Spirit +.

Our Spirit+ masterclass programme will enhance your learning and provide the perfect opportunity for you to expand your skills, explore new ideas and collaborate with students from other disciplines.

Industry masterclass taking place at Spirit Studios. Normal Not Novelty Tour

These masterclasses allow you to build on the knowledge you gain during your course while exploring new subject areas and creative directions.

Spirit+ offers extracurricular activities you won’t find anywhere else. Designed to help you make the most of your time as a student, you’ll gain new skills and networks that will stick with you long after you graduate. It’s your chance to connect directly with industry icons, enrich your CV and get real-world feedback.

From synth-building and creative impulse response workshops to drum recording techniques and sound design. These creative sessions allow students across all courses to collaborate, learn tips and tricks, and network with people in industry. 

Here’s just a sample of the sessions we’ve run this year.

Sessions have previously covered topics such as:

  • Making a synth
  • Analogue Tape
  • Game audio
  • Soldering skills
  • Production masterclasses
  • Academic writing

Blossoms soundcheck at Manchester Apollo

Ahead of their second homecoming show, we got the opportunity to see Blossoms’ soundcheck, speak to their tour manager and learn from the Front of House engineer. We had the unique experience chatting to the bands FOH engineer, Chris Pearce. He talked us through a day in the life on tour, covering everything from loading times, technical specs, soundchecks and the actual performance. This was a truly inspiring insight into the world of live sound. Find out more about our trip here.

Blossoms on stage at Manchester Apollo

Blueprint Studios tour

We paid a visit to the studios co-founder and Spirit alumnus, Tim Thomas. He’s worked with many household names including Gorillaz, Snoop Dogg and One Direction, as well as renowned Producers like John Leckie and Ryan Tedder. After a quick tour of the beautiful studios and recording spaces he’s built over the years, we sat around the Neve desk for an in-depth masterclass. He talked us through his experiences since graduating, offering the tips he’s learned along the way. Read all about our trip here.

Blueprint Studios

Production masterclass with Jozef K

House and techno producer, DJ, label owner and audio engineer Jozef K joined us in the studios for an intimate masterclass where he deep dived into his creative and technical processes of making a track. Signed to the labels Last Night on Earth, Anjunadeep, and more, he has a rich and diverse history in the industry and so was an insightful addition to our masterclass series. He touched on topics such as drum programming, melody writing, bassline writing, vocals, atmosphere layers, individual fx chains, mixdowns, the use of spatial fx to create movement, and track arrangement using Ableton. To close the session he also discussed the process of getting a track signed, offering practical tips in a follow-up Q&A.

Jozef K provides a masterclass in music production to Spirit Studios students.

Mixing masterclass and feedback session with Tom Chapman

Students got hands-on with Tom’s newest track, creating a rough mix and exploring the various creative avenues a producer can take. As the bass guitarist of the mighty Manchester-based rock band New Order, and founding member of his latest venture Sea Fever, he offered a unique perspective on how to make it big in the industry. Students’ also had the opportunity to bring samples of their current projects for Tom to listen to and offer feedback on.

Tom chapman in the studio

Push 2 masterclass with Poppy Roberts

Ableton Certified Trainer, DJ, vocalist and production guru, Poppy Roberts joined us for an in-depth look into Ableton’s latest piece of equipment. The masterclass covered Push 2 creative techniques, such as beat-making and sampling tips, as well as a writing demo and a deep-dive into her workflow methods. She then showcased her process for creating a freestyle track and the performance tools she finds most useful.

Poppy Roberts giving a masterclass on the Push 2 midi controller

Game audio masterclass with Spirit alumnus, Gorge Lloyd-Burman

Once a Spirit Studios student, now a Sound Designer at PitStop Productions, we couldn’t think of anyone better than George Lloyd-Burman to help us explore this ever-exciting sector of the audio industry. PitStop’s credits include some of the biggest games released in the last few years including; Dirt 5, Call of Duty, F1 2020 and Horizon Call of the Mountain. George provided an invaluable insight into the world of game audio; detailing what it’s like working day-to-day, where he thinks the industry is headed and deep-diving into the technical side of audio production.

Spirit Studios student George presenting his game audio project

Cable Preparation and Soldering workshop

In the working world, equipment fails. It’s our job to ensure students leave us able to overcome basic equipment failures, no matter their discipline. To prepare students for this gritty side of working in the music industry, our in-house tech team hosted a hands-on cable soldering sessions. During the workshop students learned how to prepare and repair commonly used audio cables for studio use, as well as how to troubleshoot their own equipment.

Students soldering a PCB component for a custom midi controller.

DIY Synth and Sound Design workshop with Scrubber Fox

Scrubber Fox is a UK based electronic musician, sound designer and performance artist. During his interactive workshop, students learned the basics of synthesis by building their own MIDI Controller using Arduino. He brought in his personal collection of DIY consoles, explaining how students can make their own synth out of a retro games console such as a Gameboy, Sega, C64 or Spectrum.

Students learning about midi controllers and how to build their own

Commercial Mixing masterclass with Josh Cullen

In this session, students got to work on a commercial mix for an acoustic singer/songwriter. Not only did they get to put their mixing skills to the test, students also gained an insight into the various processes involved in sourcing and completing commercial work. The masterclass covered everything from what to do when you’re approached by a client, how to properly invoice for your work and how to set up a successful session. The group then stuck to the client’s brief by using specific mixing techniques to create a brilliant final track.

Tutor shadowing students on msuic production work, including recording and tracking.

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