Red Bull Music Academy: Finally making it down under in 2006

Anyone who has been to a lecture knows that the talk can often be so boring that you are forced to listen to your mp3 player for mental stimulation instead. Fortunately, each year The Red Bull Music Academy gives 60 music lovers, from over 30 countries, the opportunity to listen to entertaining lectures by leading international dance and electronic DJs, producers and musicians.

The Red Bull Music Academy was created in Germany by Many Ameri, Torsten Schmidt and Christopher Romberg. The last nine years has seen the academy travel to the beautiful cities of Berlin, Dublin, New York, London, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Rome and Seattle.  Sydney DJ, Lorna Clarkson, explains that the dance community’s support for Red Bull, led to the energy drink company wanting to provide the community with an enduring contribution. “Thankfully they [Red Bull] approached a man with vision, Many Ameri, who came up with the concept of a music academy. A place that would not only help foster new ideas and growth in the local music scene, but would also help explore the cultural and creative differences between music communities from across the world,” Clarkson said.

This year the academy will finally be held in Melbourne, Australia. “The fact that it is coming to Australia now is a great coup for our creative communities, especially Melbourne. Many, Christopher and Torsten put a lot of consideration into where the academy is best placed that particular year, taking into account the mutual impact the academy and the local music culture will have on each other,” Clarkson said. Clarkson believes that each Red Bull Music Academy is unpredictable because of the different people involved. “The 60 participants, the 40 lecturers, the performers, the production tutors, the architects of the space, the visual artists, the staff, even the general public that come to the gigs. No two Academies are ever the same, because what else can come of the interaction of a continually changing mix of creative souls, but a totally unique experience each time,” Clarkson said.

Clarkson strongly believes that you must have a genuine passion for music if you are thinking about applying for the academy. “It is less to do with what music you like, and more to do with how motivated and involved you are within your music scene – be it creating music, djing music, performing music, as well as putting on parties, running record labels, producing or presenting radio shows, et cetera. You can be doing one or all of these things, but you have to have that the sort of passion and open mind that drives you to want to do and see and learn and experience more!,” Clarkson said.

You must be aged 18 and over if you are interested in applying for the Red Bull Music Academy. Applying for the academy is simple. You must fill out an application form from The Red Bull Music Academy website, include a current photo of yourself and create your own Mix-CD. Clarkson explains that each application and audio submission is reviewed by journalists, label owners, producers and other music business representatives. “Each application is seen and heard by at least three people so there is no risk of being overlooked due to that individual’s personal taste. Basically they look at talent, personality, attitude, music style, and then determine what the right mix of individuals might be for that group,” Clarkson said. Most importantly, you do not have to drink Red Bull to apply. Unsuccessful applicants from past years are encouraged to re-apply, as determination can possibly give you a second chance.

If you are a successful applicant you can choose between Melbourne’s two workshops: Term One (September 24 – Oct 6, 2006) and Term Two (October 15 – October  27, 2006). The Red Bull Music Academy is a free two-week program and also covers the costs associated with your flight and accommodation. Multicultural Melbourne will surely be the perfect backdrop for socialising and exchanging knowledge and ideas, about the current dance scene with culturally and musically diverse DJs, producers and musicians. The academy loves surprises and Clarkson confirms that the internationally acclaimed lecturers will only be announced once the academy begins.

Seattle’s guest lecturers included: Larry Heard, Leon Ware, Jeremy Harding, Hank Shocklee and Biz Markie. The motivating lectures give students insight into the music industry through personal stories and listening to some funky music. Clarkson believes that a student can learn as little or as much as they want at the Red Bull Music Academy. “There is no lesson plan or tests or curriculum. The academy is an opportunity to access the history, the talent, the knowledge and the skills of people who have in their own way succeeded in their own particular area of music. And, although for some this means financial success or fame, with others it is the success of breaking boundaries, revolutionizing technology, ideas or cultures. And, what is quickly realized during the two weeks, is that the lecturers and tutors gain as much inspiration and are enlightened to as many new ideas as the participants,” she said.

Imagine spending your days learning about music history, production, technology and business in a relaxed and friendly environment. You are also provided with production studios full of modern DJ equipment, musical instruments and production software to improve your skills. You can web cast your own tracks through the academy’s RBMA Radio.  “Whoever makes the music, owns the music. Red Bull doesn’t own copyright on anything that is made at the academy, so anything created there can be released (or not) by whoever was involved in writing and performing it,” Clarkson enthusiastically said. Visualise spending your nights creating and performing innovative music with your new talented mates while experiencing Melbourne’s unique dance and electronic music culture.

The Red Bull Music Academy has inspired many Australian dance and electronic musicians and producers. If you are an aspiring DJ or producer, then the academy’s jam-packed program will surely give you a once in a lifetime experience. “You are introduced to a huge network of people who are all trying to do what you are in their respective countries around the world … You are given access to people that can act as mentors …  How you use all these opportunities is down to you,” Clarkson said.

Free Red Bull Music Academy information sessions with Tony Nwachukwu (UK – Attica Blues/NEPA/[email protected] People) take place this week in Sydney and Melbourne:

Sydney, Wed May 17th – 7pm, Dimitri’s Bar
Level 1, 358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
RSVP: [email protected]

Melbourne, Thu May 18th – 6pm, Central Station Records
2 Somerset Place, Melbourne
RSVP: [email protected]cacademy.com

Applications for the Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne close on June 3rd 2006. For more information, visit http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com.