Three years ago we had a dream: to create a music program that didn’t just teach students about the wider music industry, but brought it directly to them. Now, as we pass the halfway point of our second semester, we can reflect on how our dream is becoming a reality.
Our initial concept was simple - bring together some of the world’s brightest young talents and let them learn from some of the most successful individuals in music: our mentors. While there are plenty of gifted up-and-comers out there, we believe we have gathered some exceptional talent at Limpi. Yet few are able to access the real insider knowledge that can help them stand out, so by combining the passion of a promising new generation with a level of expertise and insight that simply can’t be found elsewhere, we hope to create a nurturing and immersive environment where fantastic producers, song-writers and artists can flourish.
That is what we’re starting to see now. While most music programs follow a traditional approach involving a lot of top-down theory, where the actual creation of music is almost secondary, we always wanted to do the opposite. The essence of Limpi is in the songs, not the theory. That’s why our students spend as much time as possible in the studio, receiving hands-on advice and guidance from widely respected professionals.
Our first group of students, who hail from the USA, England, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark, have been working extremely hard, and the music they’re producing proves how lucky we are to have them. It is a huge privilege for us to see them growing as artists and individuals on a daily basis, and in this blog we hope to share some insights into that development, alongside a few pearls of wisdom from our mentors.
So, what does a typical week at Limpi look like?
To begin with, every Monday the students are given a songwriting assignment from one of our mentors. In groups of two or three they respond by producing songs throughout the week, under the supervision of our mentors. Then the following Monday, before the next assignment is set, we have a listening session of the previous week’s songs so everyone can share their work and receive feedback. So far, our students have created about 600 songs in collaboration with each other and the mentors, and the quality is consistently high.
"The following week the selected tracks were then actually played at a session with Sam Smith himself."
To give an example, a few weeks ago the assignment was to create a Sam Smith song. Stargate producer Tor Erik Hermansen, a Limpi mentor who has co-written number ones for the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna, worked with each group and then picked out the three songs he felt had the most potential for Sam. The following week the selected tracks were then actually played at a session with Sam Smith himself.
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Sam Smith listening to our Limpi songs! Our mentor Tor from @stargatemusic just spent a week at Limpi and asked our artists, writers and producers if they could create something that would work for @samsmith. Here he is playing a selection for him in Los Angeles!!! The excitement levels are high! #limpi #limpilife
Another occasion that could only happen at Limpi came just before Christmas, when the American singer and songwriter Emily Warren spent two weeks with the students. Emily not only provided technical advice and hands-on support but also drummed home the importance of spilling your guts when writing, in order to make personal songs that can create an authentic connection with the listener. Our students took that advice and ran with it.
Most young talents will probably never get opportunities such as these, but our students are experiencing them on a weekly basis. And that’s not all: a number of additional workshops on everything from sound mixing and Pro Tools to vocal technique and songwriting are also available, alongside weekly music business and entrepreneurship classes. Not only does this all ensure our students are equipped to handle every aspect of the industry at large, it means they’re already building a valuable network of contacts in preparation for their time after Limpi.
But enough about the students - what have we learned?
"Limpi already feels like a family."
Well, first of all we have confirmed that the creative potential of our talented participants is sky high. And although they are primarily here to make music, Limpi already feels like a family. It’s important to us that we cultivate a supportive environment, and we’re happy to have fostered such a mutually respectful and creatively stimulating space here in Lillehammer.
Secondly, we have reinforced our belief that working hands-on with students and establishing an immersive and intensive program really brings out the best in them. What you say can only take you so far – it is what you do that really makes the difference.
This is also something the students have told us. They don’t feel like the mentors are just telling them to make something and then simply judging it. We are making music together. That sense of collaborative learning is at the very heart of the Limpi experience, and it’s extremely gratifying to know that everyone’s on the same page.
We are very much looking forward to continuing our work with the students this spring and beyond, as their music careers carry on progressing. After all, your career doesn’t start when you leave Limpi – it starts the moment you join!
Magnus and Amund