We spent the afternoon working on developing our writing skills for social media and blogging. To do this each of the students recorded a short video blog, in which they explained what they had experienced at the Maho Rasop music festival.
As part of their course they had been asked to volunteer to help sell programmes, administer the collection of wristbands, and so on. I deliberately didn’t enquire what the experience had been like, because I wanted the students to relate this in a short presentation in English.
So each student took a turn at sitting in front of a phone with an external microphone, and they recounted their experience. We then watcher them back and discussed any things that we might change or wish to develop in future recordings of this kind.
One immediate issue that became apparent was the extent to which the students are confident and able to extemporise and descriptively expand on their accounts. There was a strong focus on reporting what happened and how it happened, but less on what it felt like and how it might be interpreted and understood for the vibe and the spirit of the bands and the overall day.
So we discussed how a blog or a creative piece of writing does more than simply lay out the facts. That would be great for a reporter or journalist, who needs to account for what took place. To write about music and live events, however, there needs to be a more creative engagement with the reader, in the hope that the words convey something of the atmosphere and the feeling associated with a performance and a festival.
It is one thing to describe the sound production principles that a gig makes use of, but no one ever attended a concert because the sound engineer has a certain type of degree. We go because the sound and the form of the sound represents something that we find meaningful.
We discussed, then, how a blog can be used to build an account or set the scene of music culture and a community of artists and practitioners who live in the same zone and have the same mindset. If students of a concert engineering programme, I suggested, aren’t going to gigs and working with independent and budding music producers and event promoters, then how will they begin to get a sense of what works in practice, and what preferences different audiences have for different sound mixes, as they are tied to different music genres.
It’s good to be able to push and analyses the ideas in this way, because it means that we are digging deeper and more critically into the motivations of people who like live music. The challenge is to find the words and pain a picture with those words to make it come to life on the screen or page without using visual images.