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UCOL music students tune up for live gigs

27 April 2012

Eighteen year old Mike Babbington says UCOL Wairarapa’s Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance is “awesome”.


Mike is one of 19 students studying towards the music qualification that was launched earlier this year at the Masterton campus to complement the lively local music scene.


Big on live performance, the programme is designed to prepare graduates for the industry whether as a singer, songwriter or musician, or on to further studies in specialised areas such as audio engineering or band management.


Mike has played drums and percussion in the Masterton District Brass Band for a couple of years and is now aiming to master the guitar. 


“We learn about a variety of musical styles and about the business of music,” says Mike.


Led by UCOL tutor Cody Field, the 34 week programme is designed to ‘fill in the gaps’ and give students a good foundation. “There are a wide variety of skill levels amongst the students,” says Cody. “In addition to learning from us, they help each other and share their strengths.”


Cody says there has been a demand for a music programme in the region for a long time and he is excited to be a part of the highly qualified team of tutors that deliver the one year programme.


Cody is joined by guitar tutor Paddy Bleakley from Wellington, vocals and technical tutor Graham Johnston from UCOL Palmerston North. Well-known local musician Warren Maxwell from Fat Freddy’s Drop and Trinity Roots, who specializes in studio music recording, also lectures the students in the business and management area of the industry.


The programme will soon operate from a custom designed music suite presently being developed. The on campus facilities include two sound-proofed band rehearsal rooms, instrument practice rooms for 1:1 tutorships and an iMac lab for the 13 hours per week of classroom tuition and practical tutorials covering music theory, composition, and arranging music.  Recording will take place at Warren Maxwell’s Stonefeather studio in South Wairarapa.


The students perform regular live gigs around the region with, focusing on different styles throughout the year including Rock, Homegrown, Reggae, Blues, Pop, and Urban.


They have their first public performance at Joxer Dalys in Masterton on Wednesday night, playing Blues and Rock n Roll.


In the meantime, Mike practices his guitar with his classmates as they prepare for future stardom in front of their hometown audiences.


“I can’t wait,” he says.


When: Wednesday 2 May at 7:30pm.

Where: Joxer Dalys in Masterton.


Photo: Mike Babbington (left) rehearses with band mates Nikora Rongonui and drummer Joey Kawana.

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