Music students put a new spin on an old classic

Abbie Kinney

Wintec Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts students are releasing new music singles every Friday as part of a compilation called Exposition.

Sometimes all innovation takes is putting a modern spin on an old record. That’s exactly what third year students in Wintec’s Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts degree have done for their end of year music project ‘Exposition’.

Exposition revisits an old School of Media Arts project where the best songs written by students in a commercial music paper were selected for a compilation CD called ‘Exposition’.

The project died out when CDs became defunct, but tutor Megan Rogerson-Berry's students are giving it new life by releasing the music online instead.

A key difference this time around is rather than the music tutors selecting and curating the songs, it’s the students who are leading the project.

“The third years have taken it on with great enthusiasm and they feel a sense of ownership.Tutors are working alongside rather than just directing – it's really awesome” says Rogerson-Berry.

There are seven singles in total being released every Friday through DistroKid (a music distribution platform) in the lead up to the end of year extravaganza, a performance of music and theatre from across the degree.

The music is also shared with the public on the School of Media Arts Facebook page with a short Q and A from the artist about their work.

Students from any year level of the degree were able to submit their music for selection, the criteria being they had to be original and written by the students who were in the degree from July 2020 to July 2021.

According to Rogerson-Berry, one of the reasons why Exposition is a success is because “the project is real”.

“We try keep our projects at least simulating real world context in the degree, but it’s just so much more exciting for the students when it is real, and their music is going out there into the world,” she adds.

A third-year student involved in the process, Abbie Kinney (who goes musically by the name Aneshka) is releasing music with Exposition, and she’s enjoyed the experience, especially working in the ‘family-like’ setting in the music school.

“It’s my first ever music release – two of my songs were released. The family and group atmosphere during the process of selecting music has been great. We all sat there and talked about everything and we got to know each other a bit more as well,” she says.

The selection process was a learning curve for the students, and Kinney says it helped having some ground rules set out to aid the process.

“Our rules were that the music had to be family-friendly, but we didn’t want to mute political voices for the sake of not having opinions. It was a really interesting experience,” she says.

The project uses skillsets the students have gained over the past two and a half years over their degree, including engineering and producing as well as marketing and distribution.

“I think this project has possibly been one of the most useful. This particular assessment was the first time we got exposed to the business side of things. It was a cool process,” says Kinney.

Each of the seven singles is also being arranged for an orchestra, to be played live at the Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts end of year extravaganza, something which is definitely as difficult as it sounds according to Kinney.

 “I picked the hardest song for an orchestral arrangement, called ‘Infesting’, because I’m singing on it and I wrote the lyrics. It’s a hardstyle song which is like electronic dance music. Trying to turn dance drops into cello and horns is something else, but it sounds really cool,” she says.

“There are straightforward things like the vocal melody – that can be really easily put into music and notes. But certain things you have to take a bit of creative license with.”

Joining in the mammoth task of arranging the music are tutors and previous graduates of the programme, and one of the graduates who has a particular penchant for orchestral arrangements is earmarked to potentially conduct the orchestra.

The showcase is planned for 8pm, Thursday 18 November, at The Meteor, Hamilton, alert levels permitting.  If not, it may be postponed until Wintec’s graduation ceremonies planned March 2022.

Check out the singles released so far on the Wintec School of Media Arts Facebook page.

Find out more about studying a Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts at Wintec.