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The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is quite different to your usual place of study…

No longer will you encounter the familiar site of wonky wooden desks and unapproachable teachers. ACM offers students a new, far more independent way of studying, with facilities that can help students develop and hone their skills, and tutors that can offer invaluable advice and guidance in all different areas of the music industry.

As amazing as ACM can be for someone coming from standard education to study at a music industry education establishment, the idea of entering an environment where music plays such a prominent part in the student lifestyle can leave people worried as to how to approach the very basics of starting at college or university.

From making friends to making money, this series of articles plans to lay the worries of student lifestyle to rest and give you all the information you need to get grounded in your new lifestyle.

The series will include:

  • The 2013 Freshers Guide to ACM
  • 21 Things Freshers Should Know About Guildford
  • Making Friends, Not Breaking Funds


Foreward from ACM Alumni Martin Linch
My name’s Martin Linch, I am an ex-music business and music performance student at ACM and am currently interning for ACM’s marketing department. During my time at ACM I was lucky enough to experience many different sides of ACM and get involved in some great projects and events, both as a performer and a music business student.

I’m currently the bassist of a four piece rock/alternative band called MassMatiks, which was formed during my time at ACM with students George Peploe, Joe Turner and Josh Stagg.

Part 1 – The Freshers Guide to ACM
Your first week at a new college can be daunting, but remember, everyone is in the same position…

First Things First… Get Prepared!
Although ACM is all about great music, good fun and meeting lots of new people, you are still here to learn. Whether you are studying performance, production or business, there are certain things relevant to your course that you require in order to get the most out of your lectures from day one.

It may sound silly, but do you have enough drumsticks? Has your guitar been restrung? Do your headphones work? Do you know when and where your lectures are? Make sure you have thought through what you need and start as you mean to continue at ACM.


With the boring bit out the way, you can now concentrate on meeting as many people as you can in your first week of college, and what better way of doing it than attending any of the weeks events that have been put on especially to help new and existing students meet new people and see some of the talent ACM has to offer.

Freshers Week – 9th to 13th September

Acoustic-Open-Mic-2013Monday 9th September – Acoustic/ Open Mic Night @ The Star Inn
Doors 7.30pm, £2 ACM/ £3 Non-ACM
Facebook Event
Are you a singer songwriter? Do you like watching singer songwriters? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then make sure you come down to ACM’s acoustic/ open mic night on the 9th September and showcase your music alongside some excellent existing ACM artists including:

Bare Jams // Aimee Gould // Taygan Paxton // Freddie Mercer

ACM-Live-2013Tuesday 10th September – ACM Live Rock Night @ The Boileroom
Doors 7.30pm, £2 ACM/ £3 Non-ACM
Facebook Event
On Tuesday 10th September, four great artists that have emerged through ACM will grace the stage of The Boileroom, ‘Guildford’s alternative music venue’. ACM gigs are a great chance to make friends, meet other musicians and introduce yourself to the Industry Link team, all whilst watching some great music and having a few drinks, so make sure you get down and make the most of these nights.

Massmatiks // Dance a la Plage // The Chambers // Lit Like Vegas

ACM-Jam-Night-2013Wednesday 11th Sept – ACM Jam Night with house band ‘Free Peace’ @ The Boileroom
Doors 7.30pm – £2 ACM / £3 non
Join this event on Facebook

Just follow these four simple instructions…
Bring yourself.
Bring your instrument.
Bring your groove.

Quiz-Night-11Sept2013Wednesday 11th September – The Legendary ACM Quiz
@ Tickled Ivory
Doors 6pm

Facebook Event

The ongoing grudge between heads of schools within ACM on who has the best students seems set to finally be decided, with ACM’s legendary quiz taking place at Tickled Ivory on the 11th September. Get your team together and come and have some fun at the Tickled Ivory answering questions on all areas of the music industry.

Tutor-Night-2013Thursday 12th September – Tutor Night @ Tickled Ivory
Doors 7.30pm
Facebook Event

The Thursday of ACM Freshers Week will feature the first of many tutor performances at the Tickled Ivory that take place throughout the academic year. The first night of tutor performances will feature Brian Henry and his incredibly talented band Soul Purpose playing an eclectic mix of funk, soul and R&B. With FREE ENTRY all night, not even the excuse that you have no money will work for this one. See you all there!

Freshers-Fayre-2013Friday 13th September – Freshers Fair @ The Boileroom
10am – 3pm, FREE ENTRY
To end the week, ACM will host a Freshers Fair at The Boileroom which students can go to find out information about different companies in Guildford that offer students of ACM special discounts and offers.

Companies that will be attending include:
Andertons // Musicians Union // Kane FM // Awesome Merchandise // Livid Productions

Get Involved!
Your time at ACM will provide you with endless opportunities to gain valuable industry advice and guidance. From Mark King to Mark Bounds, make sure you utilise everything ACM has to offer in order to develop both skills in your field, but also to gain a better understanding of sectors of the music industry that you may be more unfamiliar with.

Masterclasses & Visitors
Masterclasses are one aspect of ACM where students are able to watch performances from some of the worlds leading musicians, producers and industry professionals, and partake in Q&A sessions where students are able to ask questions they may have, and receive invaluable advice from professionals in their field.

Past masterclasses include Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Roger Taylor (Queen), Mark King (Level 42), Josh Mellody (Zomboy) and loads more.

The best thing about masterclasses is they are completely FREE, so there is nothing to stop you going to every single one you are able to attend and taking everything you can out of your time at ACM.

Stay tuned for information on some more amazing masterclasses being announced in the coming months…

Tutorials are a scheme used at ACM to give students one-to-one tuition with tutors in their discipline. As informative and important as your weekly lectures are, tutorials offer a more individual style of tuition where problems or queries that you may have can be raised with a tutor of your choice.

Tutorials are limited to one 30 minute slot each week, but bookings take place two weeks prior to the day you require a tutorial for at 8am.

TOP TIP: Find a time slot that fits in well with your timetable and set an alarm for 8am two weeks before and make the alarm repeat every week so that you have a tutorial booked once a week.

Live Industry Feedback Events
Live Industry Feedback Events (LIFE) offers ACM artists a chance to perform in front of a panel of music industry experts and receive feedback on all aspects of the artist check list. From songwriting to live performance, performing in front of a selection of the industry’s finest managers, publishers, radio pluggers etc. can give advice that would be very difficult to obtain outside of the ACM environment.

TOP TIP: During your time at ACM, never turn down the opportunity to write/rehearse/record with any artist that may require your services. If you do end up playing in bands full time, always push to perform at all LIVE events throughout the year.

Industry Networking Event
Every year, ACM and the Industry Link team put on an Industry Networking Event which offers students the opportunity to network with a number of industry professionals and attempt to build up a network of contacts outside of the close-knit ACM community.

TOP TIP: The people you meet at the Industry Networking Event can be key in locating work experience and internships, receiving feedback on your music and helping you find your path in the industry. Make sure you don’t take events like these for granted. Turn up fully prepared and make the most of such a rare opportunity in the music industry.

Battle Of The Bands
The annual ACM Battle Of The Bands is an event run by the Industry Link team which aims to give ACM student artists an opportunity perform and compete for Andertons gift vouchers and studio time at a top studio in Guildford. The competition is decided on public vote so it gives all competing artists a chance to play in front of a new crowd and develop their fan base further than a usual show.

TOP TIP: APPLY TO PLAY! What harm can it do? Lots of artists apply to play the ACM Battle Of The Bands, but if you think you are ready to play a high profile gig, submit your tracks, and if you are successful, make sure you bring everyone you can down to the show to give yourselves the best chance of winning such a valuable prize.

Songwriting Competition
The ACM Songwriting Competition is another annual event that gives songwriters a chance to submit their own songs to a panel of judges who shortlist the submissions to 13 songs which are then performed acoustically at The Boileroom in front of a judge from a top music publisher.

TOP TIP: Similarly to the Battle Of The Bands, there is no harm in applying. If you write songs, why not get a recording done of your best tune and submit it to the Industry Link team and see whether you get through to the final, you could end up winning some Andertons vouchers and some studio time, so what’s the worst that can happen?

This year’s ACM Freshers Week promises to be another rip-roaring ride and we can’t wait to see and hear about your highlights. Share your photos with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the following hashtag #acmfreshers13

Tune in next week for my guide the essential but random things to what to do in Guildford!