Tucked away in a Georgian Townhouse in a leafy street in St.John’s Wood, throughout the sixties, four men- Paul, John, George and Ringo- were making music history. Forty-six years later the world’s most famous zebra crossing has been awarded Grade II listed status and Abbey Road Studios remains one of the most iconic recording studios in existence. And now, it is opening its doors to educate budding musical maestros for the very first time.
Professionals at Abbey Road Studios have developed the ‘Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering’, to be taught at the newly founded Abbey Road Institute. I had the opportunity to speak to Luca Barassi himself, a distinguished sound engineer involved in heading the Abbey Road Institute project.
So, how will the institute offer an insight into the industry in ways that traditional higher education institutes can’t?
“Abbey Road is a name which has a meaning and a close connection with modern music production history” says Luca immediately, and this is undeniably true. The course was designed by industry professionals for the industry. What better teacher can there be, than a sound engineer who has helped develop the curriculum delivering a lecture after having been working on a film score that very morning? The intimate link between the students and the life and soul of Abbey Wood Studio is what its creators are aiming for, while “exposing them to the reality of the industry” by immersing students in the working environment itself. As Luka puts it, “this industry can be cynical and unforgiving just as much as it can be rewarding but this is something the students need to be exposed to progressively as they are learning”.
How will the course be taught?
The course will be taught in an apprenticeship style, with focus put on both the theoretical and practical side of music production and sound engineering. Luca points out the importance of being able to have a working appreciation of how many different aspects of the studio operate, and students will be educated in a way that is “alternating and combining multiple subject areas constantly”. Under the chosen Progressive Continuous Learning (PCL) model, modules will be run alongside each other and cross-module emphasis stressed to avoid information being lost “once you’ve ticked all the boxes and moved on”.
Competition for places will be tough and interest has already been high as the opportunity to learn in such a prestigious studio doesn’t come about very often. Places will be limited to 25 to allow for each student to be given the guidance and support to become tomorrow’s industry legends. The ideal students, alongside other factors, will be those who cannot possibly picture their lives pursuing anything other than what they are passionate about.
If you or anyone you know fancies becoming one of the first to welcome in the programme in September 2015, or for further information, see https://abbeyroadinstitute.co.uk/en