VIP Studio Sessions

Teachers/Music leaders

Supports you in helping young people to create, produce and release music.

The teachers’ side of VIP is probably the most comprehensive resource ever produced to support the teaching of contemporary music genres. VIP is an excellent tool for KS3, BTEC and GCSE and to encourage more young people to get into music.

The online recording studio also turns every ordinary PC/Mac into a music computer and young people can use it 24/7 anywhere they can get online.

Watch the introduction video to learn more.

Yr 10 loved it! They’ve been going on about it for ages. They’ve all got computers and the internet and now they’ve got the tools to login and create music at home.

— Teacher, New Rickstones Academy

The workshops were great and the level of engagement and sense of achievement very high.

— Head of Education, The St Aubyn Centre

We’ve never had such a high amount of engagement — they were buzzing.

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Young People

VIP Studio Sessions gives you everything you need to create, produce and release your own music including an online recording studio. It’s perfect for KS3, BTEC and GCSE or just to get more into creative music.

Make Beats Watch the video

Make Beats

Learn to produce beats in styles such as Hip Hop, House, Grime, Dubstep, and more.

You’ll start from the basics of how to load up your software all the way through to finishing a track, ready to play in a club or work with a vocalist.

Video: Make Beats

Write Lyrics & Songs Watch the video

Write Lyrics & Songs

Here you’ll learn how to write lyrics and come up with song ideas.

Progressing all the way through from developing concepts, to performing live and making sure you’re ready to get in the studio.

Video: Write Lyrics & Songs

Record & Mix Watch the video

Record & Mix

Learn how to produce finished music starting from the basics of what equipment you might need and how to set up, going all the way through to how to record vocalists & musicians, how to make your tracks sound great and to get them ready for the world to hear.

Video: Record & Mix

Release & Promote Watch the video

Release & Promote

Find out how to release, promote and share your music and understand the music business. Learn the best ways to get your music heard, look at music in the modern world and get professional feedback and career advice about the music industry.

Video: Release & Promote

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Try it yourself — take a free 30-day trial

It’s probably the most comprehensive resource to support the teaching of contemporary music genres ever produced

See what it can do for your school

  • Fully-functional 30-day free trial
  • Includes online recording studio
  • No software to install

We don’t ask for any payment details. At the end of the trial you can choose to order, or simply allow the trial to expire. Subscriptions to VIP Studio Sessions cost from £295.

Online Recording Studio

A powerful online music studio with recording, effects, virtual instruments and over 700 free loops and sounds.

Soundation is a revolutionary sequencer and audio recording programme that lives entirely online, in the cloud. It works on any computer with internet access (Mac or PC) and doesn’t require any hardware setup and there are no problems making the software run.

There’s so much you can do with this online recording studio:

  • Manipulate existing audio loops (provided with the software)
  • Import audio files from your computer
  • Create new audio by recording straight into Soundation (you can use your computer’s microphone, or a USB microphone, or a more complex audio interface setup)
  • Play MIDI data straight into Soundation (a virtual instrument sound library is included)
  • Mix and add effects (reverb/EQ/compression etc)
  • Build up multi track sequences
  • Save and store your work online, or export it as a file from the web onto your hard drive

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About the author

Max Wheeler

The VIP Studio Sessions programme has been put together by leading musician and producer Max Wheeler.

Max is a musician/producer, consultant, author and youth music tutor, specialising in Rap, Urban & Electronic music, soundtracks, remixes and peer-to-peer education projects.

He has conducted over 200 workshops across the country teaching Rap, beatmaking, songwriting and production to everyone from young offenders to social workers and in primary schools, special needs projects and community groups. His work on lyric writing with young people is soon to be highlighted in a peer reviewed journal by academic Luke Dickens.

As a recording artist on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label, Max is one half of duo Anushka with over 750k plays on Soundcloud, an album and world tour in 2014 and Radio 1 plaudits from Annie Mac, Skream and others.

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VIP Studio Sessions Helps to Engage 11-14 Year olds in Music Education with Music they Know and Love

Engaging children in music education

Projects that use contemporary music genres like Hip-Hop or House Music are a great way to include all students and engage them with music from the very beginning of their time at secondary school.

To increase confidence in their music abilities from Year 7, VIP helps to create a culture where students want to continue with music studies past Year 9, and to engage students who wouldn’t normally consider themselves traditional candidates for Music GCSE.

In Castleford Academy in Wakefield, a music competition was run for their Year 7 groups to compose a track using VIP Studio Sessions in the style of House Music. The twenty best tracks were then made into a compilation CD by the school.

There’s a real buzz around the school about the competition. We’re also singing with each class and are recording a House remix of Adele’s ‘Hello’ which will feature on the CD.

The school found that group engagement was high and composing House Music made it enjoyable for students. The results were really positive and the quality of work was a lot higher than normally expected of this age group.

VIP’s tutorials break music production down to an achievable level for young people in a challenging but fun way. An impressive list of songs produced by young people using VIP can be seen on our Soundcloud page.

Thank you so much for all your efforts in getting this set up. It’s been absolutely brilliant for Year 8 and we have lots of success! I wondered if it might be possible to add my 20-strong Year 10 class? I want to do some dance music with them and I know it would be perfect!

— Elis Reed, Music Teacher, Saffron Walden County High School

Sometimes you listen to a CD and think oh they must have thousands of pounds worth of equipment and that’s not something I could create. Then actually being able to make that music yourself is quite empowering.

The young women were just as engaged as the men.

— Jessica Langley, Head of Music, James Hornsby School

This is brilliant. We never do anything like this.

I’m gonna be famous.

— Students at St Aubyns School

VIP teaches students how to compose songs by building beats, creating chords and basslines through to writing lyrics and arranging tracks, in multiple different styles of music. Click here to activate a free 30-day trial.

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VIP Studio Sessions Boosts Teachers Own Music Technology Skills with Detailed Online CPD

Monitor and speakers

VIP Studio Sessions’s dedicated Teacher Section has a large number of resources to help develop your music technology skills.

Lyric Workshops

Included in VIP are a range of resources on lyric writing, how to engage students and avoid pitfalls. The Lyric workshops can help you to get students rapping, writing lyrics, recording songs and more, as well as showing you how to achieve professional sounding results and advice on getting the music out into the world.

Music Production

Our CPD resources and tutorials help to break down how to use technology, make beats and produce whole tracks easily. With simple guides to new genres like Dubstep, they help make it easy to produce House, Hip Hop and other styles of music which are popular with young people.

Many teachers report the ease with which they themselves are able to produce examples which they can show to their classes before they begin projects.

With VIP, music production can be taught easily in the classroom at secondary level. Historically one of the hardest parts of teaching production was demystifying the ‘rules’ to make genres like Dubstep or House Music, getting them to sound ‘right’ to students. VIP breaks down music production software into digestible parts, systematically and in ways that can be replicated in the classroom.

Here’s an example of one school’s CPD sessions:

For the CPD session we looked at the use of rap lyric writing in the classroom. Areas covered included a straightforward guide to teaching rap writing, practical ways to handle issues around lyrical content and censorship, basic lesson and project plans and an overview of how to set up a studio and record raps. We also wrote a teacher rap about the stresses of marking coursework. Quotes from Staff: ‘The teacher rap? The next big hit!’

— Anthea Roue, Head of Music, New Rickstones Academy, Essex

As for my own teaching I have really appreciated the easy access to serious elements of music technology – VSTs, automation, effects, etc.

— Elis Reed, Music Teacher, Saffron Walden County High School

Another on the resources:

The tip about how to lay the rap out to fit in time with a beat has made a huge difference to the quality of the work the students are producing.

— Rosie Weatherley, Head of Music, Castleford Academy, Wakefield

To review the resources available for teachers please request a 30-day free login here.

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VIP Studio Sessions Provides Easy and Safe Access for Students In and Out of School

Child at computer

Many of our teachers tell us that their students are using VIP out of school in their own time, as part of homework or on their own initiative.

They can go home and log in, give them their VIP cards and they can create. They’ve got the tools, the literacy tools to be able to create their own raps, and understand the process behind it as well.

— Anthea Roue, Head of Music, New Rickstones Academy, Essex

Students have been so motivated to continue working on their projects at home and around the school, it has been great to see pupils so passionate!

— Elis Reed, Music Teacher, Saffron Walden County High School

Once a student is given her/his own login, they are free to access the site from anywhere with an internet connection. This encourages continuation of their musical practice at home, something which is traditionally more common with instrumental learning.

There is no additional cost for all your students to have a login. It’s all included in the cost of the school’s licence. This ensures that students for whom private music lesson costs would be prohibitive can get involved, and it expands the appeal of music to those who are more interested in contemporary genres.

The students love to be able to carry on with their compositions away from the classroom and are really excited to show the teachers their work.

We are loving VIP at Joyce Frankland Academy because it’s engaging students who didn’t believe they were “musicians”, and the lessons feel really positive. The students love it because they can create music at home and at school.

— Mark Knights, Music Teacher, Joyce Frankland Academy

My students have just started on VIP and they love it… When I told them they could access it at home they were over the moon!

— William Searl, Performing Arts Faculty Team Leader, Colchester Academy, Essex

We’re loving VIP at the James Hornsby School because students can log on outside the lesson to continue the composition they’ve started and the making a beat resources are clear to understand and make our students feel more independent when composing.

— Jessica Langley, Head of Music, James Hornsby School

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VIP Studio Sessions Simplify Assessment and Tracking of Students’ Progress

Tablet, notepad, pen

The online technology built into VIP allows students’ work to be closely monitored by teachers.

We’re loving VIP at Stewards Academy, particularly because the pupils can use it at home and teachers can monitor their progress remotely. It’s a great stepping stone to professional production software used in the industry so it helps prepare them for future opportunities. VIP is easy to use and the tutorial videos are an added bonus.

— Stuart Barden, Head of Music, Stewards Academy

As work is saved, teachers can review pupil by pupil and provide direct online feedback on each composition, which then allows the pupils to revise and improve upon their songs straight away.

Teachers can also see the times and duration spent on the site, giving a snapshot of who is using VIP and which students may need someone to one time, etc.

This technology also solves the time-consuming impracticality of digital music in schools, where work used to be saved in documents in the school’s network or on a series of memory sticks. Now teachers can log in in from anywhere to assess and track students’ progress.

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VIP Studio Sessions Supports the Planning and Running of Successful Projects

Playing electronic keyboard

VIP Studio Sessions provides direct support with schools including one-to-one telephone support to get you up and running.

When we see schools start to become active with VIP that’s when we like to get involved. We listen to batches of students’ works and feed back to the teachers and really create open dialogue with the teachers.

— Max Wheeler, VIP Content Author

Here a teacher talks about a rap project to Year 9 students:

… bearing in mind those students have got lower levels of literacy. The fact that as we went round the class each one of them had something (a rap lyric), some of them had whole sections, some of them just had a line, but they all had something which I know the English department will really appreciate.

— Anthea Roue, Head of Music, New Rickstones Academy, Essex

Here is an example of a successful Year 7 project ran at Castleford Academy:

It’s working really well in terms of motivation. I followed your advice and played them lots of brilliant examples, as well as examples where pupils hadn’t followed the tutorials and as a consequence their work didn’t sound as good. It seems to have worked as all are following the videos really well. There’s a real buzz around the school about the competition. I went into the year 7 assembly to publicise it and have put posters up all round school.

— Rosie Weatherley, Head of Music, Castleford Academy, Wakefield

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VIP Studio Sessions Supports 14-16 Year olds with their GCSE and BTEC Exams

Children taking exams

You’ve got to adapt for them or they won’t pick the subject.

— Emily Russell, Head of Music, Debden Park High School

VIP is designed with GCSE and BTEC in mind. It supports composition, gives students a way to learn the key skills needed to work with music technology, gives teachers a way to give feedback on their work, whilst also allowing the students to continue to work at home.

VIP also offers exam logins for controlled assessments and a host of real world industry know-how on subjects like finishing tracks, jobs in the music industry and releasing music online.

VIP is also building resources to support students with listening exams by providing tools that tie into key set works from exam boards including Edexcel, OCR and more.

Listen & Appraise:

VIP uses current, contemporary music to engage students with listening, and is building resources to support students with listening exams by providing tools that tie into key set works from exam boards including Edexcel, OCR and more.

Performance:

VIP helps students to record their performances, create their own high-quality backing tracks and provides advice and support on how to use technology as part of their performance. We are also working on ground-breaking resources to enable teaching in school live electronic performance with industry leading software.

Composition:

VIP really excels in this area, by opening up new ways to use technology to improve upon their coursework. VIP helps the students who want to make digital music a part of the compositions.

VIP helps to engage BTEC students, develop their skills with digital music, songwriting and technology, as well as giving them a fantastic resource of real world industry advice, interviews and resources.

— Emily Russell, Head of Music, Debden Park High School

To speak to our team about how VIP Studio Sessions is helping students with their GCSE and BTEC exams please contact us at vip@charanga.com.

For a free 30-day access to the site, please click here.

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Try it yourself — take a free 30-day trial

It’s probably the most comprehensive resource to support the teaching of contemporary music genres ever produced

See what it can do for your school

  • Fully-functional 30-day free trial
  • Includes online recording studio
  • No software to install

We don’t ask for any payment details. At the end of the trial you can choose to order, or simply allow the trial to expire. Subscriptions to VIP Studio Sessions cost from £295.

If you have any queries please get in touch


Contact Us

PLYMOUTH MUSIC EDUCATION HUB
Windsor House
Tavistock Road
Plymouth
PL6 5UF

youthmusic@plymouth.gov.uk
01752 398929

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