You will never be surrounded by so many like-minded, creative people than when you are at university. Every campus boasts its own hive of young minds eager for their work to be seen by the wider world, and there is no easier time in life to pursue and gain backing for your passion than the mid-pint between childhood and adulthood. This is why every university has a unique and bustling live music scene.
From the musically dedicated societies, to the collaborative and social nature of every course, if you are a music student or just want to start a band you will definitely find someone to do it with. In the early stages of every musical career however, each band must have that stage when they have original songs, but no recordings, so the constantly active student night-life is the perfect place to have your music heard.
With the amount of events happening every night, it’s easy to take student bands for granted. There are many nights when you find yourself accidentally walking in on an open mic night or a fund raising event and end up listening to a university band, and, despite enjoying it, just think of them as a few friends jamming together in their spare time. But every great band has to start somewhere, and some of the biggest, most influential bands in history began playing together during their further education.
…began their music career whilst at university…
Queen, writers of one of the best-selling singles of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody, and creators of an impressively eclectic back catalogue, began their music career whilst at university in 1970. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor met whilst studying in London, and after recruiting art student Farrokh Bulsara, who later became Freddie Mercury, May and Taylor’s original band Smile changed to Queen. Just one year after this, and after being joined by bassist John Deacon, they recorded four original songs through a friend of May’s, who used them to demonstrate his recording studio for other potential clients, and were then subsequently signed. By 1975 the band had created four albums and Bohemian Rhapsody, which spent nine weeks in the charts. I’m sure May never expected that when he began his degree in maths and physics.
Queen formed relatively late in their university lives, but the process usually runs parallel with the process of making friends. This is how it happened for UCL-born band Pectoralz, probably better known as Starfish, but definitely best known as Coldplay.
…met during their orientation week…
Lead-singer Chris Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland couldn’t have begun any sooner, having met during their orientation week; after taking a year to form the band, they started playing small clubs in Camden and making EPs, which won them a five-album contract with Parlophone and a Glastonbury appearance, which shows how far two new friends, in the same place, with a mutual interest and plenty of time to practice can go.
The thing that strikes me most about these meetings, and this seems more common than not, is that none of the musicians were studying music, it was simply the environment they were in, surrounded by countless creative platforms, that allowed them to pursue a career that perhaps they had never thought of.
…we’re still at the point in our lives where we are learning about ourselves…
Now I’m not exactly an aspiring or experienced musician, but since being at university I have played a few open mic nights, which is something I never thought I would do. I’ve found that whether it’s friends or just other students in the audience, any form of artistic expression is welcomed with open arms, because we’re still at the point in our lives where we are learning about ourselves. The support, enthusiasm and ability to easily step out into whichever city your university is in means that even if you’re not destined to go and take the world by storm, then you can always still enjoy your night on stage and experience a small part of band life. So if your passion is drama, art, music or anything creative, there is no better time to do it than when you are living the easy life of a student.