Open­ing mu­si­cal links in Ber­lin


Manawatu¯ mu­si­cians could be about to en­joy air­play in Ber­lin.

Graham John­ston, a mu­sic lec­turer at Palmer­ston North’s UCOL, will be in­tro­duc­ing Ger­man ears to Manawatu¯-made mu­sic when he at­tends a sum­mit in the Euro­pean na­tion’s cap­i­tal this month.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing him will be 80 tracks of mu­sic by Manawatu¯ stu­dents, and John­ston will try to get some of it played on Ger­man stu­dent ra­dio sta­tions.

‘‘The key to the trip is cre­at­ing a con­nec­tion to the in­dus­try and forg­ing net­works to not only to ben­e­fit UCOL but to help Palmer­ston North mu­si­cians find a voice in the Euro­pean mar­ket.

‘‘It’s about get­ting our stu­dents out of the mind­set that they have to stay lo­cal.’’

John­ston said with today’s tech­nol­ogy, there was no rea­son why some­one with a mic record­ing mu­sic in their Palmer­ston North bed­room could not have a fol­low­ing in Europe, or would not be able to col­lab­o­rate from home with over­seas pro­duc­ers or mu­si­cians.

‘‘It is pos­si­ble to have a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in mu­sic and make a de­cent liv­ing with­out be­ing in the tiny per­cent­age of artists who make the big time. A lot of the new voices are elec­tronic, and you won’t see them in the main­stream or hear them on the ra­dio.’’

John­ston was in­vited to at­tend the three-day Loop 2017 sum­mit at Funkhaus Ber­lin by mu­sic soft­ware com­pany Able­ton af­ter sub­scrib­ing to the com­pany’s Push 1 Trade-in Ini­tia­tive.

‘‘The out­come was that UCOL was given 20 Push 1 con­trollers, worth around $1000 a pop, and 50 licences for the Light­bulb soft­ware.’’

A Push con­troller is a por­ta­ble plug-in 64-pad flat box the size of a tablet that could be used for com­pos­ing, se­quenc­ing, sam­pling, mix­ing and ma­nip­u­la­tion, warp­ing, loop­ing, ar­rang­ing, edit­ing, and ex­port­ing.

John­ston said a lead­ing Aus­tralian mu­sic school taught it as a stand-alone in­stru­ment along­side tra­di­tional in­stru­ments such as pi­ano and flute.

‘‘We had some stu­dents from Whanganui Girls’ Col­lege in our stu­dio and af­ter 10 min­utes they were mak­ing mu­sic. It’s a sim­ple plat­form to get started on, but hard to re­ally master.’’

To at­tend the sum­mit of per­form­ers, pro­duc­ers, ed­u­ca­tors, engi­neers and tech­ni­cians, John­ston suc­cess­fully ap­plied to UCOL’s pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment fund and the Fac­ulty of Hu­man­i­ties and Busi­ness.

As well as at­tend­ing per­for­mances, pre­sen­ta­tions, stu­dio ses­sions, and in­ter­ac­tive work­shops, he will be vis­it­ing two mu­sic schools to see their fa­cil­i­ties and stu­dent prepa­ra­tion for the mu­sic in­dus­try.


Graham John­ston from UCOL’s con­tem­po­rary mu­sic course is off to a mu­sic sum­mit in Ber­lin.

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