WaterBear’s first year in Sheffield has been a significant success for its student base so far, with the college’s DIY musicians and aspirational artists becoming a prominent feature of the Steel City’s music scene.
WaterBear students have been given various invaluable opportunities across the first term of the academic year, with many more available to them in the next few months. The students are cementing themselves as a crucial part of Sheffield’s music identity, with their presence helping to support the city’s music industry.
Real-world opportunities for students have been a core value for WaterBear since its inception. The music industry is centred around making solid contacts and collaboration, something that is essential for starting and maintaining a career in music. Through WaterBear’s network, students have been exposed to regular work experience opportunities including masterclasses from industry professionals, Q&A sessions with bands, support slots and even organising their own gigs. The students have had access to a full range of music experiences, allowing them to explore the different areas of the industry, and hear from music professionals with perspectives they may not have already been exposed to.
Key highlights in recent months include students attending the soundchecks of both PigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigs, Opus Kink, The Rosadocs, and Tigercub before their respective gigs in Sheffield, both of which included Q&A sessions with the band. Other opportunities included a WaterBear gig at local historic venue, The Washington, where students performed and ran the gig, as well as masterclasses with representatives from the renowned Universal Music and Ditto Music. Students have also been given invaluable performance opportunities, with some being chosen to perform at Sheffield’s Christmas market back in November, whilst individual students such as Kid Blu3 have been given support slots at gigs around the country.
One of WaterBear’s BA (Hons) Professional Music Business students, Oliver Whittaker, had this to say about their experience:
“I feel the opportunities I have been receiving through WaterBear have helped me immerse myself within the music industry in Sheffield. Opportunities such as masterclasses and industry work in general have helped me with what I want to do career-wise, that being Live Events Management. The opportunities I have been given so far have been very helpful as they have allowed me to get to grips with certain aspects of how the industry operates. I think the city of Sheffield has a positive influence on what I want to do and with music as a whole. There’s so many venues and artists about that make the local scene so diverse.”
Significantly, more opportunities are set to come. Famous British indie band The Hoosiers will be running a songwriting masterclass at the Sheffield campus, deconstructing their popular single ‘Goodbye Mr. A’. WaterBear will also be running Student Development Week with a mix of industry masterclasses and student events this February. Additionally, performance opportunities will be available for students across a variety of venues – performing at locations including Corporation, Sidney&Matilda, The Washington, The Leadmill, Hallamshire Hotel, the Dorothy Pax, and further afield in Rotherham. These venues cater to student bands, solo performers, and DJs with interests across a variety of music genres from rock, indie, metal, folk, acoustic, pop, house, funk, and DnB. The college’s all-important connection with grassroots music venues is clear.
WaterBear’s student takeover of Sheffield’s music scene brings huge benefits for the area. With some students headlining or supporting at gigs across the city, other students are coming in droves to support their friends, ensuring an enthusiastic atmosphere at all gigs. One particular highlight was WaterBear’s gig at The Dorothy Pax, which saw a variety of student acts play at the famous Sheffield venue. With a packed-out crowd, the night was a huge success for both WaterBear and the Dorothy Pax.
Richard Henderson, the Managing Director at The Dorothy Pax, had this to say:
“Our recent collaboration with WaterBear Sheffield was a breathtaking event showcasing the incredible and diverse musical performances of WaterBear’s 1st year students, at The Dorothy Pax. If you didn’t manage to attend, apply a massive serving of FOMO and we’ll see you next time…simply not to be missed. It’s incredibly important we ALL nurture emerging talent, particularly in our world leading music city Sheffield. Where’s our future headliners and global superstars coming from if we don’t? The WaterBear’s embraced the opportunity to work out in the field, with our highly skilled techs and grab an experience of playing a Grassroots Music Venue, a sector that contributes over £500m to the UK economy and employs more than 28k people. Viva Waterbear’s, Viva live music & Viva emerging talent.”
Greg Archer, a member of WaterBear’s Careers and Industry team based in Sheffield commented:
“WaterBear’s position within the Sheffield community is hugely important, and we are always incredibly excited to further our relationship with external venues and organisations in order to provide students with the best opportunities available. WaterBear is quickly cementing itself as an important part of Sheffield’s music scene, and the opportunities we are giving our students will only further entrench WaterBear within the Sheffield community.
“The apparent student takeover in Sheffield represents our efforts as a music college to ensure our students are receiving the right experience, and demonstrates the thriving music scene that our Sheffield students are participating in. Given this is only WaterBear’s first year in Sheffield, the number of opportunities our students are already receiving is a clear indicator of things yet to come.”
WaterBear offers BA (Hons) degree and master’s courses made for today’s musicians, artists and industry professionals. The colleges are based in the heart of Brighton and Sheffield, two UK cities with incredible musical roots and heritage. WaterBear also has a range of online distance-learning courses.
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WaterBear is a College of Falmouth University, a pioneer in creative industries education, entrepreneurship and innovation. Run by musicians, for musicians, the college is focused on smaller class sizes, flexible course delivery, bespoke one-to-one mentoring, and exclusive work experience and career development opportunities.