Discover how Afaron’s passion for music led to a diverse portfolio of work since graduating from Bucks in 2012. From developing artists to organising music tutors for schools, he is an entrepreneur to keep an eye on.
Name: Afaron Gordon
Job Title: Creative Development Director
Studied: BA (Hons) Music Management & Studio Production
Graduated: Class of 2012
Who do you work for, and what is your role?
I am a CEO of my own music company called Afaron Gordon Media LTD, specialising in developing creative performers.
I currently have two divisions within the company, the first being Noteworthy Music Academy (NMA) which provides music tuition in schools and in the community across London.
The second division is Momentum which is an artist and creative development company that provides artists with the tools for a sustainable career within the music and entertainment industry.
Through NMA I employ music tutors to teach after-school clubs and workshops in schools across London. I also teach music in the schools myself, as well as write the music programs used throughout the school year. We also organise end of year performances and live events for the schools we teach in, to provide the students with opportunities to perform what they have learnt in our lessons.
As a creative development director my role in Momentum is to provide commercial, creative and technical direction for artists and creative performers. I consult with artists and provide them with the tools to increase their fan base both online and offline, raise funds for future projects, and critiquing creative projects including music, videos and live performances.
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
My daytime is mainly spent teaching music to children between the ages of 7-11. I find teaching very rewarding and enjoyable, everyday is different and I always get a smile on my face building a child’s confidence and motivation, and it is especially rewarding when they are able to overcome a challenge and play something they thought was difficult.
My evenings are spent developing artists through consultation meetings, organising and attending band rehearsals, and networking with artists at live events. This is also very fulfilling as I get to help develop an artist that wants to take their career further, through building their brand, increasing their fan base or improving their live performances.
What have been your main career achievements to date?
I have done a few things in my career which I’m very proud of. I spent a year helping a charity build a music academy from the grassroots up, providing them with a program and the tools to teach musical instruments to the youth within the local community.
Since 2013 NMA has been given the opportunity to teach music in a number of primary schools, and we are still expanding across London.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
My course provided me with a wide range of knowledge about the music industry and how it works. I learnt about music contracts, intellectual property, music law, copyright collection societies like the PRS and MCPS and I also learnt how to work with artists in the music studio and use different tools to improve my music production skills.
This was a huge benefit to me as I came into the university as just a session musician. However, I knew that being a musician wasn’t enough; I needed to understand how the music industry worked before I stepped into it.
Upon reflection, what skills did your qualification give you that help in your job?
Outside of the obvious skills on most CV’s I have learnt how to be a leader and CEO which means working on the business as well as working within the industry. This concept is slightly different from most jobs as you need to know how to negotiate with organisations, read contracts, work in teams, employ staff and much more.
Most of all the course gave me all the theory and information needed to fully understand how the music industry operates. This included record labels and how the departments within them operate, royalties & licensing, collection societies, copyright law, an understanding of individuals and their duties within the music industry (managers, agents, A&R, pluggers etc.).
On the creative side I learnt how to work with many different types of performers (singers, rappers, spoken word and musicians) in the music studio. This gave me the experience to produce different genres of music and compose music using programs such as Logic and Pro Tools.
This course provided me with the so many tools to become the person I am today.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
The music industry is always changing. Do not be scared to step out and do something different. Enjoy every moment…the ups and the downs. The great thing about this industry is that it can be very flexible, there are no strict rules, and you can be very creative to reach your goals on your terms. One of the things I learnt from my lecturer Richard Chamberlain is that everything is negotiable.
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
The biggest misconception is that artists think that getting signed is a ‘get famous quick’ card. Every creative performer needs to work on the both the creative and business side of music to become successful. Artists need a good fan base, branding and marketing as well as an amazing talent.
What advice would you pass on to your first year self?
Use the whole three years to develop yourself as an individual, test ideas, organise events, go to more SU music events (they have some amazing acts).
Also network with classmates and people outside of the university. You never know what will happen after you graduate and when this network will influence your plans or help you to fulfill them.
Live in the music studios. I remember spending hours in those rooms producing music after class hours at least three times a week. It became so routine the security guards and I became friends because I was always around when it was time to lock up.
I would also advise that you figure out three ideas of what you want to do after you graduate, develop them whilst at university, and implement the plans as soon as you graduate.
Please tell us anything else about your time at Bucks that will be of interest.
In my second year of university a group of friends and I created our first EP with music we remixed and produced.
Once we finished the EP I decided to go further by organising a music event at the Students’ Union. I contacted a range of artists I’d met both in the local area and in the university and created a platform for them to perform their music in front of the students.
This event was a success; the Students’ Union was packed and I had achieved one of my dreams of organising a successful event.
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