SilverNote Music project showcases students' creative flair

Aberdeen students are showcasing their creative talents to the local community thanks to an innovative college based project.

SilverNote Music Enterprise at North East Scotland College (NESCol) gives budding sound engineers, musicians, film-makers and photographers the opportunity to work together, and with industry experts, to create evidence for their Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) coursework and assessments.

Through collaborations with Aberdeen performing arts venues, the project gives students a platform to share their achievements. The audience at the SilverNote launch event at The Lemon Tree were treated to original music composed and performed by the students. The students were in charge of producing and promoting all aspects of the event, giving them a unique insight into many aspects of the music industry.

Jack Cameron from Aberdeen, an HND Music student who performs under the name RedKid, says that having an actual event to work towards inspires students to create the best work possible. He says: “The fact that it’s in The Lemon Tree and it’s an outside gig gives us something to focus on and makes it more real.”

SQA is recognising the SilverNote project as part of its support for the Year of Young People. The two initiatives share common goals, namely to empower Scotland’s youth and to celebrate their successes. 

SQA first highlighted SilverNote at their 2017 Star Awards, which celebrate excellence in learning and teaching. At the ceremony the project was announced as the winner of the Innovation category.

The college was praised for taking a pro-active approach to developing the skills of their students. Tony Young, Curriculum and Quality Manager at NESCol, believes this is an important aspect of SilverNote. He says: “We have a duty to help learners develop transferable skills, as these are the skills that they can take into a number of industries.”

Bianca Elena Comanescu, who is working towards an HNC in Computing and Digital Media, says that being part of SilverNote has boosted her confidence. She explains: “Team work has been the most important skill I have developed. I’m quite shy and it was wonderful to work with the team to express our creativity.”

Jack agrees that collaborating with peers has been a rewarding experience. He says: “I feel like I’m part of a machine and everyone is working towards the same thing. The fact that it’s coming together under the one brand is really amazing. I love it!”

Alistair McKay, SQA Regional Manager, says that it is exciting to see SQA qualifications being delivered in innovative ways. He says: “SQA qualifications are designed in such a way that they can be delivered as part of projects like SilverNote. This flexibility means that students benefit from interesting learning opportunities whilst academic standards are maintained. The SilverNote project at NESCol is a shining example of where this has had a positive impact not only for the college and their students, but also on the wider community.”

The college plans to increase the scope of SilverNote. Jonathan Bennett, Lecturer in Music, says: “Working with SQA qualifications has already allowed a lot of opportunities for curriculum teams to respond to the SilverNote initiative with new and innovative projects and we’re looking at ways we can do this more.”