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.


"Women are at the forefront of UK Hip Hop": Arusa Qureshi Interview

We sat down with Arusa Qureshi, Edinburgh based author of ‘Flip the Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop’, to discuss her life long connection with hip hop, the genres impact globally and closer to home as well as her career pathway, from her role as editor of The List to working with We are Here Scotland.

If you are considering taking part in one of our Rap & Hip Hop or Women in Music short courses coming up in June, make sure to check out Flip the Script as a great starting point to learn more.

Hey Arusa! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Arusa Qureshi, I’m a writer and editor based in Edinburgh. I write mostly about music, but I also do a lot of work in diversity and accessibility in arts and culture. I used to be the editor of The List and now I’m a freelancer and I write for various places like NME, The Guardian and Gold Flake Paint. And most recently I’ve written a book called ‘Flip the Script: How Women Came to Rule Hip Hop’, which is a love letter to women in hip hop in the UK specifically. 

At the start of your book, there’s a section all about hip hop being your safe haven and drawing the reader in with sharing your own connection with music from a young age, why don’t you tell us about that.

So hip hop is something that I’m really passionate about. Growing up, just seeing those women on TV owning their confidence really did something for me. It’s not just a genre of music, it’s more than that. It’s a cultural movement and it’s something I do love to analyse and write about and delve into the political and cultural aspects of it. I’ve written quite a lot about American hip hop and the roots of the genre. But I wanted to shine a light on what women in the UK were doing because I really feel like women are at the forefront of innovations that are happening in hip hop. 

Yes, hip hop started in the Bronx, but it has travelled the world and it’s morphed and picked up things as it’s traveled. So, I’m really interested in where we are in the UK at the moment.  

You can sense that lifelong connection, what really kicked off writing the book for you back in 2020?

Both the Scottish Album of the Year Award and the Welsh Music Prize were both won by women rappers, that’s Nova (SAY Award) and Deyah (WMP). It felt like we were in a really exciting period, that there was something special going on and I wanted to capture it in some way, and that’s what the book was. 

You talk in the book about writing your dissertation on hip hop in 2015 and being strongly advised against it by your lecturers. What was that experience like?

My tutors didn’t see hip hop as a genuine art form. Which made me sad at the time and it still does thinking about it. But I went ahead and did it and I’m really glad I did because it really ignited this passion in terms of writing about hip hop and writing about the political aspects of music. 

Personally, I think, in the UK we’re still a little bit behind America in relation to hip hop in academia, things are definitely much further ahead. I think partly because when Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018, that was just a huge deal because hip hop was finally entering this sphere of being like a real art form, of being really respected. 

I really do think even though it is born in New York, hip hop represents and tells you a story about very specific communities or groups of people, people with a very specific political history. And for that reason, it should be taken seriously. 

The Academy of Music and Sound is proud to be the developers of the first Rap & Hip Hop pathway and short course into full time higher education in Scotland. Find out more about the educational opportunities we have on offer here.

Absolutely, we’ve seen a large scale shift in the media and education even in the past few years. What has your career looked like since finishing up your degree?

I went on to do a Masters at Napier in magazine publishing. I don’t think that doing a masters is the most important thing in the world at all. But it was the right choice for me at the time. I was really lucky that I got a scholarship to do it. So, because I was so grateful to be there, I really put myself forward for absolutely everything. I took advantage of all the free tickets that we got to conferences and events. I really didn’t close myself off from any experience that came my way. And I was interested in writing and editing, but I was willing to try out different things in that industry. The List had an opening and I just wanted to learn everything I could. I gradually became a part of the content team, and then in 2017 the editor was leaving. I applied for her job and somehow, I got it. And I say that because it was unexpected at the time. Unfortunately, because of COVID, my role as editor was made redundant in August 2020.  

That must have been really tough.

Yeah, I was at the company for almost five years in total. So, it was horrible. But I became a full time freelancer shortly after. And I’ve been doing that since, and I’m really grateful to say that it has worked out. I’ve been able to do all kinds of different things. So, like, writing for publications like NME and The Guardian and and Time Out. And I’ve done some radio work, and I worked on a BBC podcast for a little bit. And then I wrote a book. And none of that would have happened if I hadn’t lost my job.  

You’ll have built up a number of transferable skills in your time in the industry. That’s kind of what our short courses are about, giving people the chance to discover something new or up-skill. Which has been vital for so many creatives.  

I think first of all, what you’re saying about the short courses, that kind of thing is so perfect for if you are wanting to just build on what you already have or you know what you don’t have in terms of skill sets. Over the past two years it’s things like that I really looked out for I guess to try just push myself in different ways in the industry. It’s sometimes the case that you think you’re good at one thing and you can’t really do anything else but there’s so many things you could do with the skills that you have and that’s really what I’ve learned over the past two years. 

Do you think your transferable skills made the transition to freelancing easier?

I took the time to try all opportunities that came my way. It’s about really looking at the skills that you have and seeing what else you could use them for. And I think in terms of the skills I had from my earlier job, being organised, attention to detail and good with deadlines honestly helps me in everything I do. I think you have to really think outside the box a little bit when you’re looking at what you could use your skills for. You might think, “well, I’m a writer, so I can only write.” 

But you can work in TV, you can work in radio, you can work in film. You can work in all kinds of things. It’s just about being open to trying things. 

Would you say there are any resources you’ve used specifically to find hip hop opportunities throughout your career?

When it came to just looking for opportunities and applying for jobs, I subscribed to a lot of different newsletters that were free to subscribe to. They would send out regular specifically writing opportunities, but also ones that would say whether there was a role in the music industry for example, and it was just a good thing to keep getting that in my inbox. Just to remind me that there are things out there in terms of resources for hip hop. I really wish there was more written about just hip hop generally, but also specifically about women and hip hop. And there is a lot of written about it in in the US, but not as much in the UK. 

You can look at my bibliography in the book, which has everything that I read and that will give you a really good idea of resources in the genre. 

Are there any organisations to look into too?

I think it’s also worth drawing attention to another organization I work for called ‘We Are Here Scotland’, which is basically all about amplifying voices of creatives of color in Scotland and we do various things. We’ve been working on a creator fund, so artists of color in Scotland can apply for £500 bursaries for things like equipment or studio time or something like that. And I think it’s been a really good resource so far because as well as the fund we offer mentorship. I think mentorship is one of the most important things for people starting out. 

“Hip Hop is not just a genre of music, it’s more than that. It’s a cultural movement.”

That sounds incredible, having even 1 person in your corner can make such a difference.

Absolutely! And not just for people who are just starting out, but even people who are further on in their careers. Just being able to speak to people who’ve made that step or done what you’re looking to do. It is just so important that you’re getting the advice from somebody that has already been there and done. It can be totally valuable. 

Tell us a little more about We Are Here Scotland.

We Are Here was founded by Ica Headlam, and the project was initially funded through crowdfunding and now has received Creative Scotland funding to support the next round of people and it’s just been so great so far. The first round of people who got the funding, that was a little while ago, they’re all in their process of using that money and doing the mentorship and stuff and it’s really cool to see. £500 isn’t a huge amount of money to some people, but for somebody just starting out when you’re looking for materials or you’re looking to even just pay yourself to be able to do a project, it can be so important.  

We’re just trying to demystifying things a bit and help people that maybe think that they don’t belong in not just the music industry, but the wider creative industries. We want to really show that there is a place for them. And there’s people here to help. 

That’s really incredible. How do you feel about Hip Hop in the UK right now?

I’m honestly so proud of where we are at the moment when it comes to hip hop in Scotland. Hip Hop in the UK is always traditionally revolved around London and that’s makes sense because it’s kind of where it started in the UK. But there’s so much going on beyond London and the levels of talent that we have in all regions is just insane. I feel like hip hop & offshoots like grime and drill etc. are thriving. We can’t just look to London automatically as the place to find the best of the next big talent. Nova winning the SAY Award, I think that meant a huge amount to the Scottish music industry and just to the industry taking hip hop seriously and even beyond Scotland this. 

You know it is a hugely respected and really popular genre. There is a statistic in my book, I think it was from 2020 or 2021 that states, hip hop accounts for over a fifth of all UK singles consumption, which is like a sixfold increase on 1999 and that’s huge. 

Before you go Arusa, why don’t you share what’s in your playlists at the moment? Who are some of your favourite artists right now?

In Scotland I love BEMZ, Washington, Clarissa Woods and The Honey Farm. Elsewhere, I love Lil Simz and ENNY as well. If anyone is interested in just hearing more hip hop generally in the UK and I made a playlist that goes along with the book, at the moment it’s over 8 hours long, but I keep adding to it as things come out!  

Check out the Flip the Script Playlist here.


If you would like to find out more about the culture of hip hop and rap performance AMS are running a series of short courses across Edinburgh & Glasgow in June. Classes take place across a variety of weekdays and run from 10am-4pm.  We are also running a weekend online Women in Music short course across 3 Saturdays and Sundays from 11th June until 26th June with classes running from 10am-4pm. You can find more information about all our courses 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.”

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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.


AMS Student using Manson Guitar Works Guitar

Manson Guitar Works Gift AMS Exeter Iconic Guitars

Manson Guitar Works has supplied iconic instruments to some of the music industries’ biggest names. From Muse to Led Zeppelin to Foo Fighters, Manson have crafted guitars that have played a part in entertaining audiences all over the world. As much as Manson has a global influence, after being based in Devon since the 1980’s, they have a connection to music much closer to home.  

Manson Guitar Works is a long-term supporter of the arts and music education, reflected in their recent generosity in the form of a guitar donation for the use of our AMS Exeter students.

This donation offers our students the opportunity hone their craft using some of the best quality instruments available. Learning skills that will take them forward into their musical careers. We could not be more thankful to Manson Guitar Works for this outstanding gesture.

We spoke with co-owner of Manson Guitar Works, Adrian Ashton recently about his time in the music industry, working with Manson and the generosity the company has shown to AMS.  

When asked about the motivation behind the donation, Ashton had the following to share: 

“We’ve always supported music education and the arts. Having a recent tour of the AMS premises and seeing familiar faces reminded us of the importance of collaboration between all the music industries. No new musicians means no new guitars!

We created an allocation of instruments that can be donated to charities and institutes that normally have a musical theme. So it made perfect sense to equip the AMS sites with some instruments that can take a lot of use and being played every day. It’s great seeing the instruments in the academy, Jon Wilson, Exeter manager was a student of mine in the past, it just all made perfect sense.”

As well as Manson’ joining us on campus, members of staff from AMS Exeter were also welcomed into the Manson Workshop earlier this month. Having a tour of the premises and seeing the instruments being made was a unique experience for our team.

Check out some behind the scenes images below.

Ashton is actually a bassist, not a guitarist some may be surprised to know. When asked about why he chose to pursue the bass as his instrument of choice he said: 

“My early music influence was punk rock and, in my view, all the exciting players in that genre were playing the bass guitar. JJ Burnel from The Stranglers, played very intricate lines, but you could also include Paul Simonon of The Clash, Paul Gray of The Damned and many others.

Once set on the bass, the legends of technical bass appeared on my radar, including of course the late, great Jaco Pastorius, who really set the bass world on fire. It served me well at B.I.T. where every live playing workshop required a bass player but with a mix of 40 guitarists to each bass player you found yourself getting to perform 10 or more times over the guitar students at the college. Definitely a plus for bass.

I really enjoy bass and have been fortunate enough through founding Bass Guitar Magazine to have met and spoken to almost every one of my bass heroes. On one occasion I interviewed Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden and John Entwistle of The Who in the same morning. I’ll never forget that!

Being musically educated helped my journalism career.  When professional players knew I could talk their language, I could earn their respect and create a more successful interview. “How do you solo through a II, V, I progression?”, usually gets more respect than, “What star sign are you?” Music education gives you that.” 

AMS Student using Manson Guitar Works Guitar

Ashton not only studied music at Berklee College of Music and The Bass Institute of Technology in Los Angeles but also obtaining a degree in Law. We thought it would be interesting to share Ashton’s insights on music education how it has effected his career.  

“I’ve spent a good time in music education, with courses at Berklee College of Music and The Bass Institute in Los Angeles. Whilst there is always the time-tested and, if you make it, great alternative of just joining a band and hoping you’ll be successful, music education allowed me to gain skills I probably wouldn’t have got that way; plus, at 27 I was already past my sell-by date! Whilst establishing my business, music education allowed me to get sight-reading gigs, teach, write for magazines, and set up my own music school, which as well as being great fun, allowed me to have an income. Performing at the school was also a great way to get ready for gigs in styles that I wasn’t so familiar with such as jazz, big band and blues.”

Image: Jolyon Holroyd Photography

We were also curious about his career highlights from his time working within Manson Guitar Works. He shared the following:  

“There have been so many moments I’ve had working with artists and the team here that occasionally I do have to stop and just remind myself of how great the music business can be. I am not sure I can single one moment. Recording with Martin Grech with us both using Manson guitars was a playing highlight, our recent ORYX guitar project with Adam Nolly Getgood has also been an amazing venture. Having Matthew Bellamy as a business partner makes each day exciting; we aim to achieve new heights in the business as he does with his music. They all sit equally with coming to work with a small but really dedicated team I’m super proud of.”

 ___________________________________________

This donation from Manson Guitar Works is one of those moments within our team here at AMS that has made us stop and consider how genuinely great the music industry can be, as Ashton has said. We know that for our students at AMS Exeter, this donation could spark a new sense of inspiration, leading our students to play something new and exciting for the first time. 

To find out more about the history of Manson Guitar Works and their outstanding clientele base, head over to their website & socials.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter


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!  

Dates:
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.  

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

To book your place, contact Aaron Wilson on any of the following:
07932071121 | aaronwilsonguitarlessons@gmail.comwww.aarronwilsonguitarlessons.com

aaron wilson summer rock guitar school

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
Websitewww.aaronwguitarlessons.com


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.

HANG hip hop scotland

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.

Andy Low Photography

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 events@officialsama.com before 5pm on Friday 18th June.

 

Tickets

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 ~
https://soundcity.lnk.to/2021
Read about our partnership with Sound City here.

liverpool sound city 2021 festival ams academy of music

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.

Schedule: 

  • 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

Guitar Workshop

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 edinburgh@academyofmusic.ac.uk if you have any questions about the event or signing up.

We look forward to meeting you all!


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

ARE YOU 14-19, LIVING IN SCOTLAND, WANT TO PERSUE A MUSIC CAREER?

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.

WHAT IS MUSICPLUS+?

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.

WHEN & WHERE?

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.

HOW DO I APPLY?

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.

#LavenderDreaming


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

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

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.