Events Guest Lecture

Mercury Prize nominee Dave Okumu gives guest lecture

Mercury Prize nominee Dave Okumu has given a guest lecture to Music students from New College Lanarkshire.

The internationally-recognised musician, songwriter, producer, band leader and music director spoke about working with artists such as Adele, Grace Jones, Jessie Ware, Arlo Parks and Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien.

Dave, who was nominated for a Mercury Prize as part of the critically acclaimed band The Invisible in 2009, recalled his time as a student in Scotland and working on as-yet unreleased material with Adele.

(Photo credit: Phil Sharp)

During the guest lecture, he was asked questions about his early career, his proudest achievements, his current projects, and the changing way that music is consumed.

He said: “It’s wonderful that you guys are pursuing your passion and your interests and if you work hard at that, and keep developing, that energy creates opportunities and it draws people to you.

“If you engender positivity towards yourself and your work, and you’re in touch with what you are inspired by, and you work hard at it, and you seek to connect with like-minded people, wild things happen – the most unexpected and inspiring things.

“If there’s anything that I’d want to convey it’s the importance of relationships alongside investing in yourself.”

Born in Vienna to Kenyan parents and ultimately settling in London via Edinburgh and Paris, Dave Okumu has also collaborated, performed or recorded with Paloma Faith, Amy Winehouse, Yoko Ono and Beck.

He was awarded with an Honorary Fellowship of Goldsmiths, University of London in June 2018 in recognition of his achievements and contributions to music.

Dave added: “By the time I left school I knew that I would be playing music even if I had to flip burgers for the rest of my life. It was like breathing.

“I studied French and Politics at Edinburgh and my music career had already started at that point, but I was just reacting to opportunities.

“It was a very personal choice for me: I supported myself through doing my degree by playing music, and at points getting frustrated because I would be asked to go on tour with my favourite band but I couldn’t because I had an exam or something.

“I always remembered what my guitar teacher had said to me; that these opportunities would come around again.

“I’m really glad I completed my degree. It was an amazing and at times challenging experience. I fell in love with Scotland. It was a very special time.”

The online lecture, on the theme of ‘Life in Music’, was attended by 48 students and five staff members, was organised by Creative Industries lecturer Bertie Fritsch.

Bertie said: “I thought the session with Dave Okumu was inspiring and informative with all questions from staff and students being discussed in an intuitive and positive way.

“Dave shared some very useful insights into developing a career in the music industry.

“He enjoyed the session so much that he said he would like to visit us in person in the future when the pandemic is over.”

Music and Music Business students from New College Lanarkshire have enjoyed a series of lectures from well-known industry figures recently, including Stevie Wonder’s manager Keith Harris, violin wizard Nora Germain, and Ivor Novello-winning songwriter Eliot Kennedy.

For more information on Dave Okumu, please visit his website.

Read more about our range of courses in Music and Sound Production:

Music and Music Business courses


Check one, two… Sound Production team at the ready!

As a wholly unique academic year draws to a close for the students and staff of New College Lanarkshire’s Sound Production department, the team are hard at work evolving courses and content to embrace a blended learning approach going forward after the summer break should it be required. The Covid situation meant a swift transition for everyone with lessons migrating online earlier in the year and now based on these experiences, along with some fresh and dynamic ideas, they feel confident that both new and returning students will reap the benefits whatever the situation is come August 2020.

With social distancing set to remain in some form for the forseeable, the health, safety and wellbeing of learners and staff will be foremost in any decision making taken by the department. Reduced class sizes, on and off campus activity including supporting some of the venues facing hardship due to the lockdown, as well as various forms of online delivery/learning, are all measures that could still be adopted with students also expected to play their part in engaging and shaping any new course delivery format.

When asked to outline the effect that the pandemic situation had had on the Sound Production department, course lecturer David Burnett said, “One of the highlights of moving subjects online this year was the opportunity to trial some new delivery methods, approaches and software. Another positive aspect was the chance to bring in a host of guest lecturers from diverse areas of sound production to speak directly with the students about their own industry experiences, giving learners the opportunity to ask a range of questions and to seek advice on how they themselves might be able to establish careers within the creative industries. Encouragingly, this also included several former students, now actively engaged in various areas of sound production, thus emphasising the potential avenues for those currently studying Sound Production at New College Lanarkshire.”

The team streamed presentations from Martin Ballesta from Last Punch Mastering who outlined his approach to this dark art of the production process, Glasgow based live engineer and tour manager Dougie Laing who shared his experiences of working on the road with an ecclectic collection of artists ranging from The Dead Kennedys, Aidan Moffat and Martha & the Vandellas (to name but a very, very few!), former student Thomas Dornan now a Production Sound engineer getting his big break working on last year’s award winning feature 1917 and finally Kieran Greig another former student who provided students with an insight into his work at the prestigous sample library and virtual instrument company 8Dio.

Due to the success of these online events, students can expect many more guest lectures when classes return after the summer. The importance of cross departmental collaborations has also been further established in recent years with New College Lanarkshire offering courses in many disciplines that often come together for some ambitous and exciting projects. Along with Music Business and Performance (at NCL’s Coatbridge & Motherwell campuses respectively), the Sound Production team also work closely with their fellow campus colleagues in the Film & Television department for some post production projects, highlighting the wealth of experience and talent students can draw from for course and portfolio work.

The new academic year kicks off in August and whatever the challenges faced at that time, the department feels ready to go!


Important Student Update


Dear Student,

I hope that each of you are keeping in good health and coping with the current lockdown. In addition to this, I appreciate and understand the added anxiety some of you may have regarding the achievement of your current course. 

In line with SQA guidelines (,

Coronavirus support – Students and staff at FE colleges – SQAWhere it has not been possible to complete the Graded Unit (for example, you have no access to necessary resources or equipment due to the lock-down), college staff will use any Graded Unit work completed to date, plus a range of other assessment evidence, to predict and award a grade where it is possible to do

your experienced lecturers will review all the available assessment evidence already submitted and assess whether you have met the course aims. Using this evidence, and their knowledge of your engagement and progress, your lecturers will determine your result based on your performance to date. 

To allow lecturers to make a valid and precise decision (especially for those progressing to courses with limited spaces), they may request some further engagement during the lockdown period. Where this is the case, I would highly encourage you to fully engage if you can. If this isn’t possible, you must still inform them and alternative arrangements will be made on a case-to-case basis. By continuing to engage, you will ensure that there is comprehensive evidence available for your lecturers to refer to when they decide on a final result for you.

For HN Students, all of the above will help your lecturers to determine the outcome of your course and your overall grade for your Graded Unit. 

For NC/NQ Students, all of the above will help your lecturers to determine the outcome of your course as a whole.

These procedures have been carefully designed and discussed within the course teams to SUPPORT YOU and no student should be feeling anxious of this process. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this email please do not hesitate to contact your lecturers or, if you wish, respond directly to me. Please include your full name, student number and current course in all communication.

Kind Regards

Darren Paramasivan

Curriculum and Quality Leader:  Music and Sound Production

Events News

Question Session 2020

This year’s Question Session is due to take place once again on Saturday 8th February at The Lighthouse in Glasgow and promises to further enhance it’s reputation as an essential mainstay event in Scotland’s creative industries calendar. The schedule for Question Session 2020 looks as exciting as ever with a fantastic array of guests, workshops, performances and of course networking opportunities.

Launched in 2016, Question Session is committed to educating people about the music industries. Through an online educational portal, news and reviews blog and a comprehensive music conference, Question Session encourages learning, development and networking.

Each event allows attendees to collectively engage in a range of activities delivered by industry practitioners. Through discussions, exercises and practical training, participants can raise questions, debate and demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have learned. Question Session promotes inclusion and has initiated change by ensuring that each conference line-up demonstrates a 50:50 gender balance. In addition, the content exhibits accessibility, giving everyone a platform for discourse and an opportunity to learn and progress.

It is free to enter, with sessions and activities commencing at 10 am and finishing at 5pm.​


Creative Sound Production 2020

The new year see’s the launch of a full range of Sound Production courses at New College Lanarkshire, catering for every qualification level from entry to National & Higher National through to degree. These comprehensive courses offer learners the perfect opportunity to attain the requisite skill set associated with being a modern sound engineer operating within the creative industries covering a range of disciplines including; studio recording, post production for film & TV, live sound engineering, synthesis and sampling, location recording, game audio, format mastering and much more.

Students are taught in a professional environment utilising state of the art facilities whilst receiving training from experienced lecturers with a diverse range of backgrounds, all of whom are able to share their knowledge and guidance whilst navigating course content. There are a range of extra curricular opportunities and self generated projects all designed to further enhance the training and learning of students by providing real life industry experience, engaging with artists and clients, event production and management, class/solo visits to industry partners etc.

The college facilities are put at the disposal of students who are given the opportunity to  hire a full range of sound production equipment with the department also operating an evening studio booking system for recording bands or even just for some extra hands on time outwith normal college hours. Check out the full range of courses available and application details on the college website HERE