A one-of-a-kind institute for popular music in the Black Country offering degrees for students seeking a career in a range of music industries will be opening its doors next year.

Resonance will have some of the best minds in music, teaching students everything from popular music performance, production, composition and business.

Based in the stunning Cable Plaza building on The Waterfront at Brierley Hill, Resonance will be offering a suite of courses under a franchise arrangement from Solent University in Southampton with courses uploaded to UCAS this summer.

The £9.5 million project will also create a vital community music hub. Musicians and organisations from across the region will be encouraged to make full use of the state-of-the-art facilities on offer. 

Resonance co-director, David Barnard, said “We’re absolutely delighted to finally be in a position where we can confidently say ‘it’s coming’. 

“Contractors have been on site for some weeks nowand we should be ready to move in at the end of 2019. That’s when the fun really starts.”

From 2020, Resonance will provide undergraduate degrees in Popular Music Performance, Production, Digital Music and Music Business. Also, in the pipeline is a degree in Education and Wellbeing, due in 2021. 

By the third year and following the graduation of its first cohort, Resonance is hoping to offer an MA coursein Contemporary Music Performance.

All courses delivered at Resonance will be led by industry professionals and will focus on developing a broad range of skills needed by the sector. 

“The priority is to immerse students into a real-world environment working on project briefs designed in partnership with industry colleagues,” David explained. 

“People say the music ‘industry’, but really it’s music ‘industries’ as there are so many avenues and opportunities for students to explore.

“For every star on stage, there’s an army of people behind-the-scenes, be they session musicians, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, stage managers, PR agents and more.

“Our programme will blend musical, technical and practical skills with personal and professional development, entrepreneurship and enterprise. Our objective is to create ‘work ready’ graduates, who are not frightened to explore new ideas and have a go. The Resonance Professional Diploma, running alongside our degree courses, will provide an enriching experience developing the essential ‘soft’ skills needed for an ever-changing global industry.”

Places at Resonance will be limited with applicants needing to attain between 96 and 112 UCAS points before an audition. Applications are expected to be open from next month (September).

Paul Rutter, Head of Music at Solent University, and published music industry author said: "I have travelled the world to see various different musical institutions and conservatoires and the Resonance project is highly impressive. I have not seen anything quite like it.”

"In the Cable Plaza building they have what must be the world's best purposed modern popular music institute. The building and space dedicated to pop music study is exemplary, I doubt there is many out there that could compete. I'm sure it will be a huge success for the West Midlands pop music industries."

The multi-million-pound project for the institute is backed by Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for Regeneration and Enterprise at Dudley Council who is pleased that the project is now underway.

He said: “Not only will Resonance solidify Dudley borough’s place on the map nationally, it will also bring hundreds of students to the area, resulting in a massive boost for the local and regional economy as a whole.”

“The building that is being refurbished for the institute is based in the heart of DY5, Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone, and its exciting new life will serve as a space to educate and stimulate creative minds for many years to come.”

The project is being supported by funding from the Black Country LEP which has approved a grant for £7.16million and financial support from Unity Trust Bank, and Arts Impact Fund.