Rocking The School
NCN(New College Nottingham) probably rocked the academic world(perhaps literally) when it engineered an actual full/part-time degree course in Heavy Metal under its Academy of Music & Performance. The first in the UK, and probably of its kind. And just like any other controversy, it has its own fans, curious onlookers and of course, critics. Except this time, it will have students and then, 2-3 years later, graduates.
“In the past, heavy metal has not been taken seriously and is seen as lacking academic credibility when compared with other genres such as jazz and classical music. But that’s just a cultural construction.”-Liam Maloy tells BBC
Liam Maloy, a music lecturer in the college told BBC he spent 7 months developing the course. And since it is an actual degree he plans it to be “academically rigorous”. The two-year course plan has been laid out, though the 1st intake is in September. The pioneer batch. Among the topics of study would be heavy metal’s history, religious & philosophical influence, its place in the music industry & culture. And then we have the basics of playing the instruments & composing some metal.
There’s going to be a very high chance our college rockers might just get to bump fists with say, Metallica or Iron Maiden, no?(via fotolog.com)
But the voice of campaigners echo:
“There are too many degrees being offered that lack credibility in the marketplace. I suspect that may be the case with this course, unless you want to be a heavy metal star, in which case why would you need a degree in the subject? It might seem an attractive, easy option to some people. But you don’t need to do a degree in heavy metal. It’s a waste of time.”-Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education
So that message was very blunt & direct. This degree gets you nowhere, and the 3 years are not worth it. But then we look back and realize that the genre itself has been hit by critics throughout its history. Not everyone fancied dudes/gals with wild hair, black leather, tongue piercing and torn denim jeans who churn out ear-splitting, harsh screams from the electric guitar. The complete mirror opposite of our friends from the symphony orchestra, dressed in elegant suits & dresses, who play soothing melodies from their strings.
But look at the stage now. Heavy metal bands draw a roaring crowd of thousands, full of energy & anticipation, even higher in number than the orchestra. Especially when the musicians churn out ear-splitting, harsh screams from both their throats & their guitars. Why? Because heavy metal represents a different, more exciting & explosive theme that transcends even rock. It explores the rebellious, adrenaline-driven side of human nature and its willingness to take risks in order to explore new things. The raw, hardcore antics of its performers, who represent the face of the genre, and the pure “badness” that seem to emanate from it.
There are a lot of books, shows & people pointing out how exposure to heavy metal is the cause of depression, teenage delinquency, bad grades & even suicidal tendencies. And then comes another story where there are intellectually gifted metalheads who listen to this music to actually help them cope & unwind instead of classical baroque.
And this is why the study of this genre grows ever more important. Not just to purge stereotypes. Career prospects are not limited to the coveted “metal star” alone. Since the course teaches aspects of business, like marketing, one can open a store that features the heavy metal genre. Clothes, instruments, shoes, music, tattoos, piercing. Or return to the school as a professor. Organize and set off a documentary on the genre, with interview from famous bands. Open a school/studio for prospective bands. Write books & guides on the genre. Become a specialist on that genre for a music magazine.
Now it seems that these jobs are actually best done by these future graduates, since they would know a lot. And as cliché as it sounds, these people are the future of heavy metal. With their intellect they can push its popularity even further.
It’s not everyday you get to meet someone in black leather, tongue piercing & torn denim jeans who’s a professor. Of heavy metal.