This week in East London, Will Kennard (aka Status from Chase and Status launched Taster Courses for East London Arts & Music (ELAM) – a new free school for 16-19 year olds wanting to break into the music industry. The courses ran over three days (there will be more in November!) and gave attendees the chance to see what ELAM plans to offer students when it opens next September. Hint: it’s pretty exciting.
“I left the sessions really buzzing, ” said Ed Butcher, co-founder of ELAM, when he chatted to us about the day’s events. “The kids got to experience some performance; they were singing with Lloyd Wade [the x-factor vocal coach], and jumped into a production session where we recorded vocals. They played with them, auto tuned them, reverbed them, things like that, puts some beats and bass,
“They said the business session was their favourite part, which means they can see that there are jobs and interests in music outside of just being a performer – or being a producer, as important as they are. It was great.”It’s taken two years for ELAM to get its free school status, which will mean it doesn’t cost a penny for students. It’s also gained the support of high profile organisations, record labels and production houses from within the music industry community. The team is currently working with Plan B’s Each One Teach One programme as part of the University of Alternative Learning, and ELAM is supported by Mistajam and SBTV’s Jamal Edwards.
ELAM is a world-class academy in the making, an idea inspired by the impressive talent of the students Will ‘Status’ Kennard taught during his time at North Trafford College. “I taught Music Technology for two years to kids from some of the poorest parts of the city and, at the time, was also trying to make it myself as a musician and a producer. I really took the job to make ends meet, but I was inspired by the kids – they were incredibly talented, way more talented than my 25 year old self’.
It was their lack of opportunity and ability to utilise the skills they inspired ELAM. ‘After my own career started I stayed in touch with these kids to help them out, give them advice, ” said Will. ”It was just really sad that none of them went any further or reached their potential the way I felt they should.” So with a strong team of teachers and experts ELAM set out to create an opportunity that hasn’t been seen before.
ELAM prides itself on four core values: collaboration, innovation, excellence and integrity, along with an aptitude for music and the industry. The college will offer a range of subjects such as Music Technology, Music Performance and Music Business, however a broader education for the students also take precedence as courses in literacy and numeracy are also part of the prospectus. ELAM’s aim is to offer students a well-rounded education which will equate to 3 A-levels that can progress them into higher education or employment, whether it be directly in the music industry or not. With little under a year until ELAM opens its doors for the first time and with the first taster session of the day coming to a successful end, there was an air of enthusiasm and accomplishment as Will shared his excitement for the future.