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Calderdale College(@CalderdaleCol) in West Yorkshire has successfully delivered a unique masterclass with American musician and producer Erik “Blu2th” Griggs, providing invaluable ‘real world’ experience for its music students. 

Erik is a multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated, multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer, and songwriter. He has worked with a variety of artists across different genres, from being a bass and keys player for Aretha Franklin to collaborations with Eminem as part of Dr Dre’s Aftermath production team.

The major coup was achieved through a collaboration between Calderdale College, iconic live music venue The Piece Hall Halifax, and Calderdale Music.

In two separate weeklong masterclasses, young people aged between 14 and 18 with a passion for making music were given a remarkable insight from Erik into how the music industry works today.  Through interactive and practical sessions, the groups learned the process of creating a track to getting a mix ready to share with a record label or artist.

Erik “Blu2th” Griggs, said,

“It has been an amazing two weeks and I think I’ve learned as much as they have. To hear about the students’ music tastes and to see how much potential they have has been wonderful.

“There has been so much talent that has come from Yorkshire, but to experience it at the grassroots when it is developing and see just how much talent there is, is really exciting.”

A music student at Calderdale College, Jacob, said,  

“The masterclass was great! Not only did we learn about the production side, but all the insights into the music industry as a whole. It has been an all-encompassing crash course in music and shown me where I want to be in 10 years’ time, which is headlining Glastonbury!

“We started with the basics of making a song and what it needs; looking at melody and structure that make a song was it is. We built from that with sampling and achieving different sounds with different instruments. It has been a full lesson on how to write a song the whole way through.”

Calderdale College hosted the masterclasses at its on-campus state-of-the-art recording studio in Halifax.  The course was free to attend for eligible Year 10 students during the first week while the second week was hosted for the College’s music course students.

David Malone, Principal and Chief Executive at Calderdale College, said:

“We were so pleased to be able to host this fantastic opportunity for our students at Calderdale College. We are fully committed to providing real-world experiences whenever possible and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with such a renowned star who has worked with some of the industry’s most iconic names.

 “We’re looking forward to seeing how our students can apply learnings from the masterclass. I have no doubt they will remember this experience long after they leave college.”

The course was initiated by The Piece Hall as part of its commitment to the future of arts and culture in the region and developing the next generation of creatives under the umbrella of The Piece Hall Academy. The first element of the Academy, a live events skills boot camp took place at Production Park in Wakefield.

CEO of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson MBE DL said: 

“West Yorkshire has been establishing itself as a hotspot for arts, culture and creativity for some time now and The Piece Hall is firmly at the heart of this. As our reputation grows, we want to carry others with us on that journey.

“It’s an absolute coup to be able to bring an artist with such an immense musical pedigree as Erik to Halifax to share from his skills, talent, wisdom, and contacts. I’m truly thrilled we are able to offer this potentially life-changing opportunity to the young people of Calderdale.” 

Calderdale Music – which is the lead organisation for the Calderdale Music Education Hub – has been working alongside Calderdale College and The Piece Hall for some time to develop the range of opportunities available for children and young people.

Director of Calderdale Music, David Heywood, said:

“We are delighted to be playing a part in bringing a world-class and wide-ranging musical talent such as Erik to Halifax. Through initiatives such as this, alongside our day-to-day music education strategies, we look forward to helping the young people of Calderdale to embrace music and work towards our goal of bringing people together, growing self-esteem, and building brighter futures for the children of the region.”

Calderdale College is the largest provider of further education in Calderdale, engaging around 4,500 learners.  It is currently ranked the best college in West Yorkshire for the achievement of students of all ages. 

Music study courses include Music Industry Skills, Music and Audio Production, Creative Arts with a Music Production Foundation Degree, and Creative Arts with Music Production BA (Hons) Top-Up.

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