional musicians or rock musicians or mainstream musicians that moved into education. Now hip-hop artists are moving into education as well. And not just music education – and not just hip-hop artists! Hip-hop fans can be head teachers, they can be police people, they can be the pillars of our society now. And I know that they are.

Hip-hop’s not a scary thing. And also, it would be silly for teachers and academics not to recognise that’s where the kids are listening to and learning from, in terms of engaging in music. Hip-hop is a massive thing in communities. My experiences in communities in Scotland, hip hop’s a massive thing for young people in communities in Scotland, and I think teachers are kinda catching up on that and thinking, how can we embrace this energy? How can we channel this into positivity and how can we use this as part of our curriculum as well?

I do see pockets in Scotland, like I worked in Peterhead, and Peterhead is a very remote, North of Scotland, fishing Village. I was sent up there to do some work last year. I didn’t know what to expect, but all the kids up there were listening to hardcore drill music! They’re listening to the same music the kids in London are listening to and making the same music. Because of the internet there is no such barrier anymore. There’s not even that time delay. Whereas before, you’d have to wait til a record came out or seen a video on MTV. It’s quite instant now. And it’s great to see the young people up there – and I’m talking people from 8 till 14/15, – kids at that age are really into hip-hop music. And thankfully the teachers up there identified that and knew there wasn’t a lot of educators in that area, so they brought me up to help get the kids a little plan of action and to give them some tips to make their music.


It’s sort of taking away those negative attitudes towards it and finding the value in it to teach it as well? It’s such a global thing, it would be silly not to acknowledge its power and its influence?

Yep. What I find myself teaching young people a lot is Literacy as well. Sometimes our Literacy or our English lessons get neglected in school because of the way they’re delivered. People are not interested. But if you talk about some of the poetic techniques that you might learn in English, but learn it in a hip hop context, then you start to learn what alliteration means, what assonance means, you start to learn more about language. And that’s a great skill for young people.


Yes! Much more accessible to some kids than just teaching Shakespeare or something?

Yeah, yeah. And that makes young people more confident with using language and grammar. And that obviously gives them some great life skills as well.


Like you said, using the patterns and rhythms and rhythms of hip-hop can be used to teach subjects like English too – writing and poetry. As well as they themes and stories a lot of hip-hop talks about can be applied to History and other subjects. It’s great more people are aware of it in that sense, as well as just teaching the music.

Exactly. There’s a lot of life skills to be learned from getting involved in hip hop, like any musical genre, there’s a lot of skills that will benefit people in lots of ways throughout their life.

Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment? 

It’s all top secret the moment! [laughs] – I hate to say it but yeah. No, it’s not top secret, there’s just nothing 100% confirmed at the moment. I’m waiting for a couple of commissions to be confirmed in the next couple of weeks. And then I will know my lay land for the next few weeks. But I’m always keeping busy, I guess my big news is the relaunch of a record label Power Cut Productions to give a home for Scottish hip-hop artists again.

I did notice through my last release – my last release did extremely well in terms of sales and engagement. So I definitely see a growth and interest in Scottish hip-hop and music, but nowhere really promotes and supports and gives home to Scottish hip-hop. So that’s what we’re aiming to do for the winter season.


One last thing, if you were to recommend three Scottish hip-hop artists for people to go to and listen to if they hadn’t heard any Scottish rap before, who would you suggest they listen to?

Straight away my mind goes to Empress, Empress being one of the greatest rappers in Scotland. She’s based in Paisley, she just put out an album last year called Love Wins. She’s just a fire rapper. Going to have to say Loki, Loki he just gets better with age like a fine wine you know! Or should we say whiskey in this country! [laughs]. Even though he’s in the public eye in a different light, that’s made his pen game a lot stronger when it comes to hip-hop. Because in his heart, Loki is a hip-hop head, who happens to write books and make TV programmes. But hip-hop is his thing. And really he’s just been phenomenal. I don’t know if the world sees that, but his hip-hop is at top tier at the moment, I think it’s getting overshadowed by his TV and media coverage, etc.

And I’m going to shout out my good friend Dave Hook from Stanley Odd as well. I think that’s three good examples. Stanley Odd are a more…  You can’t really put Stanley Odd in a bracket either, they’re such a great innovative outfit. Poignant lyrics, heartfelt songs, some songs you can just party to as well. So that’d be by three artists. Empress, Loki and Stanley Odd.

Sign up to the upcoming free workshop with Steg G here.

Check out Steg G online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Words and Interview: Isobel Trott
26 April 2021

music plus mentor scheme for scottish young musicians scottish music centre ams uk


Yes? Good. Music Plus returns for another year to offer young people free career mentoring and tuition! 

Music Plus is back! The project offers 14-19 year olds living in Scotland FREE mentoring, tuition and advice across any genre of music and any career associated with the music industry. Music Plus has provided an invaluable lifeline to the young people participating during COVID giving them a creative outlet to express themselves throughout this difficult time.


It’s a FREE mentoring scheme run by the Scottish Music Centre and supported by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative, The Robertson Trust, The PRSF Talent Development Fund and the Scottish Children’s Lottery. The aim of the project is to offer you one to one experience with music industry professionals who will offer guidance, encouragement, skills and knowledge across a range of industry roles from performance to business. We help with choices about further education and career development supplemented by helpful group sessions, workshops and seminars.


Early evenings, weekends and during the holidays, in music-related venues. You will also have the chance to attend music industry events and seminars. *Currently sessions are only being held online.


Online registration is FREE and now open for those who are:

  • age 14-19

  • living in Scotland

  • involved in making any kind of music

  • interested in working in the music industry

  • haven't previously taken part in the project

Apply online at: musicplus.org.uk

More from Music Plus: Facebook | TwitterInstagram

Becky Grinham Lavender Justin Novak release

Exeter Alumni Becky Grinham releases 'Lavender'

First collaborating back in early 2020 just as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, AMS Exeter Alumni Becky Grinham has teamed up with South West based producer Justin Novak to create a one-stop series of Dance Pop tracks paying homage to 80’s production, with technology and songwriting of today. The result? 'Lavender'; a gorgeous and punchy, synth-heavy and groove-inciting, Dance-Electronica Pop track, that delivers a rollercoaster of questions and emotions based on the experience of going through mental health therapy.

Out for release today (Friday 16th April), the track might just be the perfect intro to the summer, and these new freedoms we find ourselves faced with. At the same time, the track feels nostalgic – the sweeping synths and summer guitar riffs a pointed reference to the sensitive storyline portrayed by vocalist and lyricist Becky, reflective of her own personal experiences. 

But ultimately 'Lavender' is a soundtrack for everyday life with its ups and downs. As the last 12 months have shown us, there really is “light at the end of the tunnel” – and this sentiment really pinpoints the hazy, summery feel of the track.

Of the track, Becky says, "Justin created the most magical, hard-hitting instrumental influenced by his love for 80’s production, but there was this emotional undertone that I could feel pulling me in that I really wanted to bring out through the vocals and lyrics. I was going through CBT at the time and was trailing different forms of meditation, but completely unknown to me until last year, apparently songwriting is a great form of therapy! Lavender is about finding your inner calm, what makes you feel at peace with yourself, practice of meditation – whatever you interpret that is good for your mental health. For me that is blissful dreams, the 5,4,3,2,1 anxiety grounding technique and now songwriting. As for the vocals, I really tuned into an emotional delivery but still wanted to keep its' elements of Dance and Pop music."

'Lavender' will be part of a series of songs to be continued. So be sure to watch this space... 

'Lavender' is released on the 16th of April 2021 and is available to stream in all the usual places.


Read what the press have said...

“If you’re looking for an uplifting tune to get your summer started or something to freshen up your aerobic playlist then you need this in your life. Fast.” – Listen With Monger

“Opening with a breezy synths, the pop beat kicks in with a summery vocal that is guaranteed to lift your spirits” – MusoMuso

Hear Justin’s insight…

I wanted to explore the sounds of the 80’s and give my personal interpretation on that era with a modern sound. The drums for Lavender are based heavily on the Roland TR-808 with additional drums coming from the Linn drum and other popular drum machines from that decade. The synths I used in the record were the Korg Polysix, MonoPoly and the SH-101. I did a lot of research on how sounds were processed and manipulated at that time.. Of course I don’t have all the gear that was used to make records back then! However I made heavy use of emulations that similarly effect the sounds like tape and analog distortion and not shy of a decent amount of plate and gated reverb!

Justin Links: @JustinNovakOfficial

Becky Links: @BeckyGrinhamVocals / https://linktr.ee/BeckyGrinhamMusic

Read our interview with Becky Grinham on the AMS Blog here.

hip hop hnc study and skills workshop free online with steg g scottsih rapper ams scotland hnd course music

Announcing our new Hip-Hop Free Mini Workshop with Steg G!

Love hip-hop or rap? Want to expand your skills? Considering further study? Come along to our free mini-hip-hop workshop with popular Scottish rapper and AMS tutor Steg G.

Gain an introduction into hip-hop and rap, and studying at AMS Edinburgh or Glasgow at this upcoming one-off mini-workshop. The 2 hour session acts as an introduction to our Hip-Hop and Rap course pathway, part of our accredited HNC/HNC qualification. Attendees will learn some basic hip-hop, rap and beat-making skills, plus get a run down on what our HNC/HND course entails, including the hip-hop specific pathway.

You will also have the chance to ask general questions about studying at AMS (Scotland – Edinburgh or Glasgow) and learn about the courses we offer, in particular the HNC/HND where students get the chance to focus particularly on hip-hop and rap. Sign up to get the Zoom link sent straight to your inbox.


Event Programme

  • What is Rap? A brief history and how to start rapping
  • Rap techniques for beginners: different kinds of rap and poetry
  • Lean about techniques such as end rhymes and internal rhymes
  • How to structure and arrange a rap song
  • Finding your rap voice
  • Freestyle lessons: how to freestyle and expand your rhyme
  • Vocabulary: Advanced rap techniques such as assonance, alliteration and multi syllabic rhymes
  • Beat making: Introduction to beat making software and hardware
  • Introduction to sampling
  • Introduction to midi beat-making
  • Performance techniques and tips
  • Introduction and Q&A to the AMS HNC/HND Course

Steg G

Steg is a Hip Hop Artist from Glasgow. In 2019 he released the album THE AIR IN BETWEEN and in October 2019 won Best Hip Hop artist at the SAMA awards. For the last few years he has been producing for lots of artists such as Loki, Freestyle Master, Empress, CCTV, Stanley Odd, Mad hat, and many more, helping them shine and showcasing their talents. In 2020 he fully produced the – Empress – Love wins album which was released in June 2020 year to critical acclaim. This year  (2021) Steg G  released his latest album – Live Today . The album is a concept / story that was wrote and produced around the themes of toxic masculinity and addictions.


Hip-Hop at AMS Scotland

Our new Hip-Hop and Rap HNC/HND pathway launched in 2020 – the first music college to run this option – and it has become incredibly popular. It offers weekly classes covering songwriting techniques, style analysis and live performance to improve technical aptitude and theoretical understanding.

Our team have been working diligently with industry professionals to finally provide this course in an area typically overlooked in music education. Alongside this we also run regular free hip-hop short courses each term. Find out more.

ams gateshead ba hons foundation degree music diploma open day online zoom newcastle study music

AMS Edinburgh is hiring-Admissions and Recruitment Administrator

We’re hiring!

Our Edinburgh centre is looking for a new member of the team! Applications are open for a new and highly-motivated Admissions and Recruitment Administrator with an immediate start date.

The successful candidate will have a good understanding of marketing with the aim to attract potential students to our full-time and short music courses.  Strong interpersonal skills, an innovative approach to development and excellent organisational and administrative skills are key aspects of this role.

The role will entail fulfilling a marketing strategy, organisation of marketing materials and budget, personal interaction with potential students through face to face/virtual contact, phone and email and facilitating events such as open evenings and public performances. There will also initial contact front of desk duties taking enquiries through ‘phone calls and emails and some office administration.

A large aspect of the role is also to make and maintain good relations with schools throughout Scotland and to attend their careers events and progression fairs.

The ideal candidate will be a graduate from a marketing, music events management or music related background, or from a customer services background.

6 month fix term, subject to review in September 2021

15 hour a week

£18,200 Pro rata

Deadline for applying is March 5th 2021

To apply, please send your CV to [email protected].

More details here.


Essential Desirable
A high level of literacy

Driver’s licence

Proficiency in using Microsoft Office Word and Excel

Proficiency in performing administrative tasks

Ability for flexible working to accommodate occasional evenings and Saturdays

Ability to be confident at public events and to represent the company in a positive way.

Working knowledge of marketing practices and social media platforms

Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Events Management, Music or a related field.

Understanding of music and the music industry

Knowledge of Further and Higher Education structures