Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Rhys O'Sullivan is a student at BIMM, the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music. Rhys began his musical career singing in Fingal Youth Choir, where he became a stalwart member of the bass section. For the past few years, he has studied Singing and Guitar with Dónal Kearney and Graham Dunne. He was also an active member of the music department in Malahide Community School. Rhys spoke to us a little about his current musical endeavours.
I'm having a ball of a time. At the moment, I study 7 modules; Music Business, Free Production, Live Arrangement Workshop (LAW); Songwriting Techniques; Styles Analysis; Artist Development; Music Theory.
I learned a lot of the theory as part of my Leaving Cert music course, but I felt I really developed my skills practically through Fingal Youth Choir (FYC). I also studied singing and guitar at Fingal Academy of Music and my teachers taught me so much that I use today at BIMM.
I joined FYC in 2013, when Michael was the conductor. I was section leader for the Basses and learned a lot in the weekly rehearsals and musicianship classes. The sight-singing and theory elements were vital in my music education. I learned so much through Fingal Youth Choir.
At BIMM, my course is extremely varied.
Music Business is about learning how to manage and market yourself. Pre-Production is about taking songs you've written, bringing them to the class, workshopping them, taking some criticism, taking advice. This hopefully enables me to remove or improve the songs.
LAW is where we hand our songs to 2nd and 3rd year BIMM students. We play with them and it sounds professional. It's a really good exercise in arranging our songs. In our Technique class, we learn how to catch the audience's ears, how to use good chords, how to flow better.
Styles Analysis is my favourite class by far with Mick Tierney from Republic of Loose. Next week, we study Simon and Garfunkel. We've done Bob Dylan and Billy Joel. It's really interesting, giving us a
The Artist Development class is a good networking opportunity, and Music Theory is mostly about triads, diminished chords. It's going over things that we've already studied in Fingal Youth Choir musicianship classes.
As part of my course, I'm constantly having to perform - and being assessed on it - which is good. It's really good practice. I feel I'm doing well, though.
At the moment, I'm trying to write more disjunctive melodies, adding new instruments, etc. I have an assessment in a few weeks whereby I have to submit a song in the style of one of the artists we've studied. I'm probably going to write in a Bob Dylan style for that. Then I'll have to develop that and try another style after that.
I'm writing more for assessment rather than for myself. But it's really helping me.