Awards Day at London College of Contemporary Music

On Sunday 10 September 2023, young musicians supported by our Awards Programme took centre stage at the prestigious London College of Contemporary Music (LCCM) for our latest Awards Day. Building on the success of our 2022 Award Day at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, the day saw budding musicians collaborate in small groups, working together on various aspects of music, from songwriting and production to instrumental performance. 

Guided by LCCM tutors, expert music industry professionals and AYM Alumni, the event was an eclectic mix of workshops, engaging panel discussions and performance opportunities. It also served as an excellent platform for young musicians to network and collaborate with their peers. 

Collaboration and composition

On the second floor, aspiring songwriters embarked on the creative journey of crafting an original composition to be presented to the larger group at the end of the day. Drawing inspiration from the chords of Tracy Chapman’s iconic “Fast Car”, the session touched on instrumental phrasing, melody and lyrics and lead to the creation of a beautiful song of heartbreak and self-love.

Across the hall in the Mac Lab, young musicians delved into the world of music production and explored the intricacies of electronic music composition. They honed their skills using Logic Pro in the morning and ventured into the studio in the afternoon to record instruments on an old-school analogue desk.

Meanwhile, on the first floor, a diverse group of instrumentalists, ranging from rock guitarists to jazz drummers and Indian classical musicians, came together to create musical synergy. They were given guidance as they delved into covers spanning multiple genres. The focus was on refining their playing techniques, enhancing their contributions to the music, and fostering collaboration within the group. AYM Alumni multi-instrumentalist Tom Stafford was on hand to offer support alongside LCCM students.

“It was a great joy to meet so many young people with influences from all over and come together to make music. It was also lovely to see other Alumni and catch up on each other’s progress since we last saw each other, and the LCCM students were super helpful and fantastic musicians to play with.” 

Hearing from the experts

During lunch, attendees were treated to an insightful panel discussion hosted by Dr Oliver Morris, Director of Education and Skills at UK Music. Esteemed guests included acclaimed recording engineer and Executive Director of the Music Producers Guild, Matt Taylor, professional drummer Maxie Cheer, songwriter and rapper Ninja, and singer-songwriter ECKOES. The panel shared their industry experiences, offering valuable insights and advice to aspiring musicians. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, and these esteemed guests later joined the afternoon sessions, actively participating and sharing their expertise.  

“AYM is supporting some insanely talented young people. I was blown away by their natural musical ability and am so excited to see what they will go on to accomplish. This organization is doing something really special – on so many levels. And they do it with heart. Whether classical, jazz, or contemporary, if you love music and you were ever once young, or are young, follow AYM, contact them, get involved. Because all the good things that happen to YOU as a child, help create the best things about yourself as an adult.” Ninja, songwriter, The Go Team!

“One of the biggest barriers for people from low-income backgrounds is having the leap of imagination that you can be successful in music. It was amazing to see the level AYM go to provide this for their young people. From the workshops with industry professionals like my self, to performances, and most importantly networking sessions. Diversifying the talent pipeline with people from low-income backgrounds is a huge passion of mine. AYM do just that.” Matt Taylor, Executive Director MPG

“The AYM Awards day was brilliant, everyone was brimming with talent & enthusiasm. The work you do is so important – it was a joy & honour to be part of. “ ECKOES

As the activities wrapped up, participants engaged in a networking session, fostering connections with fellow musicians from various parts of the UK and across genres. Some attendees were reunited with acquaintances from previous Awards Days, while others forged new connections. The impact of the event was particularly profound for Twinkle, who expanded her horizons and made new friends. Sophie, Twinkle’s mother, shared her enthusiasm, saying:

“It’s brilliant for Twinkle as she is home-schooled, and this just expanded her world. She made friends and talked with like-minded people. I have never seen her so happy as when she came down for lunch. Whatever she did that morning made her fly!” 

Taking the stage

The day concluded with an electrifying open mic and jam session, expertly compered by LCCM’s Youth Music Officer Daniela. The session was kicked off by the LCCM House Band, consisting of LCCM students who had been assisting throughout the day. They would then accompany our performers as they showcased their talents through covers, originals and impromptu collaborations (including Alumni). There were classical recitals, drum solos and covers ranging from R’n’B singer Alicia Keys to progressive rock band Tool! 
Reflecting on the day, Oliver from UK Music remarked: 

“It was an absolute pleasure for UK Music and our MAP member LCCM to support AYM with their Awards Day. The young people we met are so talented and engaged; it was a day that truly lifted all of our spirits. AYM does such important work with young people facing barriers in progressing their musical journeys and does so with such openness and dedication that the team deserves much praise. A huge thanks from UK Music to all the attendees, AYM & LCCM staff, and workshop leaders. I’m looking forward to the next Awards Day already!” 

Thank you to LCCM for providing the venue and their tutors’ time, technical support and the house band. UK Music for putting us in touch with our guests ECKOES, Maxie Cheer, Matt Taylor and Ninja. Our Alumni Tommy Stafford, Maddie Salter and Patsy Gillam. 

Last but not least all of the young musicians who attended!  We can’t wait for our next Awards Day at Maida Vale Studios.

If you are, or if you know, a young musician, aged 5-17, with bags of musical potential who needs support for musical costs, AYM could help!

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