THE ICMP’S BIO
All aspiring musicians need a serious and experienced music education partner to realise their personal goals and ambitions.
The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance is London’s leading music industry education provider and has been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK.
Founded in 1986, ICMP was originally known as The Guitar Institute and Basstech but soon expanded to offer courses in drums, vocals and other instruments; songwriting; music business and music production. We pride ourselves on our small class sizes, one-to-one tuition, a high number of teaching contact hours, personalised approach to student engagement, regular one-to-one support, and dynamic use of technology in the classroom – innovations you just won’t find to the same extent at any other modern music college.
The ICMP was the first Music School in London to offer full-time music degrees for students of contemporary music, and we pioneered the teaching methods, curriculum structure and philosophy that have become the benchmark for contemporary music education. Many places try to copy our formula, but, of course, there is only one ICMP – original, innovative, independent and individual.
WHAT DID I DO AT THE ICMP?
I was at the Institute of Contemporary Music (ICMP) for 4 years. I studied two courses whilst I was there.
The Higher Diploma – A one year, high-intensity course in music performance that takes you through many different styles and genres, music theory, music business and instrument technique.
The Bachelor of Arts in Creative Musicianship – A three-year course covering similar subjects to the higher diploma but more in-depth and in detail with more emphasis on creativity and developing your musical material.
It’s at the ICMP where I first met Richard Strange as a tutor on the BA degree course. He took us for a lecture called Creativity In Context. A class essentially about different areas in which you can make money in music without having to become a rockstar. These were areas that you normally don’t think about as music such as ringtones, dance, theatre, video games, fashion, hold music, background music, themes etc.
Creativity In Context
I remember Richard’s first lesson vividly. He was sitting at the front of the class with a book in his hand. The book was his autobiography and he would interject the lesson with little snippets of different elements from his immensely diverse career. Everything from Hollywood films (Batman – 1989, Gangs of New York, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) to recording at Abbey Road Studios (Doctors of Madness).
Alarm Clock Alarm
Silent Film Project
London College of Fashion (LCF) Moving Image Project
Live Performance Workshops (LPW)
The Live Performance Workshops were 2 hour weekly classes where we were given a song to take away and make our own. We could use any genre, style and even chop and change the sections as we saw fit.
Some of the songs we worked on were Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden, Billie Jean – Micheal Jackson,
Towards the end of the first year, we were able to create our music and perform it each week with critique from the tutors in our LPW classes.
LPW BILLIE JEAN (Cover)
LPW WITNESS THIS! (Original)
LPW TOM BAILEY (Original)
We had some amazing musicians tutoring us for our LPW classes such as:
He taught about shaping your track and making sure everything had its sonic place. I’d often take tracks into my lectures that I was working on at the time and get advice on tweaks to make and learn tricks. At the time I was in a band that I had set up with a fellow student Tom Bailey called The Marlows.
Tom has gone on to be a successful musician, producer and songwriter. Whilst at the ICMP he was already running a successful youtube channel, Tom Bailey Backing Tracks, with guitarless backing tracks that guitarists could use to practice different styles too. At the time he was making over £300 a month just from just that. He is still growing his backing tack channel and has gone on to have commercial success with his songwriting.
In the 3rd year of the BA, we were assigned one-to-one sessions with a tutor of our choosing. This could be within any of the subjects we felt we could benefit from having some personal mentoring in.
Mark helpt me rapidly improve my 4-way coordination through some simple exercises and introduced me to a book that I still use in my practice routine regularly by session drummer Gary Chester. A New Breed.
Gary Chester was one of the busiest studio drummers of the ’60s and ’70s and played on hundreds of hit records. His systems have been used and endorsed by drummers such as Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl.
This is not just another drum book, but rather a system that will help you develop the skills needed to master today’s studio requirements. And it’s a book that I highly recommend to any drummers out there professional or learning.
Final Performance Project
Along with my dissertation, I also had to produce a number of different projects. One of these projects was a 30-minute live performance. Here’s one of the songs from the performance.
I won two awards during my time in the ICMP. One at the end of the second year and another in my final year.
The first award I won was the at end of the course as we were the first year to take the then foundation degree (FdA). Which was later extended into a BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship.
I won the Best Overall Student 2012 for the FdA.
The second award I won was in the final year of my BA degree and I won Most Improved Drummer in 2013.