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Music centre to open in Leicester

A higher education institution focused on preparing students for work in the music industry will open in Leicester in April.

The British Centre for Music and Enterprise (BCME) will be based in the city's Cultural Quarter and make use of facilities at the Curve, Phoenix and the LCB Depot.

There are plans for the BCME to refurbish and move in to a 15,000 sq ft building in Leicester in its third year. Ajay Naik, managing director of the BCME, estimates it will have a student cohort of 1,000 in its fifth year.

"The idea is to give our students the very best possible chance of getting gainful employment as soon as they complete the courses – they need to hit the ground running," said Naik, who is financial planning director at Bankfield Financial Advisers and a qualified drummer.

Naik was motivated to create an institution which teaches entrepreneurship as well as music after finding many of the talented musicians he encountered in the industry struggled to conduct themselves professionally, and found getting work difficult as a result.

"Whichever course of study you come to with BCME, from day one you are being taught how to think like a businessman and how to act like an entrepreneur," Naik added. "These are the important life skills people only start picking up in the industry ten years down the line when they've already made those mistakes."

The BCME will open with an Easter Band Academy in April for the local community to experience the facilities, before the first higher education course begins in the summer.

Three-year BMus and BA courses start in September 2015, allowing students to choose from focusing on music performance, music business, event production and event management, and music technology and production.

The BCME is a multimillion-pound investment in Leicester and it will directly employ 50 staff by year five. It has an option on a 15,000 sq ft building in Leicester which it can refurbish, but the ultimate aim is to have a 30,000 sq ft purpose-built facility and the BCME has first option on a site in the Cultural Quarter for this.

"We don't want to overburden the business from day one and put in a lot of capital and take out a lot of debt for the sake of a massive shiny building which will only be used to a quarter of its capacity in year one," Naik said.

"Using the existing facilities here gives us a scaleable model which takes us up to year three in terms of demand and infrastructure. It also gives students the opportunity to integrate within the local arts community."

Source: Insider News Midlands

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