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Overseas university spotlight: BIMM Music Institute Bristol (UK)

At the BIMM Music Institute in Bristol, students undertake courses designed and developed by the music industry, for the music industry.


As such, everything that students learn is 100 percent relevant.


Success stories include alumni George Ezra, IDLES and Ella Mai, to name a few.


And the institute, which is part of the BIMM University group of colleges, just so happens to be located in the cultural hub of the southwest, Bristol -- undoubtedly one of my absolute favorite cities in the UK.


Here are some of the highlights from my visit!


BIMM Institute Bristol

The city of Bristol


If I'm playing the word association game and asked for one word to describe the city of Bristol, the first thing that comes to mind is: cool.


But I'm not the only one; in 2017, the Rough Guides named Bristol as the UK's coolest city for its nightlife, creative and tech industries and its proximity to the great outdoors:


'Think London, but smaller and (dare we say it) cooler – or at least more committed to its offbeat counterculture, and with an enormous gorge cutting an improbable chunk through part of the city.'

Given the choice, there's no doubt in my mind where I'd move in the UK.


Just 90 minutes on the train from London and a population of about 460,000, Bristol is much more affordable, manageable and liveable than the capital city (in my opinion).


And on top of that, it's super lively!


The lively King Street
The lively King Street
King Street
King Street pubs
King Street
King Street

If you're into the arts, you'll definitely want to check out the Bristol Old Vic, which is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world.

And to my surprise, shows weren't that expensive!


Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic

Bristol is also a UNESCO City of Film and a fantastic place to admire street art, as it's where graffiti artist Banksy hails from.


The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum, 2014
The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum, 2014
Well Hung Lover, 2006
Well Hung Lover, 2006

Banksy isn't the only one to work in Bristol though.


Not a Banksy; this one is by JPS
Not a Banksy; this one is by JPS
Not a Banksy; this one is by Jody
Not a Banksy; this one is by Jody
St Stephens Church by night
St Stephens Church by night

The amount of green space in Bristol is also impressive, with more than 400 parks.


Queen Square
Queen Square
Bristol Cathedral
Bristol Cathedral
I voted for dogs, obviously
I voted for dogs, obviously

There's plenty of history, too; the oldest pub in Bristol dates back to 1606.


The Hatchet Inn

In Queen Square, you'll even find the first American embassy in Britain, dating back to 1792.


Britain's first American embassy
Britain's first American embassy

Also note: it can get a bit hilly in some places!


College Green

Perhaps my favorite thing about Bristol, besides its coolness, is the plentitude of scenic walks and hip coffee shops.


Just follow along the River Avon, and there are so many places to stop for a bite or drink, many of which are actually on the water itself!


Grain Barge
Bristol canal
Bristol canal
Bristol canal
The Shed
Paddle boarding along the River Avon
Paddle boarding along the River Avon
River Avon
Boat bar
Brunel's SS Great Britain
Brunel's SS Great Britain

My favorite coffee shop was Society, located in a gorgeous stone building also right by the river.


Society Cafe
Society Cafe

Another benefit of studying in Bristol is that it’s close to a lot of the festivals where BIMM students, lecturers and graduates work or perform over the summer -- including Glastonbury, where BIMM has its own stage!

For those unfamiliar, Glastonbury is one of the music events of the year, attracting nearly 200,000 spectators.


Last year, it was headlined by Elton John, Arctic Monkeys and band Guns ‘N’ Roses.


Speaking of festivals, the 2000trees Festival was actually founded by a BIMM lecturer himself, Andy Rea.


And not that you'd ever want to leave, but if you did, Bristol is only 45 minutes on the train from Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, and 15 minutes from the World Heritage city of Bath.


Campus and academics


The BIMM Music Institute is located in the heart of Bristol, tucked away down a cool, graffiti-sprayed alley.


And from the moment you walk in, you're immediately greeted with a purpose-built stage in the large atrium where many student bands get to perform.


Student band
Atrium
Atrium and student hangout

Directly above the stage is a DJ booth, where students can also get trained on how to DJ.


DJ booth

Next door, works are underway to build new student housing.


And upstairs is where the real magic happens; the institute's modern facilities provide students with state-of-the-art recording studios, practice rooms and other performance spaces.


Recording studio
Recording studio
Recording studio
Soundproof windows and walls
Soundproof windows and walls
Learning about microphones
Learning about microphones

Having first opened its doors at this location in 2008, BIMM offers courses in Songwriting, Popular Music Performance, Music Production, Electronic Music Production, Music Marketing, Event Management, Music Business and more.


Some cool records

It's set up and decorated in a way that really fosters creativity and collaboration.


Student study space
Library space
Library space
Student collaboration noticeboard

In fact, there are opportunities to work with the film school to create music videos or social media content, as well as the green screen and other technology to do so.


Lab spaces
Lab spaces
Lab spaces

One of the defining features of BIMM Bristol is its faculty, comprising of seasoned musicians, industry professionals and educators.


Students have the privilege of learning from experts who have made significant contributions to the music industry.


Rosie Giblett, a musician and BIMM studio technician
Rosie Giblett, a musician and BIMM studio technician
Guitar class
Guitar class

The faculty not only imparts technical skills but also shares real-world insights and experiences, preparing students for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in their musical journeys.


Drum class
Drum class

Well-being advisors are assigned to every course, and students can access free therapy sessions throughout each semester.


Student Well-being Office

Summary - BIMM Music Institute Bristol


Whether students are looking to make it as musicians, producers, event managers or beyond, BIMM Bristol's amazing location, facilities and extensive network of industry connections are significant advantages for students aspiring to enter the industry.


Regular guest lectures, workshops and masterclasses give students a unique and up to date insight into how to be successful, and career support services help students navigate the portfolio-building process, internships and future employment prospects.


For students wanting a practical, relevant education in all things music, this is the place to be -- and there's no cooler city than Bristol.


View from BIMM Institute
View from BIMM Institute
Class is in session!
Class is in session!

 

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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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