Student From MAP’s London South Bank University Reviews Leicester Music Conference

James Toolan, a student from Music Academic Partnership's London South Bank University has reviewed the Leicester Music Conference.

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22.02.2024: James Toolan, a student from Music Academic Partnership’s London South Bank University has reviewed the Leicester Music Conference. UK Music’s MAP scheme is a ground-breaking project that works to create stronger links between industry and educational institutions. 

“The first-ever Leicester Music Conference, took place on February 16 2024, and was conceptualized by Dr Yasin El Ashrafi BEM, the founder of HQ Familia record label, and director of HQ Community Arts Network.

The conference was held at 2Funky Music Cafe, a venue complex comprising multiple live music spaces, praised for its atmosphere and wide range of performances.

In an earnest introduction detailing his life journey toward his career in the Leicester music scene, Yasin explained the importance of providing a focal point and interaction of resources for the musical talent of Leicester and the wider East Midlands.

Speakers at the UK Music panel on How To Develop A Career In Music at the Leicester Music Conference.

The UK Music panel, How to Develop a Career in Music, hosted by Education and Skills Director Dr Oliver Morris was the first panel of the event. In attendance was a crowd from varied musical backgrounds and with different career goals.

Silvia Gargiulo, the founder of BIY People & Talent, and working in music recruitment for 20 years, spoke about luck in answer to a question from an audience member starting their own music recruitment firm: “If you shut yourself away, the luck won’t happen”.

The question topics ranged from the practicalities of collaboration to the difficulties of promotion. Emma McGann, an artist from neighbouring Coventry, outlined the importance of finding your community and her journey in creating a dedicated online audience through YouTube and live-streaming.

Artist Emma McGann, AIM’s Nina Radojewski, Punch Records’ Ammo Talwar, BIY People & Talent’s Silvia Gargiulo and Musicians’ Union’s Stephen Brown. 

Stephen Brown, the Musicians’ Union Regional Organiser for the Midlands, highlighted the need for looking at yourself in a professional context even when making music with friends.

A quote from Punch Records CEO Ammo Talwar MBE, who is also UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce Chair, epitomised the discussion taking place within the panel and the audience: “The more inquisitive we are, the more diverse we become” .

Also speaking on the panel was AIM’s Nina Radojewski.

The benefit of active engagement with other people in the music sector was echoed throughout the day . The panel concerning musicians’ rights explained the role of MCPS and PPL and PRS for Music in ensuring royalties and protection of artists, the latter organisation being based in Leicester.

Lunch included live music from BBC Introducing East. The next panel, How to Develop Talent, included a heartfelt question about dealing with anxiety when performing live – answered empathetically by Dean Jackson from BBC Introducing and Andrew Ferguson, AKA Outrage/Nominee, who shared their similar experiences.

The next panel, Be Seen and Stay Seen, was followed by more live music, varying in genres from rap to swing guitar, which went on late into the night.

The crowd at Leicester Music Conference, which took place at 2Funky Music Cafe.

The inaugural Leicester Music Conference was attended by veterans of the scene and newly starting artists walking across the bridge from DeMontfort University. There were insights for everyone. The dialogue of these different experiences started in the panels and extended into the snaking queue for the Caribbean food stall and further into the crowd of the performances.”

Find out more about the Leicester Music Conference here

Find out more about the Music Academic Partnership (MAP) here

Find out more about London South Bank University here

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