A lot of the music section in SCAN is about listening to music and going to gigs, but I don’t know a lot about the opportunities to play music that the university holds. This really showed when I was working at the recent university open days, where there seemed a great amount of interest in music and in help to perform and find people to play with.
University of Lancaster Music Society (ULMS) is naturally the first port of call for anyone that is interested in music: they have bands and groups in many genres such as big band, orchestras and swing and choirs. Perhaps more importantly, they have spaces available to use in the Great Hall Complex for you to practise whether you’re an experienced hand or trying your luck at something new. ULMS also has the connections to find teachers at a reasonable price or to become a music teacher for others. Moreover, they have access to all the university’s supply of musical instruments, such as drum kits, which you may not be able to bring up to Lancaster from home. This is a brilliant way to make music more accessible as all of this comes with membership rather than having to rent a space yourself or buy and lug around instruments.
It’s all well and good having the space in which to practise and the knowledge of how to play, but doing it alone or in these pre-existing ensembles might not quite bring the sound you’re after, especially if you want to join a band to write your own material. To help combat this Lancaster Indie and Alternative Music Society (LIAMS) run events to help match-make potential bandmates together: they aim to “connect the isolated bubbles of music” around Lancaster that are clearly there; I’m sure we all know someone who has a guitar sitting in their room who plays Oasis songs to procrastinate doing any real work for their course. These events are there to help find like-minded people to create with.
Not only do these student-run bodies help support the process of starting a band and getting proper rehearsal space but there are also events in place to give these new-found groups an opportunity to perform, with both ULMS and LIAMS holding regular concerts both on campus and in Lancaster. These are a great first step into performance as the atmosphere is so relaxed. The biggest live music event on campus, however, is Bailrigg FM’s Battle of the Bands; this week long competition offers the chance to win recording time in a professional studio. Alongside LA1TV’s ‘Lancaster’s Got Talent’, this means that performing and getting noticed in Lancaster are more convenient than they have been in a long time because of the city’s lack of traditional venue space.
It also makes it easier for those of us like me, who can’t sing or play anything and simply enjoy watching good, live music.