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Students jump in deep end of the music industry

Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand (MAINZ) students will get a taste of the real-world music industry when the entire organisation comes together this month for Collab Week to release an album in just five days.

MAINZ Programme Manager Kingsley Melhuish says the collaborative weeklong project takes students out of the classroom and into rehearsal rooms and studios to produce music. All the while they are placed under pressure racing the clock and checking egos at the door, says Melhuish.

“We want to encourage those collaborative skills that are essential to working in the music industry. You can’t work in isolation, particularly here in New Zealand. You need to be able to draw on all the resources you have and create the best end result,” he says.

The students are bundled into random teams across departments and levels tasked with writing, recording and mixing music tracks. There is a set budget with each classroom, rehearsal space and studios costed out at an hourly rate including the students themselves who can be hired to perform for other teams as session players, in turn increasing their own budget to spend as required. The music tracks are then mastered and released on MAINZmixtape with students also performing live at the end of the week at MAINZstage.

Melhuish says it’s a ‘hot-housing of creativity’ that seeks to get students to work with each other and develop essential work skills. ‘It can be stressful but there is a lot for the students to learn, mostly learning to working with each other. We tell them to look around at their class because this is the industry of tomorrow.’

He says with new developments in technology, it’s increasingly easy for creatives to work autonomously. They can produce music from home but believe there are limits to this isolated approach . ‘Collab Week is about reaching across the industries and encouraging that essential skill of networking with colleagues; drawing on the best of everyone around you with the hope of creating a really great outcome.’

MAINZ Collab Week kicks off May 21 and culminates in the release of the students’ music at MAINZstage (an all ages free gig in the MAINZ auditorium) on the Friday 6pm, May 25. Prizes will be awarded for outstanding contributions.

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