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GCSE's and University choices


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Hi Max,


I am currently in the process of applying to universities and drama schools to study Live Sound Engineering. I have found that my strong basis in Music and Physics has really helped me get multiple offers (including LIPA and Rose Bruford). For GCSE, I took Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, English Language and Religious Studies (compulsory for my school) as well as Modern History, Geography, Music and German. For AS, I took Music, Physics, Religious Studies and Modern History. For A2 have I only dropped the Music (but continued to do music grades, performances, etc.).


Your GCSE options, from my experience, is not hugely important in the long run so pick what you enjoy and are good at (you will be studying them for 2 years!). I have really struggled with Physics these past 18 months but because I enjoy it and know it will be very useful, persistence has got me very far indeed. Do try to keep things broad (eg. me taking German) just in case you change your mind on your degree course or later in your career.


I have found that despite 2 of my 3 A2 courses being seemingly unrelated humanities courses, the skills you gain from these (eg. essay writing) are still highly valued by institutions since they realise that not all schools offer courses such as Music Technology. This is where you can show real dedication and determination by getting involved in amateur dramatics, school plays, technical courses, etc. I strongly advise the summer school in Live Sound Engineering (and all the other summer schools) at SSR (School of Sound Recording) Manchester as a fantastic foundation for technical knowledge; this almost definitely essential for impressing interviewers.



Hope this helps,


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Another LIPA - Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts Student here, just about to enter my final year of my BA (Hons) degree in Theatre & Performance Technology.


Nothing but good things to say about LIPA and definitely worth you looking at when the time comes.

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Many of the touring theatre sound production staff have come from LIPA. You will more than likely have to be from an affluent background to afford this.


SSR names also carries weight.


Derby University BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology is a very good course unlike many other universities with studio focused degrees, it actually teaches you the knowledge you'll require for this industry.


Brit Row's own course also.

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Over the last 6 years I've had 5 or 6 young people work with/for me, all of whom have gone on to degrees at various places including LIPA, the Guild Hall, Derby and SSR.

I've seen and heard lots of stuff about all of them, and I've seen the people these young people became afterwards and the jobs they went in to. I'd honestly struggle to decide if I suddenly chose to go to uni.

The Derby course is an engineering course, not an arts course. If you want to be the go to person when something breaks or something needs making, that's a good place to look.

I was impressed with the teaching at LIPA and the employability after their course is high.

To throw in a curve ball though, my brother is studying music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland up in Glasgow. I've seen their productions, I've hung around backstage, I've seen their setup and I've met their students. I've got to say I was very impressed. Some very good people coming out of that uni and some interesting projects to work on too. What struck me most though was the feel of the place. It was warm and friendly - small enough that you don't feel like an anonymous face. There was always something going on - always an interesting concert or project. If I had to go to any uni to learn this trade from scratch, it'd be there.

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