STUDENTS attending private industry-focused degree courses should have access to state funding, according to Tony Perrey, a director of Pulse Recording College, which has just acquired the legendary Windmill Lane studios in Dublin.
From September, Pulse will offer a full-time three-year BA (Hons) degree in Music Production validated by the University of Central Lancashire (UcLan), the fourth largest university in Britain. the UK. In time, Pulse also plans to seek accreditation for its new courses in film, gaming and 3D animation.
Pulse directors Tony Perrey, Naomi Moore and Aidan Alcock are currently setting up a board of higher education. For the new courses the board will co-opt industry experts to ensure that it produces students with the precise skills required by film, gaming and animation companies.
The Diploma in Film Production begins in September. The gaming, animation and other new multimedia courses will start in February 2010.
In the past, Pulse students have gone straight from completing college to work in studios like Windmill Lane and other world famous studios. Pulse students have worked with artists such as 50 Cent, Jon Bon Jovi, New Order, Bryan Adams, Moya Brennan and Donovan – but they could not apply for any of the college grants available to third-level students attending mainstream universities and ITs.
“No other college in the world has such a strong commercial arm for recording,” notes Tony Perrey. “Our students can sit in on real recording sessions. That adds a lot of credibility to our courses. With Windmill Lane, they will be able to sit in on 80-piece orchestral sessions.
“Our students have also had master classes with people like the producer Flood (New Order, U2, Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode) and the arranger Fiachra Trench (Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello).
“We are looking to the US as an area where we can recruit students. Some US colleges have great facilities, but they don’t have the same nous as a practical working studio.
“For all that, however, there is no funding for students who want to do our BA in Music Production. We attract students from America, France, from all over the world, in fact. Each student can bring 30-40,000 to the Irish economy while living here, perhaps even 50,000 if they’re here for three years.
“But, as we’re a private college, they can’t get funding. We urge the Ggovernment to look at the top private colleges here and to consider the benefits of attracting students to these shores. When you are delivering an internationally recognised course, the students shouldn’t be coming here at a disadvantage.”
By contrast, students attending one comparable private college degree course in Britain the UK – also, incidentally, accredited by UcLan – avail of the full suite of UK college supports.
Students at Pulse pay a registration fee of 6,500 in first year, 6,900 in second year. Comparable courses in the US can cost as much as $45,000 (32,500), which partly explains the number of US students who have enrolled with Pulse in the past.
The other telling factor, of course, is Pulse’s credibility within the music industry. One recent graduate of Pulse, Declan Gaffney, worked on U2’s latest album, gaining engineer, producer and mixing credits.
That credibility will be greatly enhanced by the acquisition of Windmill Lane, synonymous with bands like U2, REM, the Rolling Stones, Spice Girls, Kylie and The Corrs. Recording highlights include most of U2’s albums, Elvis Costello’s Spike, Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys, and Kate Bush’s The Hounds of Love.
During training, Pulse students to
assist in commercial recording sessions in the role of “runner”. This gives the student valuable insight into work practices and studio etiquette.
As well as the new BA in Music Production and a two-year diploma in Audio Engineering, Pulse also offers a number of Fetac level 6 courses, a City & Guilds level three advanced diploma, Digidesign Pro Tools 101 to 310 expert level, Apple Logic and Final Cut Pro.
The range of courses looks sure to expand with the further development of Windmill Lane’s three-storey 12,000 sq foot studios on Ringsend Road, into a multimedia training and recording facility.
Between Windmill Land and its existing premises at Pleasants Place, Pulse now has seven recording studios, an 80-seat lecture theatre, a 35-seat lecture room, six computer rooms and a film studio.
No wonder Pulse’s three directors are now also looking to promote the college to students in Asia.
“Ireland is a fantastic place to study,” notes Tony Perrey. “When students come to Ireland from abroad they adore the relaxed lifestyle here. They also like our manner of teaching, the learning environment which is both relaxed and professional.
“We will be attracting a lot of artists to Ireland. We also want home-grown talent to take a look at Windmill Lane again. If they want to know what all the hype was about, they need to come and see for themselves.
“The place has a great feeling. There’s music in the walls here. It reminds me of when I was in Abbey Road for a mastering session. I walked in there with all those great names on the wall. You know you’re in safe hands, with real professionals. I get that same sense in Windmill Lane.”
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