Are you considering joining us at Wisseloord Academy next semester? The first group of students is well on it’s way to get the most out of their experience at Wisseloord Academy, while CEO Malik Berrabah is starting to make arrangements for a new group of students to join in January of 2021. We had a conversation with Malik about what new students can expect and the vision of the Wisseloord Academy.
Malik Berrabah is a French music producer who completed his education at the conservatorium when he was just twelve years old, finishing his masters at fifteen. He’s been making music all his life and was mostly working as a producer of pop music when life brought him to the Netherlands where he came in contact with the Wisseloord Studios. When Mallik first came to the studio’s it was just that, studio’s where musicians could record their music. But he instantly had a vision, that is slowly coming to life.
“When I rented a space here to work and record music, the owners of Wisseloord asked me what I thought of the place. To me it was clear that just a music recording studio was not enough for the future of Wisseloord. I shared my vision of Wisseloord being a music hub and slowly got involved, at first the focus was to get the writing sessions and content production going. This is an organic process that takes time, so this year we had the time to actually get another part of my vision come to life, which is the Wisseloord Academy.”
What is the Wisseloord Academy?
The Wisseloord Academy is a new academy for individuals who want to learn how to write, sing or produce music and know how to handle the business side of making music. The academy is located at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, The Netherlands.
“We are very focused on practicing music, of course we also give theoretical lessons but not as much as for example a conservatorium. Whenever we teach theory, the students directly put it to practice.”
Students following the full program get twelve hours of class each week, three lessons of four hours each: creative lessons, business and career coaching, and lessons in production, recording and engineering. Currently 10 teachers from the music industry have a recurring role in the lessons and every other week a guest lecturer gives a masterclass about his or her expertise.
Lessons, master classes and networking
The music industry is much more than making and producing music. Of course students learn to write music, rap or how to record in high quality. But the business aspect and building your network is just as important. That’s why the lessons alternate between creative, technical and business lessons but also why master classes by industry professionals are part of the program, teaching about rights, publishing, events or branding.
“Teachers and guest lecturers are producers, guitarists, singers, songwriters but also representatives, marketeers and publishers from companies such as BMG and Universal. With their experience from the industry they inspire, teach and coach the students.”
These industry professionals not only teach students another aspect of the music industry, but also offer them networking opportunities. Wisseloord Academy is not just a music academy, but a place to connect students with the industry and vice versa.
“A network is extremely important within the music industry. You are hired by a company or producer because they know you or because of who you know, not because a piece of paper or your cv.”
Personalized learning route into the music industry
Each student at Wisseloord follows a personal route to their life in the industry. Of course, some themes and main points of the lessons are set, but what happens in the studio’s depends completely on what each student wants and brings to the mix.
“Each lesson is different. For each class I make groups of four to five students, for example one being a guitarist another making beats and yet another one is a singer. That class they will work together on a focuspoint, but each with their own goals in mind. The teachers share their experience and steer the students. Therefore, each lesson and each outcome is different.”
Students have very different entry levels, some are great in writing music but don’t know about the technical aspect while another has been producing music for years but wants to learn about songwriting. Each student has his or her own goals, the teachers at Wisseloord are there to teach and guide them in whatever way they need to achieve that goal.
Personal development, exams and coaching
Wisseloord Academy not only focusses on musical development of students, probably half of the work is emotional and personal development. The teachers are also coaches. It’s one thing to make music, and another to know what kind of music you want to make and be honest with yourself, is your goal achievable?
“Music is feeling. We really get to know the students and connect with them, so we can also emotionally guide them.”
After every ten weeks there is an exam, students present themselves and their music. It’s a moment to reflect on progress and development of the past weeks and set goals for the next ten weeks.
The future of Wisseloord Academy
Soon the academy will welcome a new group of students. Each potential new student first meets Malik, to talk about past experiences, goals and ideas to really figure out what the academy has to offer for each student. When asked why he does what he does, Malik said the following:
“This is what I do. It’s my passion, and I don’t think many people can do it the way I do. Really tuning into people, getting to know them, be their coach and mirror. But, it’s who I am. And in three years I hope to see a campus at Wisseloord with a hundred students getting ready for the music industry.”