Managing Stevie Wonder: Music mogul speaks to NCL students

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The manager of music-legend Stevie Wonder has delivered an online lecture for music students at New College Lanarkshire.

Industry veteran Keith Harris OBE, who represents Stevie Wonder and heads up UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, joined students from NQ Rock and Pop, HNC and HND Music courses on an online conference call to deliver advice and guidance for their future.

With over 45 years’ experience in the industry, working with artists including Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, Keith amazed students with tales from his own career.

The students, who are currently studying and taking part in online classes from home, took the opportunity to tell Keith about the work they have been doing during self-isolation – including their live performances streamed online and a number of guest lectures.

Lecturer Scott Cowie said: “Over the past two weeks the music staff and students have certainly been making the most of self-isolation.

“There have been various online classes and live interactive resources for the students to take part in, including a live Instagram interview with violin wizard, Nora Germain, last week.

“Live from Los Angeles, Nora spends her time performing with Sam Smith and former NCL student Lewis Capaldi, and has released various jazz solo albums.

“It’s great that we can still be providing these amazing opportunities for our students – making the most of a very strange and unique situation.

“The dedication of all our students to their studies during this time has been incredible so we are working hard to ensure we reward them with regular opportunities to hear from industry heroes and showcase their own talent and hard work.”

HNC Music student, Jessica Deegan, is currently at home in Galway but still taking part in the online classes. She said: “Even though I am nearly 400 miles away I have never felt a sense of togetherness like right now.

“We are such a close, tight-knit group but the level of support through the Instagram page and the Zoom lectures with staff and students really reminds me of what a little family we are.”

“After taking part in a student exchange trip last year, I enjoyed it so much I decided to move to Scotland – and have been so grateful for the level of support in these difficult times.

“Naturally, no one wants to be in this situation and it’s very unfortunate, but music is something that traditionally takes people away from their troubles. Talking directly to Stevie Wonder’s manager was not only breath-taking but incredibly inspirational and shows the level of music course where opportunities like that are provided to us.”

Darren Paramasivan, Curriculum and Quality Leader in the Faculty of Computing and Creative Industries, added: “During these unprecedented times, it is imperative that we keep our students engaged, interested and supported.

“Exploring and implementing current technologies and online resources allow for our students and staff to come together and try to make a positive experience out of a difficult situation for all of us.

“Our entire Music and Sound department has been innovative, adaptable and, in some ways, ingenious when engaging with our students.

“Using Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Mahara, Moodle, Facebook, Instagram and Zoom have all assisted in making our students feel less isolated.

“We have a shared record of engagement for every student enrolled within our department and continue to work closely with our partners, who refer some of our most vulnerable students.

“The team have created an ‘online timetable’ to allow for a continued structure and approach to learning and teaching, and all credit to the students who have fully engaged during these extremely difficult times.”

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