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The WaterBear Story

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Our History

WaterBear – The College of Music was founded by music education pioneers Adam Bushell and Bruce John Dickinson. Together they each have more than 30 years’ experience in professional music and 25 years at the highest level of music education. Their relentless dedication to supporting musicians and artists is focused on building sustainable long-term careers.

The music industry has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Far from being a bad thing, musical output has thrived in that time. While the established industry model has been totally re-invented by young entrepreneurs, music makers have continued to do what they love – create! Even through the recent pandemic, music creation prospered. New, innovative models to make and consume music have emerged and changed the way we do things yet again. If there’s one thing recent events have shown us, it’s that music will survive anything.

There now exists a new, global community of independent, DIY musicians, artists and industry professionals, able to connect with an audience and remain in full control of their career, all the way to stadium level and beyond. There has never been a better time for young musicians to take control of their careers and build an audience. New and exciting ways of making music have emerged, allowing interesting and diverse careers to be constructed within the glorious world of music making.

Just as the music industry has completely transformed, so music education must do the same. The industry demands adaptable professionals and creative thinkers. Here at WaterBear, we give you the capabilities and know-how to think and work outside the box; we celebrate the individual, the unique and the ground-breaking.

“Be the change you want to see in the world’ is one of my favourite quotes and something I’m trying to live by. If we can look at music and culture in the same way, people won’t be told ‘no you can’t do that’, they’ll chase bigger dreams and be free to express themselves how they want. The arts can be the most powerful vehicle for change and should be respected as such.”
Jamal Edwards MBE (24 August 1990 – 20 February 2022) 
a British entrepreneur, author, director, DJ and founder of SBTV

Why Study at WaterBear?

The DIY ethos

WaterBear is all about the independent, DIY artist, who wants to take full control of their music and their life. We promote a culture of self-belief and determination, with a commitment to high-quality musical output, all of which are keys to success and fundamental to the WaterBear experience. We keep student numbers to a manageable level at WaterBear – there’ll be around 500 students on our courses come September 2022. That means we can keep the focus on each individual and offer the best work experience and career development opportunities for all. Think of WaterBear as the cool indie label, not the corporate major. 

Smaller class sizes

You won’t find big classrooms or lecture halls here. We keep class sizes limited to smaller groups, something we believe is vital for high quality learning. Typical class sizes range from 6 – 15. Tutors can therefore spend more time with each person, focussing on personal strengths, development and individual learning styles. There’s more time to address each person’s individual needs in these environments, providing a safe space to question, discuss, experiment and learn.

1-1 Mentoring

Our unique one-to-one mentoring programme is a key part of the WaterBear experience. It’s designed to drive specific skills development. You cover anything across a wide range of subject areas, from instrumental and vocal coaching to audio production, career planning and artist development – it’s up to you what you decide to focus on. All students receive their 1-1 mentoring time with high-level industry professionals. Your mentoring sessions will help you to focus on those areas that need extra attention, or that you have a specific interest in.

Run by Professional Musicians

WaterBear founders, senior staff, tutors and mentors have all had successful careers and high-level experience in the music industry. We are a college filled with professional musicians and creatives actively working across many areas of the industry. This not only brings real-world context and experience to the curriculum, but also creates a network of like-minded musicians and creatives, all with lived experiences of a life in music. This is something that continually motivates and inspires our students. It also means we have a huge network of professional contacts through which to generate more student work and career opportunities.

Work and Careers

The music industry is all about making solid contacts and collaboration, something that’s essential for starting and maintaining your career in music. Through our network, our students get regular work experience opportunities. These range from festivals, touring, recording, session work, record labels, publishing, PR and marketing campaigns, to live event management, backline, tech’ing, musical instrument manufacturers, teaching, studio internships, and much more. As well as iconic industry brands, WaterBear also works with some of the UK’s coolest festivals and conferences that support new music, including ArcTanGent, Breaking Bands, Elderflower Fields, Hard Rock Hell, Ramblin’ Man, The Great Escape, Black Deer, and many others.

Flexible Learning

All WaterBear course content is available 24/7 for everyone regardless of whether you are studying on-site or fully online. If you’re studying an on-site course but can’t get to college for some reason, that’s not a problem. With WiFi and a laptop, you can log into the WaterBear VLE and keep up to date with your course and in contact with the WaterBear community. This unique approach allows you to fit study around your life – not the other way around, which is particularly important for today’s musicians.

Prospectus

Want to know about our BA (Hons) music degree and master’s courses in more detail? The latest WaterBear Prospectus is available to order. Just fill out the form and we’ll get one sent to you.

Our Courses

Our BA (Hons) music degree courses can be studied on site, or fully online via distance learning. Blended learning options are also available on our master’s programmes. All courses are approved and awarded by Falmouth University.

BA (Hons) Professional Music (Performance)

(3 years, on-site)

Starting Sept 2024

The degree course for today’s independent, self-motivated musicians.

BA (Hons) Professional Music (Production)

(3 years, on-site)

Starting Sept 2024

The degree course for serious music producers.

BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting)

(3 years, on-site)

Starting Sept 2024

The degree course for today’s independent, self-motivated artists.

WaterBear x Ditto BA (Hons) Professional Music (Business)

(3 years, on-site)

Starting Sept 2024

The degree course for music lovers with a head for business.

BA (Hons) Professional Music (Electronic Music)

(3 years, on-site)

Starting Sept 2024

The degree course for electronic music producers and DJs.

BA (Hons) Creative Music Production

(2 years, online)

Starting Sept 2024

The flexible, online degree course for today’s independent, self-motivated music producers and artists.

BA (Hons) Songwriting & Music Performance

(2 years, online)

Starting Sept 2024

The flexible, online degree course for today’s independent, self-motivated musicians.

MA Music Performance, Production & Business

(1-year, full time)

Starting Sept 2024

For music degree graduates who want to take their music to the next level.

MA Songwriting

(1-year, full time)

Starting Sept 2024 (Sheffield 2025)

For music professionals wanting to amplify their music projects and careers.

MA Music Business

(1-year, full time)

Starting Sept 2024

For music professionals wanting to amplify their music projects and careers.

BA (Hons) Professional Music with Integrated Foundation Year*

(4 years, on-site) *Subject to approval

Starting Sept 2024

The Integrated Foundation Year at WaterBear is designed as an introductory year prior to transitioning into your specialist BA (Hons) Professional Music course.

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Why We're WaterBear...

- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

WaterBear Education Ltd, Hanover House,
118 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG, UK  Map

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 726230

WaterBear Sheffield, Unit 4, Gatecrasher,
49 Eyre Lane, Sheffield S1 4RB, UK

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1143 992720

WaterBear Education Ltd, Hanover House,
118 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG, UK  Map

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 726230

WaterBear Sheffield, Unit 4, Gatecrasher,
49 Eyre Lane, Sheffield S1 4RB, UK

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1143 992720

Why We're WaterBear...

- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

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