Five former LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) students returned to their alma mater last month to share their experiences of becoming recipients of a Sennheiser Scholarship, and to relate how the award, combined with an education at the institute, had made a positive impact on their careers.
The day was reportedly “packed” with current LIPA students keen to learn more about the 18-year partnership between Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. and the teaching establishment.
“We were fascinated right from the start by the idea of an institute that trains young artists and their technical counterparts under one roof,” said Daniel Sennheiser, CEO of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG. “We have supported that idea ever since the foundation of LIPA by giving lectures and providing scholarships for students studying for the Sound Technology BA Degree.
“Sennheiser also presents Student Achievement Awards every year in recognition of special personal achievements by students. And, of course, the students are able to work with the latest Sennheiser and Neumann products, for example with our wireless microphone systems and studio microphones.
“This long term collaboration is an important milestone, to our continuous pursuit of perfection by helping young up and coming students and promote the music and sound culture.”
Key Sennheiser staff were present at the day, including president of global sales Paul Whiting, Sennheiser UK general manager Phil Massey and marketing project manager Phil Cummings.
“This is a very proud moment for me personally,” said Whiting. “I was involved in the initial discussions about this great partnership 18 years ago. We have been passionate about our involvement with LIPA and the calibre of students we have supported, some of who have worked for, or work for Sennheiser today. It’s with great pleasure we welcome back some of our alumni, to discuss their time with Sennheiser and LIPA.”
Each year’s Sennheiser Scholarship is open to all first year students studying on the BA (Hons) Sound Technology course at LIPA. Initial applications are made to Jon Thornton, head of Sound Technology. As part of the process, each applicant has to supply a piece of their own work and participate in a group task, after which the shortlisted students go through a one-to-one interview as the final selection process. The selected student is awarded a financial contribution for three years to help their studies, as well as being given the benefit of key contacts and the company’s vast knowledge.
“It’s imperative to Sennheiser that we support the talent of the future,” added Phil Massey. “The selection is always a very tough decision for us, with the high calibre of students that LIPA attracts. It’s great to see so many familiar faces at this event, sharing their successes and career paths with the students.”
“Sennheiser has been one of the grandparents of our family – we were adopted by them within moments of being born,” smiled LIPA founding principal/CEO, Mark Featherstone-Witty. “As with any family, the future is the children. Sennheiser has supported ours and, through them, the future of the audio industry. This support has come from the very top: the Supervisory Board and the Sennheiser family. Our joint striving for a common goal is the hallmark of a beautiful and noble relationship.”
Sennheiser Scholarship alumni Gemma Nicholson added, “LIPA and Sennheiser were instrumental in kick-starting my career in the film industry. LIPA provides comprehensive training for anyone wanting to do sound as a career, while Sennheiser's willingness to share their knowledge, extensive contacts and financial support makes it a genuine recipe for success. It meant I was able to focus on doing the work experience I needed that led to a full-time job and my current career path.”
As well as the opportunity to hear about the alumnis’ experience and ask questions, the current LIPA students enjoyed demonstrations of Sennheiser and Neumman kit. Andy Lillywhite ran a Digital 9000 series masterclass to show the difference between analogue and digital mics; Nick Pemberton followed him with a seminar on Neumann studio monitor best practices and calibration, as well as looking at Neumann digital mics working with the AES 42 interface protocol.