AMS Sound Production Guide

Looking to join one of our free sound production short courses?  

Why not check out our new sound production guide curated by our expert tutors. This set of resources offers advice, tips & tricks and fun exercises to try before classes start.  

We are running a variety of short sound production courses across the end of 2022. Courses typically run over 6 sessions, are entirely free to those 14 and over residing in Scotland. Courses are SQA accredited and taught by industry professionals to provide you with the most up to date relevant industry knowledge. 

Find out more about our upcoming Sound Production courses below. 


Written Resources

Shure Microphone Techniques for Recording

Shure have been a leading manufacturer of audio electronics since 1925. In this written guide, you will find information on microphone techniques for different instruments, a glossary of commonly used terms and more.

If this guide fits your interests our free Intro to Studio Recording short course may be a great opportunity for you. Find out more here.

SoundOnSound – Sound Advice

Got a question from arranging, to softwares to sampling? Have a browse on the Sound Advice section of the Sound on Sound website.


Audio & Visual Resources

For those who prefer audio / visual resources, here are some YouTube recommendations covering production techniques and tips and tricks to use when producing.  

Why Logic Pro Rules – Logic Tips & Tricks

SoundGym – Ear Training Games

Ear Training games from by Sound Gym designed to develop your skills in frequency detection, compression, reverb recognition, delay timing and more.

Andrew Huang – Music, Sound & The Creative Process 

Andrew Huang creates engaging music and sound content over on YouTube. From different producers reworking the same samples to innovative music making techniques, these videos are a great way to get excited about producing your own tracks.

Pensado’s Place

Top mixing engineer Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick talk all things audio in their weekly show. The show includes interviews with top music industry artists, engineers, producers, mixers, and record executives, as well as in depth tutorials in engineering and mixing.


You can find more information on our free courses and upcoming dates below, any queries you may have about the course don’t hesitate to get in touch with our short course team, we’re always happy to help.  


new stocks electric guitar

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GUITARGUITAR

We have been working with guitarguitar on our free short course programme across the year, offering a £50 voucher to anyone who successfully completes the course.
We thought it was would be a great opportunity to share more information on the instrument retailer before the courses round up for the summer. Read on to find out more.

guitarguitar is an employee owned, award-winning musical instrument retailer for players, by players.

Founded by Kip McBay and Graham Bell in Edinburgh in 2004, guitarguitar takes pride in being the UK’s largest guitar retailer. Running for 18+ years and counting with over 160 expert employees, stocking everything a musician could possibly need. Whether you’re beginner, intermediate or rocking the main stage – guitarguitar have got the instrument for you and are here to help you find it.

They have incredible offers available including pre-owned guitars available at a variety of price points. Including benefits such as:

  • 12 month warranty with pre-owned instruments and 90 days for electronic
  • All pre-owned items are inspected, play-tested and set up before resale
  • Condition report and professional quality photography listed for each product
  • Second hand guitars are strung with quality D’Addario strings

For new equipment guitarguitar stock a wide range of acousticelectric and bass guitar brands. This includes leading manufacturers such as Fender, Gibson and Ibanez, as well as lesser-known boutique brands. You can find the full list of brands they stock here.

We recently visited the guitarguitar Edinburgh store and enjoyed a guided tour with their expert team, staff performances, demonstrations and we found out more about the team’s top production picks. Check out some photos from our visit below.

Our last free short courses start Monday 4th July, why not sign up for a course of your choice and be in with the chance of receiving one of our £50 rewards vouchers?

Check out the courses on offer & guitarguitar below.


Hen Hoose Founder Tamara Schlesinger's Industry Insights

As part of our free short course programme, we have been speaking with industry professionals to find out more about their career pathways, current projects and sharing their advice to those just starting out.

We recently had the chance to meet with Tamara Schlesinger: singer songwriter, record label owner, independent artist (MALKA) and founder of female and non- binary songwriting collective, Hen Hoose.

Read on to find out more about Tamara industry experience spanning over 20 years, the recent success of the Equaliser album and her advice for budding songwriters.

Looking to develop your skills in songwriting? Why not sign up for one of our free songwriting short courses, taught online and in our Glasgow centre.

Course typically run over 6 sessions, are entirely free to those 14 and over residing in Scotland. Courses are SQA accredited and taught by industry professionals to provide you with the most up to date industry relevant knowledge.

Check out our upcoming Singer Songwriter courses below.

Hi Tamara! Why don’t you introduce yourself?

My name is Tamara Schlesinger. I’m the founder of Hen Hoose, the all female and non-binary songwriting collective based in Glasgow. We work collaboratively writing to briefs for sync, music, TV and film adverts, and also we’ve written an album called Equaliser which is out now. It’s brings together some of the most experienced and successful songwriters in Scotland alongside new up and coming artists as well, which has been amazing. The idea is really to just showcase the talent that we have here in Scotland.

What was the inspiration behind starting the collective?

You don’t have to look very far to see the lack of women on festival lineups and unfortunately the data for female artist signed to major labels is atrocious. Only 17% of writers registered with PRS are women. So I just felt it was time to try and do something about it myself during lockdown. A lot of us had lost our revenue streams from touring. We were a bit lost in general and it gave us a focus and a purpose, to be honest and we ended up forming this beautiful community.

That’s amazing. It’s great to hear about really experienced songwriters working with newer songwriters and collaborating on ideas, giving different perspectives. It’s kind of similar to what we do AMS as well. Connecting experienced musicians with our students full of new ideas.

What have you been working on at the moment with Hen Hoose?

We’ve connected with a lot of the ad agencies in Scotland, we’re currently concentrating on sync because that’s where I have a lot of experience, in writing for TV and film. 

I think with Hen Hoose, we’re looking beyond the writing to project production. So a lot of us are producing. We’re encouraging our artists and our writers to move into production or to have the confidence to produce to help combat the stats for women in production. I think only 2% of producer registered at MPG are women. Collaborating is really vital. Most of us are not great at everything. So it’s really good to work with someone else, learn from them. I think using the best of your skill set with someone else is actually a brilliant way of making music.

When you start out in music you just have your dream, your vision. I think sometimes it comes with experience to know that actually working with others can bring out the best in you.

I think there’s a really nice collaborative network in Scotland. Everybody kind of works alongside each other and most are very willing to to connect you with people and welcome you into networks. It is really, really important.

Tell us a little more about your songwriting camp with 23rd Precinct.

The songwriting camp was a Hen Hoose and 23rd Precinct collaboration. The idea was to bring some of our writers on board with some of the 23rd Precinct writers.

They were given 6 hours or so to collaboratively write to this brief, create their track then produce and mix it. On day two we swapped the groups and did the same, so each person came away with two songs that they’d collaborated on.

A lot of it was about development, but also these are active briefs needed in the industry. I think actually from that camp, some of the songs have been pitched already and had some good feedback. The hope is the writers come away inspired. It’s quite a good bonding and networking experience. I think some of the writers have kept in touch and they’re going to work together as well.

That’s so cool. People bouncing ideas around and building up each other’s ideas is really great to see across the board in Scotland at the moment.

When you start out in music you just have your dream, your vision. I think sometimes it comes with experience to know that actually working with others can bring out the best in you.

Tell us a little bit about the Equaliser album and what that experience was like?

Equaliser was a Hen Hoose collaborative project born in lockdown. I’ve run my label for best part of 20 years, I thought “I’ll pop it out on my label if it’s great” and it was beyond great it was just incredible. We did these zoom listening parties together, we were all just left amazed with each song we would hear. I’d be so lucky cause I’d get them early and I’d hear them first. I felt it was too good not to release. I wanted people to hear it.

I think what’s really interesting with the project is somehow the record feels cohesive, it runs, it flows even with so many contributors. I think part of that is because we had people write on maybe two or three songs. So a part of them would run through the next song.

Even though it was written through lockdown it’s quite an uplifting record, actually. You’d have people that were just working across genres that they wouldn’t normally. We all got pushed out of our comfort zones. We all were producers. We didn’t know that before. We didn’t classify ourselves as producers because we always go into the studio and there’d be a man twiddling the knobs and they would be the producer. But actually creating all the arrangements on Logic or Ableton we found out we had that skill, we just weren’t crediting ourselves for it.

I love the album, I really am so proud of it. Equaliser has had amazing reviews, lots of play on 6 Music, it’s been a big success so far. Since interviewing, Equaliser has been selected for the Scottish Album of the Year Award Longlist.

It’s enough to make you emotional listening to you speak about what a warm, rewarding process it’s been working together on the project.

Yeah, I was actually crying. I hear the songs and I get quite emotional when we finished and on release day. We were recognised by the John Lennon Foundation for our work for gender equality. So at Christmas we got sent the vinyl of ‘Happy Christmas War is Over’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which was a surprise. My husband had filmed me receiving it, I think he knew that something was coming and it went mini viral.

It was incredible. So we were able to auction that off and raise funds for the project. That’s what we were meant to do with this vinyl. That’s allowed us to bring in this round of artists that are not based in Scotland to work with our Scottish writers which is really exciting.

That’s really amazing. I would be really interested to hear a little bit about your career so far and how you got to here.

I had friends that knew some producers who wanted a singer while I was living down in London. I just went for it and said “I can sing”. I’d never sung in the studio in my life. I sang a cover of ‘Boots Are Made For Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra, and it was used on Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. So it was a really crazy first entrance into music. I started to write my own music and I had a solo album. I was put in touch with Ann Harrison, who has written the definitive music business book [Music: The Business], and she was said “Why are you not just releasing this yourself?” This is 2004.

Not many people released their own music at this point and I could count on one hand how many women were doing it. So I did it and Ann helped me. She guided me, she was my mentor.

That’s when I just started to work on my music and then I eventually had a live band. I started working with the guitarist and we realised we were more of a band than a solo project now. So we named ourselves Six Day Riot. We worked with a producer called Steve Levine, who produced for The Beach Boys and The Culture Club. We did a record of him and lots of majors wanted to sign us. We didn’t end up signing anything. I thought “I’m gonna just release it on my own record label.” I’ve never released with any other label. I run my label and all my own projects. We had music on Skins and SCREAM 4, the Hollywood film and played Glastonbury Festival. Behind it all there’s me running everything.

That sounds like a really great but intense period of time.

Everyone knows the lead singer is the tour manager, lead songwriter and the label. We protect the work, send the emails, do the admin. Sometimes I’d pretend I had a manager. I’d send emails using my now husbands name trying to negotiate fees. Every so often he’d come to gig and I’m like “Oh, you know that person they’ve just given us some tour dates” and he would have to stand and introduce himself having never spoke to them in his life. Then I left London, had my kids came back to Scotland and went solo, as MALKA.

Even within that project, the success of my work was sync based. I think that’s why Hen Hoose made sense. So still running my label, I lecture as well in music business and and then Hen Hoose was born. So I kind of have these different hats. I have the business side and the artist side. I’ve released 10 albums of my own stuff across the board from solo to bands to collaborations as well. So yeah that’s kind of the trajectory of my career so far.

That is amazing, you’ve had such a varied career with one resounding theme throughout being having control over your own music.

Yeah you grow in confidence with handling your own work. I don’t use any other name now. I’m just me now. I’ve been doing it long enough that people would know I was lying!

It’s a massive achievement to have put out that many albums while trail blazing that path of self releasing.

My final question would be do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start out as a songwriter / self releasing musician?

You have to grow real confidence. Continue writing. Just write, write, write, write, write. Don’t worry about what genre or what style. Don’t worry about any of that. Just write. Find and discover yourself, connect with people. Go to events like Resonate, they are running networking nights where you just turn up with the guitar, writing and playing songs together. All these things are important and there’s so much available theres something for everyone. So just go find it, don’t sit in your room and hide. Go out and find your people and your own identity as a musician.

You can find out more about about MALKA, Hen Hoose & the free songwriting short course below. 


AMS Partner University Ranks Highly In The Times

AMS are delighted to share excellent news on behalf of our partnership University, University of West London. UWL has been named “University of the year for Teaching Quality” and “University of the Year for Student Experience” in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023. 

UWL are now ranked in the top ten universities in London and have risen to an impressive 40th place in these latest national rankings.

This is the first time that both awards have been given to one university in the same year, and it is also the second time in the last three years that UWL has received the student experience accolade.

Receiving these two awards is a tremendous achievement and one that perfectly captures the ethos of UWL as a university. We are proud to work along side UWL to deliver a high quality of teaching and support across all our campuses and online as part of The Academy of Music and Sound.

The University of West London shared the following statement on their great news:

“Our students are at the heart of everything we do and that is why we have a relentless focus on delivering the best possible student experience so that they may thrive and achieve the success they deserve. It is gratifying to have that effort recognised with this latest accolade for student experience. This comes on the back of our successful National Student Survey results earlier in the year.”

AMS delivers our BA and M.Mus courses across our UK campuses and online in partnership with UWL. You can find all of our BA and M.Mus information over on our courses section and enquire directly below.

You can find out more about the University of West London and the awards presented below.


SAMA2022_Thumbnail

SAMA Live Acts Announced for the 2022 Award Ceremony

The Academy of Music and Sound is a proud partner of the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. The music awards that recognise the best new Scottish music, shining a spotlight across an eclectic range of contemporary music genres. Back for its 13th year, SAMA have announced the live music line up for the 2022 award ceremony on Thursday 8th December at Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox.

Read on to find out more about the acts performing and the awards. 

Theatrical electro-rock outfit VLURE, all-female rap trio The Honey Farm and intimate soul songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Becky Sikasa will perform at the 13th edition of the event, supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland in recognition of the SAMA’s growing significance across the music scene in Scotland and beyond. 

New music champion Jim Gellatly and highly acclaimed poet Leyla Josephine will host the evening, which will see awards given to seven of the most outstanding artists working in Scotland today. 

In keeping with the celebratory atmosphere will be a live performance from VLURE, the Glasgow five-piece who fuse intense club rhythms with towering synths, candid lyrics and an ethos that views the dancefloor as the stage for vivid, life-affirming catharsis. 

Also set to play live is The Honey Farm, the school friends from rural Dunbar who went on to become “potentially the first and only and by default greatest Scottish female rap group of all time”, and Becky Sikasa, a multi-instrumentalist vocalist and songwriter whose SAMA performance will crown a prolific year of single releases showcasing her warm, humane, off-centre soul pop. 

Hosts Jim Gellatly and Leyla Josephine, who will appear following a UK tour in support of her new collection ‘In Public/In Private’, return to SAMA following last year’s event where winners included Bee Asha, Bemz, K4cie and AMS alumni Lizzie Reid. 

As in previous years, the SAMA 2022 seven award categories are:

  • Best Live Act
  • Best Newcomer
  • Best Hip Hop
  • Best Acoustic
  • Best Metal
  • Best Electronic
  • Best Rock / Alternative

 Nominations for each category will be put forward by teams of promoters, programmers, broadcasters, podcasters, editors, writers and artists from organisations such as Amazing Radio, BBC, Jupiter Rising, Scotland in Colour, Tenement TV, Time Out, The Skinny and Up2standard. A full list of nominators is available on the website.

Nominations for the seven awards will be announced mid November with the SAMA 2022 winners chosen by the public via an online vote later that month. 

Founded over a decade ago by Richy Muirhead, the SAMA have grown in prominence over the years, with past winners including Fatherson, Hector Bizerk, The Snuts, Gerry Cinnamon and AMS alumni Lewis Capaldi, recognised long before his debut EP release. 

Richy Muirhead explains: “SAMA 2022 aims to put a spotlight on genres and artists who have been working hard and making moves over the last 12 months! The showcase artists and nominations list reflect the creativity and quality of music coming out of Scotland in 2022. We’re thrilled to host the 13th edition of the event in Glasgow!” 

Now in its 13th year, the event marks a festive highlight for what’s since developed and diversified into a year-long operation presenting other activities including the Paisley Takeover and PITCH, Scotland’s conference of hip hop and underground culture, presented in 2022 in partnership with FOCUS Wales and Europe’s biggest hip hop conference, New Skool Rules. 


You can find out more about The Scottish Alternative Music Awards and grab your tickets for this years ceremony below.


Wallpapers for Forms

Meet Scotlands Audio Designers Ahead of The Music & Sound for Games Short Course

Our Music & Sound for Games free short course sets out to allow sound designers to gain experience and learn the essential transferable skills needed when working within this globally recognised sector.

From ‘Grand Theft Auto’ to BAFTA winning ‘Crackdown’, the Scottish game sector has made indispensable contributions to the global games market. The sector is made up of a strongly connected network of freelancers and companies set out to create immersive gaming experiences for each player.

The Academy of Music and Sound looks forward to opening opportunities for people in Scotland aiming to access the sector, and support students as they take their first steps towards a potential career in music & sound for games. 

The online Music & Sound for Games course is free to all Scottish residents over the age of 14. You can find out more information about the course and apply below.

Purple visuals that read ‘free short course, Music & Sound for Games'

We wanted to give a direct insight into working in the games sector ahead of the course. We managed to sit down with two of Scotland’s’ own sound designers, Luci Holland and Kenny Young to discuss working in the games sector. Kenny and Luci have both spent a great deal of time building up their skills and network within the games sector and have worked on some outstanding projects.  

Luci Holland smiling while holding an instrument. Featured interviewee ahead of the music & sound for games short course

Meet the audio designers

Luci not only composed the dynamic score for Blazing Griffin‘s multiplayer-stealth game Murderous Pursuits, but she has worked as a freelance composer and sound artist across games, film and interactive sound installations for over 10 years. She also runs her own UK game show, ‘The Console’ on Scala Radio along her freelance Programme Manager position within Glasgow’s own, Tinderbox Collective. While Luci enjoys working on all types of music for media, it was playing games like LoZ: Ocarina of Time, Broken Sword, and The Secret of Monkey Island as a child that first hooked Luci into music, and music & sound for games especially. 

Kenny Young, music & sound for games specialist

 

 

For Kenny, his combined interest in how sound and the moving image worked together, and games and technology made audio for games feel like the best fit for him. Considering a career in both film and gaming, the latter won due to the nature of the film industry being less appealing than that of sound design for games. Kenny has worked on an impressive variety of projects. From running the audio department of Media Molecule for many years and developing sound experiences such as ‘LittleBigPlanet’ and ‘Tearaway’, to working with Sony Japan on Astro’s Playroom, Kenny may be part of the Scottish industry, but his work truly reaches the international market.  

When asked if there was anything in particular that interested them in audio for gaming, they had the following to share:  
Luci

“There are a lot of things that I find fascinating about games audio, but I find just the puzzle of making interactive experiences quite inspiring – for example the process of figuring out what role the player has when interacting with the game, and how the sound is shaped to respond to this in interesting and immersive ways.”

Kenny

“It’s challenging to create an interactive audio experience, so if you enjoy working with and wrangling technology then that’s part of the draw. You definitely need to have good problem-solving skills, and a love of technology absolutely helps.

There are other tangential benefits that come with the complexity of making games such as the need for teamwork, and the industry is therefore intrinsically rather collaborative, relatively flexible and often quite meritocratic in nature. The audio community has a reputation for being welcoming to newcomers, perhaps because it has always had such a high percentage of freelancers and so the support and social networks tend to be strong.” 

They also shared their pathways into the games industry. 
Photo Credit: Scala Radio
Luci

“I’ve probably been more largely involved in the games industry for about 5 years now, working as a freelance composer for studios and independent developers. Outside of games though I’ve been working as a freelance composer and musician for around 10 years.  

My path has been a big mix of work but with a focus on composition both in and out of games – I’ve worked on creative commissions and collaborations, recordings, performances, with local arts organisations, some teaching, and various other mixed artform projects.  

Within the games world as I have built a portfolio of work and gained more experience, I’ve connected and built more relationships with more game developers and other creative studios, both locally and further afield.” 

Kenny

“I’m originally from Edinburgh and had a musical background, playing violin and guitar as a kid and student. I decided not to pursue performance and went on to study Music Technology at Edinburgh Uni, before going on to study a master’s degree in Sound Design at Bournemouth.  

Outside of my studies, I spent the year of my MA really focusing on researching the industry and trying to get a job in games, and I was fortunate enough to go straight into a junior sound design position with Sony London Studio in 2004. I left Sony in 2007 to start up the audio department at Media Molecule, which is when I began writing and contributing more music in addition to my sound design and audio direction duties. 

I decided to go freelance in 2015 and moved back to Scotland at the end of 2020. So, geographically speaking, I’m absolutely part of the Scottish industry now, but my work is international, and I haven’t worked with any Scottish developers yet. I’m sure I will one day!”


the best work comes not from talented individuals but from talented individuals collaborating. Collaboration has shaped and informed my career. - Kenny Young

As we are launching a new educational pathway of audio for games, we were curious to hear Kenny and Luci’s opinions on education in their specialist field.  
Luci

“It’s great to see more local institutions exploring and teaching more in this field – I would love to see game music composition and audio become a thriving creative hub here in Scotland, showcasing the importance of these roles and helping to continually advance both games audio and games themselves.”

Kenny

 “Outside of learning bread and butter topics, I think the most important thing I got from my studies was inspiration. Not just in terms of studying the best of what had come before, but also the context in which it had come to fruition – the understanding that the best work comes not from talented individuals but from talented individuals collaborating has shaped and informed my career. 

I think it’s important for students trying to get into the creative industries to know that nobody is going to hire them based on a qualification they have. The point of studying is to learn new skills so you can level up and apply yourself in a relatively efficient manner. The trick is being able to show the fruits of that to prospective employers or clients. So, your portfolio is crucial, and you need to take every opportunity you can to add to it and make a real effort to work on projects with other people rather than just personal projects because this will help you to grow the collaboration and communication skills that are necessary to succeed.”

We all have a connection with games in one way or another, whether it’s a memory from a long time ago or a current favourite hobby. We were keen to know the first use of audio in a game that really caught Luci and Kenny’s attention and what their favourite soundtrack / score or use of audio effect is now.
Luci

“One memory that comes to mind is a simple one, but it was probably the first time I really took notice of reactive music – it was while playing Pikmin and noticing the interactive musical layers shifting as you explored the level! Different instrumental layers play based on whether you are near treasure, or enemies – very satisfying.  

In terms of favourites, that’s such a tricky one to answer as I have so many and it’s also constantly changing! I’m a huge fan of these scores:  

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (Jessica Curry),  
  • LA Noire (Andrew Hale & Simon Hale),  
  • EverQuest II (Laura Karpman),  
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (Mikolai Stroinski),  
  • Kingdom Hearts (Yoko Shimomura),  
  • The Last Guardian (Takeshi Furukawa) and 
  •  Hollow Knight (Christopher Larkin) 

Those are some regular favourites I constantly return to.” 

Kenny

“I have fond memories of PC games in the 90s – Doom, Sim City 2000, X-Wing, Wing Comander III amongst many others. Messing about in Doom level editors was my first introduction to game engines and design tools. But Deus Ex stands out as a particularly formative experience – it really sucked me in with its branching story line, use of gameplay as narrative and Alexander Brandon’s wonderful, evocative music. 

Ah, there’s so much good stuff! Off the top of my head, I’d say my favourite soundtracks were Monkey Island 2, the Portal games, Martin Stig Andersen’s amazing work at Playdead on Limbo and Inside, Austin Wintory’s music in Journey. All great scores but, more importantly, all great games with the audio experience contributing significantly to the end result. 

 And that’s a key point – the job of the composer is not to “write music” it’s to contribute towards the music experience as part of the wider player experience. It’s all too easy at the beginning of your career to focus on the technical side of writing music but writing music that fits an experience is a whole other skill and you need to develop that muscle and understanding too.”

__________________________________________________________

Make sure you check out what Luci and Kenny are working on at the moment over on their socials.  

Luci Holland

 Twitter | Facebook | Website

Kenny Young

Twitter | Facebook | Website

 

Apply now for the Music & Sound for Games free short course.


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.


Guest playlist: Delaina Sepko on hip-hop, women and gender-balance in radio

Guest playlist, Scottish hip-hop and the best female rappers of all time

We invited Sunny G Radio host Delaina Sepko to write a very special guest blog for us on women and hip-hop – part of a series of features we’re running focused on hip-hop, to mark the start of our new HND hip-hop and rap module. Alongside that, she’s even curated a hip-hop guest playlist for us! It’s an eclectic mix packed with Scottish hip-hop, and classic bangers from some of the best female rappers and MC’s of the past and present – all in the same place. Nice.

Delaina is a music researcher, with her own show on the Scottish radio station Sunny G called ‘Breaks and Beats’. She writes for us about how her passion for hip-hop often conflicts with the sexism engrained in some of it’s content, and how this motivated her to start a gender-balanced hip-hop radio show. Her playlist for us reflects that, a bangin’ mix of Scottish hip-hop’s best talents, and a fantastic array of some of the best female rappers, hip-hopppers and MC’s of all time – the likes of Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, Roxanne Shante, Salt N Pepa, Little Simz, Eve and Lady Leshurr all feature.

Read her guest blog here, and listen to the playlist in the player below.


About the Author

Delaina Sepko is a music researcher, radio presenter and life-long hip hop head living in Glasgow, Scotland. She trained as a sound engineer at Sarm West under Trevor Horn, Tim Weidner and Robert Orton and was a finalist for the 2005 Music Week Woman of The Year award for being Sarm’s first female assistant engineer. After working with the Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Tinchy Stryder, Transglobal Underground and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., she earned an MSc and PhD in Information Studies and audio preservation from University of Glasgow. Now she is a contributor to the long form blog Hip Hop Scotland, presents Beats & Breaks on Sunny G Radio every Wednesday from 8-10 PM and uses the show to promote gender equality and showcase Scottish hip-hop.

 

Website: www.dmfresearch.com

Twitter: @delainasepko

Listen to Beats & Breaks archived shows on Mixcloud.


Guest blog: Delaina Sepko on hip-hop, women and gender-balance in radio

Guest blog: Delaina Sepko on hip-hop, women and gender-balance in radio

We invited Delaina Sepko to write a very special guest blog for us on women and hip-hop – part of a series of features we’re running focused on hip-hop, to mark the start of our new HND hip-hop and rap module. Delaina is a music researcher, with her own show on the Scottish radio station Sunny G called ‘Breaks and Beats‘. She writes for us about how her passion for hip-hop often conflicts with the sexism engrained in some of it’s content, and how this motivated her to start a gender-balanced hip-hop radio show.

And she’s even curated a hip-hop guest playlist for us too! It’s an eclectic mix packed with Scottish hip-hop, and classic bangers from some of the best female rappers and MC’s of the past and present – all in the same place. Nice.

In May 2020, while the UK was deep into the first COVID lockdown, I started a hip-hop radio show at Sunny G Radio in Glasgow called ‘Beats & Breaks‘. The show is a mix of 90s American hip-hop, modern tracks that have that vibe, a wide range of Scottish hip-hop artists and a lot of discographical information. Every week, I put on all my hats – sound engineer, hip-hop head, broadcaster and music researcher – to make what I have come to think of as another part of my life-long love letter to hip-hop. The first cassette tape I bought with my own money was Ice T’s O.G. Original Gangster. I was 11 years old and ever since then, most of my jobs or hobbies have included hip-hop in some way. 30 years later, I’m still writing that letter every week with Beats & Breaks. But as a woman, hip-hop hasn’t always loved me back.

While it is not the only genre with misogynistic elements, hip-hop has (arguably more than) its fair share. As a teenager in the 90s, it was common to hear male artists and even a few women rapping about violence against females, sexually using or abusing women, and reducing them to victims, subjects or trash. Dr Dre partly built his career off the back of a “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” image. The artwork for Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle graphically depicts the fuck ‘em and leave ‘em attitude that runs through every track on the album. Eminen even rapped about killing the mother of his child and riding around in the car with her body propped up in the front seat. All this was hard to hear as a young woman, and while I didn’t automatically discredit these rappers or others like them for their lyrics – Dre was and still is one of my favourite producers – it felt almost impossible to reconcile what I was hearing with my love of the music. Granted, these are some of the more extreme examples from an era of hip-hop when a lot of male rappers asserted their authority through violence and sexual dominance. Not every artist took this route and if they did, it wasn’t always so extreme or degrading but it was always there. 

More recently, that overt rhetoric has quieted down and changed to a less violent but equally harmful narrative: ‘she’s good for a female MC/DJ/Engineer/Producer/etc’. Women have always been active in hip-hop and helped build it up from the very beginning. From the late 80s, women like Roxanne Shante, DJ Jazzy Joyce and Baby Love were rapping, DJing and breakdancing alongside and against men and although there were far fewer women taking part, the comparisons were more or less equal. Now there’s a divide between men and women with females working in hip-hop getting paid less, promoted less, praised less and these practices perpetuate the idea that women have less value to the genre. The scales are still tipped in favour of men and after all these years, I still can’t reconcile this imbalance with my love of hip-hop.

Radio airplay is one area where there’s a pretty big imbalance. In August 2020, Linda Coogan Bryne and Womxn In CTRL published Gender Disparity Report: UK Radio that in part surveyed UK airplay of the top 20 songs by domestic artists on commercial stations between 1 June 2019 and 1 June 2020. The report broke down the results by male, female and collaborations and showed that every station assessed gave male artists more airplay than women and some stations were heavily, if not entirely, favouring men. Kerrang! and Absolute Radio, we see you. For example, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1 Xtra – the two stations in the BBC network you’d be most likely to hear hip-hop – favoured songs by male artists 85% and 76.2% respectively. The effects this imbalance has on female artists are many and profound, with two of the most important being less exposure and less PRS or PPL payments for airplay. Add hip hop’s less than favourable attitude towards women to the general practice of giving women less radio airtime and you’ll find that there aren’t many hip hop shows that play female artists, fewer fronted by female presenters and almost none that present a gender-balanced track list. 

At points during the last 30 years, I thought it would be better for me – particularly my peace of mind and self-esteem – to just give up on hip-hop. Why continue to love the music and to work in the industry when I had to put in 3 or 4 times the effort just to sit at the table and get paid less? Some of the worst experiences I had as a sound engineer came from male hip-hop artists that simply couldn’t stomach the fact there was a woman behind the board for their sessions. Sometimes it was awkward when I was mistaken for the studio’s receptionist. Other times it was demeaning. And only once was the name calling accompanied by physical threats. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the bushel – as my gran used to say – and I agree but it sure does give you the boke when you bite into it. 

Beats & Breaks is a way for me to stop fretting about all the things I feel are off about hip hop and focus on one thing I could do to help put some of it right: even out radio airplay. At first, I thought I’d just programme a gender-balanced track list and that would be good enough. Normalise it, and not make a fuss. But once I saw the Report’s results, I knew I’d have to be more open about what I was doing. I wasn’t just playing music; I was also giving all hip-hop artists an equal footing on the same platform. As far as I can tell, I host the only female-fronted hip hop show in Scotland and Beats & Breaks is the only one with a gender-balanced track list. I want to be wrong about this. I want there to be other shows I haven’t heard about because I don’t want to hold on to this title. 

I understand not every radio presenter has the luxury of playing whatever she or he wants. Commercial stations have much stricter and tighter constraints on what songs their presenters can choose from but as a community radio presenter, I have no such obligations. Beats & Breaks is my opportunity to not just settle the discomfort in my own heart and soul but also to encourage other women to present hip-hop radio shows and generally raise awareness about the airplay imbalance. I realised early on that wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t share what I was doing with Beats & Breaks. I want more women in Scotland involved in hip-hop as MCs, DJs, producers, promoters, sound engineers, radio presenters, event organisers and managers and part of seeing that happen – at least my part – is to reach out to anyone considering those roles and let them know that Beats & Breaks and Sunny G are spaces where the you’ll never be called “good for a female.” 

 

About the Author

Delaina Sepko is a music researcher, radio presenter and life-long hip hop head living in Glasgow, Scotland. She trained as a sound engineer at Sarm West under Trevor Horn, Tim Weidner and Robert Orton and was a finalist for the 2005 Music Week Woman of The Year award for being Sarm’s first female assistant engineer. After working with the Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Tinchy Stryder, Transglobal Underground and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., she earned an MSc and PhD in Information Studies and audio preservation from University of Glasgow. Now she is a contributor to the long form blog Hip Hop Scotland, presents Beats & Breaks on Sunny G Radio every Wednesday from 8-10 PM and uses the show to promote gender equality and showcase Scottish hip-hop.

 

Website: www.dmfresearch.com

Twitter: @delainasepko

Listen to Beats & Breaks archived shows on Mixcloud.


save sunny g community radio station

Save Sunny G Community Radio Station

Help save the people’s station.

Since the closure of their studios in March 2020 as a consequence of Covid 19, Glasgow community station Sunny G has lost significant income streams, resulting in a deficit of approx £30,000. They need your help!

Sunny G is a registered small Scottish Charity with a fantastic team of volunteers. They use Radio / Broadcasting Media / Technology for Community Development. They have launched a GoFundMe page and are asking for donations to help support them.

The following areas have been most effected:

Unable to deliver SQA training.
Advertising and sponsorship income down by approx 70%
Unable to have our regular fundraising gigs and events.

The station’s monthly outgoings include staff costs, licence fees, rent, and utilities are just a few of the monthly obligations that are completely necessary to allow Sunny G Radio to function.

Studio Manager Steven Gilfoyle has been leading the team at Sunny G since April 2020, and has been a founding member since 2001.  He believes the station to be the best community radio station in the country. He says: “I would challenge anyone to match us in the breadth of our community radio content and community development that we have provided over the years, considering the lack of resource we have had we always provide a high quality service.”

“We find ourselves trying to survive in an area that contains many of the sectors that have been hardest hit which has destroyed the income streams we used to rely on. We are optimistic that we can see ourselves through this terrible time with the generous help from supporters of the station and the community we serve and work alongside,” he says.

“We have lots of exciting ongoing programming and community development ambitions that take Sunny G into 2021 and beyond.”

They would be extremely grateful for anything you might be able to donate. You can find out more and listen online (if you can’t listen on your FM radio) at www.sunnyg.com.

 

DONATE HERE.


Listen to new music on the AMS Scotland October playlist!

What a month for releases! You can listen to our October Spotify playlist featuring some of the very best ones, right now...

Summer is gone and autumn is officially here. See in the changing of seasons with our perfect little playlist. Curated by our amazing team at AMS Glasgow, the tracks are packed with new and fresh releases that prove that no-one can stop culture, not even during a pandemic!

Featuring loads of former students and teaching staff at the Academy including, Gordon Robertson - Music, Nicky Murray, Lizzie ReidGeorgia CécileClothThe Black DenimsRuby GainesZoe GrahamMelisa Kelly and the Smokin' CrowsLucia & The Best BoysAnchor Lane (a cheeky cover there) Rachelle Rhienne and finally KLEOPATRA – it's enough to make you want to stay home, snug and cosy, with some bangin' tunes.

Phew – I think that's just about enough for this cold October day! Dive in and listen now via the player below.

Listen to our Lockdown playlist here, and see more from AMS Scotland on their Facebook page.

 

More about AMS Glasgow

The districts across Glasgow have their own unique personalities and hidden gems, from their ever-evolving food and drink scene to the iconic architecture. It boasts more than 700 bars, pubs and nightclubs and 7 cinemas. The music capital of Scotland, Glasgow is a recognised UNESCO City of Music. Paired with its unrivaled cutting-edge art scene Glasgow, has an abundance of expression and creativity.

Online learning: Since March we’ve swapped the studio for home and come September we’re confident we’ll be in a great position to offer flexible, online learning to students should we need to. We’re also spreading out, finding new spaces for learning so classrooms can be bigger and class sizes smaller. We were quick to adapt to the changes back in the Spring, and received some hugely positive feedback from our students.

 


academyofmusic sound production free online short course

Our Free Short Courses in Scotland are back!

Academy of Music and Sound’s free online short-courses have returned for 2020-21 offering ‘Sound Production’ and ‘Hip-Hop and Rap Beat-making feat. Steg Gilfoyle (A.K.A rap legend Steg G). The courses will be available to everyone living in Scotland.

We’re really excited to be able to bring back our short course programme in the new academic year, now fully adapted and optimised for online execution. This time around we’re brining back some of our favourites. The term kicks off with Sound Production, a week long free short course designed to explore the fundamentals of recording theory and best practice through streamed group classes and individual 1-1 lessons with the guidance of experienced industry professionals. Plus our songwriting course will be back as well as our Women In Music masterclass, previously led by Karyln King and Melisa Kelly.

There’s also the new addition of a hip-hop and rap short course led by Glasgow’s own hip-hop legend Steg G. It comes ahead of our newly announced hip-hop HND Pathway, which will be available for anyone studying the HND with us at either of our Scotland centres.

Each short course includes one to one and group sessions with our faculty and upon completion be posted a certification. All dates and more details for the rest of this year can be found via our dedicated short course page or scroll down for dates already announced.

Applications are open for all dates and you can apply here. If you’d like to speak to our Scotland teams about learning more, you can also get in touch with us at [email protected] for our Edinburgh centre or [email protected] for our Glasgow team.

We look forward to hearing from you all!

Sound Production

Glasgow Dates (2020)

  • Starting Monday 21st September and concluding Friday 2nd October.
  • Starting Monday 12th October and concluding Friday 16th October.
  • Starting Monday 9th November and concluding Friday 20th November.
  • Starting Monday 7th December and concluding Friday 18th December.

Edinburgh dates (2020)

  • 6 weekend course starting Saturday 5th September and concluding Sunday 11th October.
  • 6 weekend course starting Saturday 17th October and concluding Sunday 22nd  November.

 

Hip Hop and Rap

Glasgow Dates (2020)

  • Starting Monday 28th September and concluding Friday 2nd October.
  • Starting Monday 12th October and concluding Friday 16th October.

 

Women In Music: Empowerment and Employability

 

Edinburgh dates (2020)

  • This is online course will take place over two Weekends, starting on October 3rd and ending on October 11th.

 

Apply now