Bryony Marsh was home-educated throughout her secondary school years, during which she was encouraged to explore her personal interests rather than following the conventional route of opting into a range of GCSE subjects. Bryony secured her maths, English and music GCSE’s and to continue with her studies in Music, she attended an Open Day at Cambridge Regional College. After completing her Level 3 Music Production studies, Bryony applied to university and was offered a choice of places, and shortly after received an offer of a full-time Technician role with Cambridge Regional College, leaving her with a choice to make regarding her future. Bryony tells us about her journey from home-schooling to working in the music industry.
“I had taken an interest in music from an early age, so I decided to pursue this area of learning and studied Grade 5 rock and pop guitar alongside my maths and English GCSEs. I wanted to continue my studies in music, so attended a range of college open days to explore what was on offer. The collection of music resources and facilities available at CRC were far more impressive than any other college I had seen. The staff were also very friendly and welcoming and made the time to talk to me, which gave me a good understanding of the course and left me feeling confident that studying at CRC was the right choice for me.
I applied for the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Performance and Production but only having 3 GCSEs resulted in me being encouraged to enter at Level 2. I was able to assure the tutors that I was ready for Level 3, and I started my course in September 2018. I ended up excelling in Level 3 and left the course with a distinction in both my first and second year, earning me two unconditional offers and 3 conditional offers at university.
I studied music production, with the intention of learning how to record and mix my own music, however throughout the course I discovered many new interests that I didn’t know I had, such as sound for moving image, live sound, mixing and mastering, and marketing. The course covered a vast range of different industry skills in detail, covering all the essentials I needed to get started on my journey as a Music Producer, and further develop my skills in the industry. I was able to focus most of my assignments around things I was interested in such as rock music and the live industry.
I showed a lot of interest in getting involved, which resulted in me being given many opportunities to gain additional experience, such as supporting the set up and engineering of gigs for other year groups or taking part in extra recording projects as a Sound Engineer. My favourite part of the course was being able to gain real industry experience in live sound, running the front of house for gigs completely independently. I also loved being surrounded by others who all had similar interests. We were often learning from each other and coming together to develop and produce exciting projects with our unique skillsets. I gained valuable contacts for the future that I wouldn’t have been able to get without CRC, including the staff members who were all so helpful, skilled, and dedicated to teaching.
Studying with CRC helped me massively in moving forward with my career. I was actively encouraged to apply for the job as Creative Industries Technician within the college on the basis of the skills I had gained and demonstrated as a student. I turned down the university offers and accepted the role with CRC. Prior to my course, I did not know anything about recording, mixing, mastering or live sound. Now, I use these skills regularly at work and would never have been able to fulfil the role without them. I have also since been offered an apprenticeship at the Junction in Cambridge due to my experience with live sound, lighting and working in an educational environment. Again, I turned down this opportunity to pursue my career within education. Being able to explore lots of different aspects of music production have helped me to discover what I enjoy the most and what I am good at. This has presented many pathways for me in the music industry and helped me to feel more confident about which direction I wanted to take my career – becoming a Lecturer in Music Production.”
The four main pieces of advice I would offer to those starting out on their educational journey with CRC are,
- Ask for help or advice when you need it. The tutors at CRC have so much valuable industry knowledge and experience. You can learn a lot from them
- Seek and accept extra-curricular activities and work experience. There are so many opportunities for additional learning, collaboration, and additional projects at CRC that many do not take advantage of. It is extremely valuable and rewarding
- Meet others outside of your subject area. In Creative Industries especially, there is so much opportunity for collaboration between departments to make some cool things happen! It’s well worth meeting people from other departments, making friends, and gaining valuable contacts for your future career
- Do your work at college. If you can focus at college and do your work in your classes, there will be less of a need to work at home. Using your time in college wisely will make a huge difference.
Find out more about studying Music Production at Cambridge Regional College.