Tileyard North Education

Inside Tileyard North: Part Two – The Education Eco-System

The first phase of Tileyard North’s launch will be spearheaded by Tileyard Education. Built on the sturdy foundations established at the original site, TYE’s industry-oriented postgraduate courses will allow students to get hands-on experience inside the thriving and ever-growing Tileyard eco-system…

While at first glance, some might incorrectly perceive the new Tileyard North site as merely a stable of swanky office spaces and studios, the integration of Tileyard Education makes Wakefield’s new creative industries hub a far more welcoming and connected space. Those looking to get a foothold within the music industry are able to study side-by-side with the very labels, producers and management companies that they aim to one day work for.

Bringing Tileyard Education – already a massive part of the original site’s landscape – into Tileyard North has been carefully overseen by the Head of Tileyard Education, Harry Leckstein. Education will have its own designated building (now nearing the final stages of completion), as well as access to the raft of studios that will be part of the TYX membership. We asked Harry what those initial courses were likely to encompass “We’ll mirror our ‘hero’ courses at North” Harry explains, “Commercial Songwriting, Music Production and I’m thinking Music Business. We are also in the process of validating a new program in cert 18 bracket that will equip students with the skills they need to manage the back end of stuff, which is the glue that holds these businesses together.”

STAFF ROOM

Though being part of a bustling community is enough to set Tileyard Education apart from many of its more isolated rivals, Harry details to us that this ‘plugged-in’ philosophy extends to within the classroom itself. With three core USPs; “The first USP is that you’re taught by professionals as opposed to professional teachers (not to disparage professional teachers at all!) but the people who are pro at what they do that come in and lift the lid on their processes. We have producers and engineers for people like Mark Ronson and Noel Gallagher, and we take apart tracks using a DAW. So students can see all the intricacies of how they got a certain sound, and how a commercially released song was put together, by the people who did it. That’s real gold dust.”

The second USP, in Harry’s mind, is Tileyard Education’s engagement with live commercial briefs; “There’s anywhere between 50 to 100 live commercial song briefs in and around the Tileyard community.” Leckstein tells us, “Sometimes it’s emails that come to people from labels and publishers. So these live briefs are active real-world requests for commercial music compositions, sound beds and so forth.”

Harry Leckstein
Harry Leckstein, Head of Tileyard Education

Harry explains that these briefs could span five-ten second melodies for advertising agencies, or fully blown-chart-aimed pop productions. “All our students and our alumni work to these live commercial briefs. It’s something a lot of other institutions can’t get their hands on. I’ve spoken to lots of people who’ve taught at other institutions, and you might get old briefs that are (by that point) unable to be sent off and actually used. Our students are potentially getting paid for their work, learning about the jobbing income of a commercial writer/producer/artist. We’re getting people working in the industry straight away. That’s a very key USP.”

The third pillar of Tileyard Education is perhaps the most attractive, and it’s the fact that every single one of its students gets assigned a professional mentor who works within the industry. Students meet them one-on-one on a monthly basis. “We’ve got so many good people who want to give something back.” Harry explains, “It’s a 45 minutes or so, once-a-month catch up session which isn’t a big ask of the mentors, but it’s so valuable to the mentee. We always tell our mentees to ask their mentors what you can do for them – Help with organising their week, or help with their socials or things like that, just getting more plugged in to a professional’s world.”

A NEW HOME

Within the Tileyard Education space, will be class and lecture rooms, writing rooms, study areas and more, while the studios – free for use by Education students – will be housed over in the nearby block where TYX will be based. This encourages students to not move around the site, and not spend all their time within the campus block. Students have the opportunity to be in that block and engage more with the main community.” Says Harry, “Then of course our Business students will definitely have the opportunity to put on events in the courtyard and the new event spaces.”

Tileyard North Courtyard
A rendering of how Tileyard North’s central courtyard will appear when completed

A major beacon of Wakefield’s musical clout, the multi-venue Long Division festival has shone a spotlight on the area’s best grassroots artists, as well as inviting such luminaries as The Cribs, Billy Bragg and Asian Dub Foundation to headline. It’s also something which Harry has forged a close bond, hoping to plug the students into Long Division’s network of venues, and, in exchange, inviting more of Wakefield’s music scene into the Tileyard fold. “What’s brilliant about the way everything works in London is this seamless integration with the wider community.” Enthuses Harry, “You don’t just have students wearing a lanyard and left in one building, never seeing anyone else, it’s all really integrated. We’re definitely going to replicate that in the north.”

BAND CAMP

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, Tileyard Education began running online songwriting camps for its students who were then working remotely. Though 2020 was its inaugural year, these songwriting camps proved exceptionally rewarding for those involved. “There were 14 people on it, and it’s the only camp that we’ve ever done, physical or online, where we had 100% cut rate. So all 14 people got some sort of cut for their songs.” Harry tells us. “That’s people in different rooms all over the world, getting online for four days and writing to brief. Yet there was a 100% strike rate.”

Tileyard Education
Tileyard Education’s new classrooms are nearing completion, as we discovered on a recent visit…

These online songwriting camps also provide a solid opportunity for Tileyard North’s cohort co connect with those based in London. “All our MA songwriting and production students had three to four days of songwriting camps built into the program. There’a sort of icebreaker one in the second week where students can just get to meet people and get thrown in the deep end. With those things happening at the same time in Wakefield from 2023 onward, there’s more chance to mix and match, and for North students to collaborate with London students. So that’s pretty key.”

Songwriting camps could also prove to be the route in which the local education community can engage with Tileyard. Harry hopes that a new creative songwriting work experience program could attract the interest of Wakefield’s musically-leaning students. “We’ve basically reached out to a bunch of colleges and schools there. There’s a provision for schools to do a certain amount of off-site work experience hours. So we have a creative songwriting camp work experience program, so a school can come down and take a whole building with 20 to 30 of their students, and over the course of three or four days they’ll have a real-world songwriting camp experience with a workshop and live briefs. They’ll learn how to be commercial songwriter/producers. We’re quite excited about that.”

A WAKEFIELD WELCOME FOR TILEYARD EDUCATION

Though the first academic year is scheduled to begin in September of next year, Harry is keen to emphasise that a series of free-to-access open evenings will be taking place over the next 12 months, allowing people the chance to view the spaces, meet the swelling number of tutors and network with those set to play a key role in Tileyard’s growth.

Looking beyond the 2023 course kickoff, Harry foresees Tileyard Education growing into ultimate academic pathway for north-based creatives. “I hope it brings more opportunity for those aspiring to a career in the creative industries.” Harry tells us, “To connect in a more practical, industry-connected way. That’s what we bring to the table, approaching education in the same way as apprenticeships in some respects. We’re approaching higher education with an industry-led, career-focused approach. I think that’s really exciting. A student can land a cut while they’re studying – and they’ve effectively begun their career. That ability to start and develop your career while studying makes us stand out.”

Inside Tileyard North: Part One –Waking the Mill