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London music college LCCM is changing the face of contemporary music education - Music Week

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The London College of Creative Media is the highest-ranked provider of music performance and music business degrees in the UK by student satisfaction (according to the National Student Survey in 2019, 2020 and 2021).
We [principal Anthony Hamer Hodges (pictured) and JD Donovan, LCCM industry liaison] believe we can collectively change the music industry for the better – helping to bring about a fairer, more diverse, better-educated and musically more exciting future. We’ve been doing this since 2002, when our founders, all professional musicians themselves, decided to launch a new college for contemporary popular music in the centre of London. The aim was to create a new approach to teaching music that mixed the best of the good universities and conservatories with an art school environment.
We’ve always been based on Union Street, SE1, and in March 2018 we opened our brand new purpose-built creative campus, The Music Box, which is located in the heart of London’s Southbank. LCCM offers undergraduate courses in Music Performance & Production, Music Business Management, Creative Music Technology and Composition for Films, Games & Other Media. Postgraduate awards are available in Creative Entrepreneurship, Music Performance, Music Production and Entertainment Science.
Higher education should have value for life and we strive to provide our students with a time of creative and cultural experimentation as well as personal development during their studies with us. Our students develop lifelong skills in communication, creative expression, collaboration and cultural understanding as well as furthering their talent, passions and personal ambitions.
The story so far…
LCCM principal, Anthony Hamer Hodges (AHH) explains: “LCCM was setup by musicians in 2002 in a rustic old building on Union Street near London Bridge and started teaching degrees in 2008. We now have the shiny new and custom built six-storey Music Box campus at the top end of Union Street, near The Cut, and directly opposite Southwark tube station. It’s a real cultural quarter, what with The Young Vic, Southbank Centre and the Tate Modern on our doorstep.
“We’ve been the highest ranked specialist provider of music performance and music business degrees for the last three years, judged by student satisfaction according to the National Student Survey. Our most famous graduate is probably Tom Walker who graduated in 2014. I hung out with him backstage at a UK Music event pre-lockdown and he remembers his tutors fondly. There’s also Rhys Lewis, Sans Soucis, Kathleen Francis  and plenty of successful songwriters and session musicians like Fabio De Oliveira (George Ezra). We’ve placed industry execs over recent years into great jobs at top employers like Universal, Warner, Live Nation and ICE.”  
What’s on offer…
AHH: “Our degrees are practical in nature, underpinned by strong academic principles. There’s no better way of learning than by doing. Our professional recording, performance, rehearsal and production spaces at the Music Box are perhaps the only facility of their standard in central London – to the extent that we’ve had named artists and bands come to use them too. Amber Run did five days of rehearsals for their latest tour in the venue in exchange for a secret Freshers’ Week gig for our students. Artists including Moses Boyd, Kojey Radical and Novelist come in to use Studio 1A.
“Our music business students are proactively involved in booking artists and putting on events in the venue as well as helping book shows for the performance students in other venues across and outside of London.”
When DJ Semtex came for a guest talk in August he said: “The building is incredible (it’s called the Music Box), there are several production studios, rehearsal rooms, a theatre with a decent sound system. I actually tested out a project I’m working on while I was there. The sound system bangs, literally shakes the room.”
LCCM has a fresh new approach to teaching music, artist development and the business of music that are all critically important for success in today’s changing market
Mathew Knowles
Artist and talent development at LCCM
“Aside from the concrete foundations of our Music Box campus, talent development is the core foundation that LCCM is built on,” explains JD Donovan, LCCM industry liaison. “We believe that a student’s music career starts as soon as they step foot inside the door on one of our open days. From that point on, we help them develop their skills and talent to prepare them for a long and successful career. We have a specialist track record in nurturing the development of music creatives and that is knitted into the fabric of their lessons and also what happens around them in the building: masterclasses, weekly talks and networking with game changing industry professionals. It’s this stuff outside the classroom where they can pick up behind-the-scenes insights and tips and tricks for getting ahead.”
Donovan continues: “We help at every step of the journey from feedback on the music to arranging campaigns, distribution and putting our students in front of the right A&R or manager to take them to the next level. Recent graduates in the past couple years have gone on to sign deals, tour internationally and pick up co-writes with buzz names such as Fred Again and Baby Queen. Our current first years are bagging plays on Radio 1 and putting on packed nights in our venue! We can see them having a positive effect on the UK music industry and we’re so excited every year to welcome the next generation.
Anthony Hamer Hodges adds: “All the staff and tutors here are either working musicians or talent managers themselves. I was an artist manager for ten years and was chief commercial officer/employee number one at a music streaming startup. JD manages acts with a total of 500 million streams on Spotify alone. We love music education because it is exactly the same job as artist management in the early days: spotting and nurturing talent, inspiring them to aim high and be the best version of themselves, and building bridges with industry to open up opportunities at the right time.”
The Mathew Knowles Scholarship at LCCM 
JD Donovan says: “Dr Knowles is one of the most credible figures in artist development, approaching and building careers in a way that aligns with ours. The scholarship is an open-format application process, not just music business or performance but producers too – and that mirrors not only Dr Knowles own career success as a manager, but also an executive producer and songwriter (including on Destiny’s Child Survivor). To put yourself forward for the Scholarship, you’ll need to apply to LCCM for either an undergraduate or postgraduate course in 2022, confirm our offer, and then come down to one of our scholarship audition days where you’ll perform, play back or present in your chosen discipline.
“The winners of the heats in each category will be narrowed down to a grand final in the second week of the 2022 autumn term, judged by Dr Knowles himself and a panel of industry judges. A standout candidate will be a singer, musician or budding future executive who is talented in their chosen field, driven, ambitious and willing to use their future potential to be a changemaker of tomorrow.”
In conversation with Mathew Knowles and Anthony Hamer Hodges:
What was it about LCCM that made it an attractive proposition for you?
Mathew Knowles (MK): “LCCM has a fresh new approach to teaching music, artist development and the business of music that are all critically important for success in today’s changing market.”
AHH: “We have a monthly masterclass series called Box Talks and Dr Knowles did one during the winter lockdown last year. The students loved it and found Mathew to be inspiring and full of wisdom about making the most of creative talent. We discussed there and then – over Zoom – that we must get him in to teach in person and it all went from there.”
You have a long track record of discovering and breaking star artists. What do you look for in an artist at the discovery stage?
MK: “In discovering new artists the two most important things for me is that they have the talent and are passionate about their craft because passion will bring on the work ethics needed to put in the many long hours to master their artistry.”
How developed do you require artists to be before you would decide to work with them?
MK: “I always like finding new artists when they are young in their career and haven’t developed many bad habits!”
Speaking from your experience in the music industry, what would you change about the music business and why?
MK: “I would love to create a music industry where artist development was more readily available along with managers understanding the need to learn the business side of management. I wish there were more grants available for these two purposes. LCCM has this fresh approach.”
What made you want to transition into music education? 
MK: “Music Education was an organic next step. I’ve worked with a lot of new artists where as a manager I was always in some way educating our artists.”
What advice would you give an up-and-coming artist manager?
MK: “My advice to an upcoming manager is first ‘get the knowledge.’ There is so much to learn and so few managers that have a complete understanding of the many aspects of the music industry. There’s a lot of moving parts in this industry, from understanding what a record label does, understanding what each department does, understanding all the revenue streams, and we make sure we’re getting paid; to understanding touring – which is a beast on its own – and understanding what a manages does. Building relationships and knowledge is the key and understanding this digital world that we live in and how we live inside of it today. And how do we make an impact? How do we develop artists? How do we understand branding and endorsement?”
AHH: “The barriers to entry have never been lower and the rewards at the top have never been higher. But it’s a much more complex industry so you can never stop learning.”
What’s the best advice you would give an aspiring artist?
MK: “My advice for an inspiring artist is to soul search if this is a passion or a hobby.”
AHH: “With 60,000 songs uploaded to streaming platforms every day, to stand out you’ve got to stand for something. Focus on what makes you unique and interesting and what you’ve got to share and show the world and less about blending in.”
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