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During lockdown we've been catching up with some of the alumni from our education courses taught in partnership with Shetland College UHI to talk about their experience as a student and see what they're up to now!
First up we spoke to Heather Newell who studied on our NC Music course.

"I first came to study the course at Mareel in 2015, and had to leave early as I was moving back to Ireland. When I came back to Shetland the first thing on my list was to re-apply. The course feels like a first step in your music career, you’re learning incredibly valuable information without feeling like you’re sat in a classroom - it feels more like learning from experience. You aren’t treated like a student, you’re treated as a musician and that’s something I really appreciated. You get a really hands-on educational experience by studying at Mareel, every other week there was something new on that you had the opportunity to observe or even help out at. It really solidified my passion to be involved in the arts.

For the duration of my college year (19-20) I was expecting my first baby, and I worked at the Scalloway Youth Centre as a music co-ordinator for the House Band that met on Saturdays. When lockdown struck, my partner and I were both out of work as I had just gone on maternity leave. In March we decided to set up the Shetland Young Musician Network on Facebook for young musicians to live stream or create video content to share and promote their work. We have since done 4 separate live-streams that have together reached 36,000 people and been shared all over the world. It is an opportunity for a safe and sound space for young folk to perform, entertain and create some advertisement for themselves. Hopefully, we also have a fantastic platform for collaboration, networking and music sharing! Everyone is welcome.

During my course I learned the importance of self-promotion and marketing while building your career in the arts. And that sticks with me now while promoting other things that I’ve been doing. It also gave me some key information about setting up events like where to apply for funding and how to advertise the event etc. Now I hope to build a career in Events & Promotion and Shetland is absolutely the best place for it.

The best advice I could give to someone looking to start their career in music is COPYRIGHT AND PROTECT YOUR STUFF! Some of the most fascinating stories we were told this year involve famous copyright disputes. And also, network network network! The more people you know in “The Biz” the more likely you are to get yourself some work! Word of mouth is a wonderful thing. Not every producer has time to listen to your EP, but if you know someone who knows someone who’s cousins best friend knows the producer and could put in a good word - you’re already three steps ahead!"

If you're interested in finding out more about our education courses, there are still full and part-time places and funding available for September, more information is available here.

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