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PAMM Productions: Spreading your wings with a safe place to land

Want to be successful as a professional musician? Today’s world requires you to have skills beyond just making great music. Students studying at the Academy of Pop Music  and MediaMusic course are able to get a little taste of the industry while still in school through an internship at ArtEZ’s own production company – PAMM Productions. Academy of Pop Music student Nadia Nellestein and PAMM coordinator Pim Kokkeler discuss how a built-in practical experience like this works.

Nadia Nellestein and Pim Kokkeler - Photo's by Emiel Ouwens and Maaike Ronhaar
Nadia Nellestein and Pim Kokkeler - Photo's by Emiel Ouwens and Maaike Ronhaar

PAMM stands for the Academy of Pop Music (in Dutch: Popacademie, PA) and MediaMusic (MM), two study courses offered by ArtEZ Conservatory in Enschede. As a student in these courses, you don’t just learn how to make good music, you also learn how to effectively market it, through for example an internship at PAMM Productions.  

Thrown in at the deep end

During the first few weeks of the internship at PAMM, Nadia and her colleagues already were thrown in at the deep end. Their supervisor Pim asked them to participate in the #UnmuteUs demonstration in Enschede. Pim: "I gave them three options: don’t participate, participate by walking in it, or participate by riding in it [in a float]. The team unanimously chose the final option, which was definitely the path of greatest resistance." Nadia: "It was quite a memorable moment. As a brand-new team, we had no idea how PAMM fully worked. Yet somehow within two weeks we had already managed to organize a live installation [for the demonstration], which in the end turned out very well."

A real enterprise with real-world consequences 

During the year, Pim’s team offers assistance to projects and festivals such as Booster, No Man’s Land, Museumnacht and MonkeyJam. Just because these are real enterprises with real-world impacts and consequences, however, doesn’t mean that the students don’t still have opportunities to make mistakes and learn. Pim: "Here you can make mistakes in a safe way and learn through doing." Nadia: "I can always go to my supervisors if something goes wrong. At the same time, you do learn a lot on the spot, working on real projects with real contacts. Here you quickly pass through certain learning thresholds that you would otherwise pass later on, simply because you have to. For example, I already have had a lot of contact with a variety of people from the music industry. The comfortable and pleasant atmosphere within the training and PAMM also help with how safe I feel here. We work in a very close-knit team of people."

"What do you want to learn?" 

Students mostly follow their own path within the course. Students interested in music management, for example, can apply to PAMM to work in music production for a year. Pim and his colleagues assess a student’s motivation and afterward, an interview follows: "We look closely at what the students want to learn here. Every year it is an interesting puzzle to put the internship team together. This year we're working with six students, but that number can change from year to year." One of the challenges for the upcoming few months is organizing the Booster festival in April 2022, where musicians and industry personnel are brought together. Pim hopes that this year it will be live: "otherwise, we will have to do it online for a third year, which is what is so crazy about the time we’re living in."

To each their own 

Nadia explains how the task distribution works: "Not everyone has the same skills or can do the same things, we all have our own purpose. I combine programming with marketing tasks. That’s the nice thing about this place. Here you get to see in practice whether a certain task or role will suit you or not. When I started this course, I thought that all I wanted to do was play as much as possible with my band NELLES. Thanks to this internship, I know that in addition to making music, I also want to work as a programmer or marketer in the music industry, and that working in music means much more than just making good music."

A new perspective 

Understanding all the aspects of the music industry is exactly what an internship at PAMM is all about. Pim: "The music industry employs people who make choices about programming all day long. At PAMM you get a glimpse into the 'why' of these choices, why an act fits within a theater setting, or why, for example, the booker of Lowlands books one band and not another. In addition to making good music, there are many more factors that ensure that you are picked up as a band. That's what we're trying to teach you here." Nadia now listens to music in a more nuanced way: "Now I judge musicians on quality, branding and, most importantly, motivation. Do they really want to succeed? Is this really ‘their year’? Working with PAMM has also allowed me to look at my own music from another perspective. Now I know why and on what basis you are judged as a musician and what the factors for success are."

Want more info?
Third-year MediaMusic student Babs also did an internship at PAMM. What did she think of it? Watch the video below!

Follow PAMM, Nadia and Pim