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First Class Degree Students in the First Cohort of Community Music Degree

Posted on 12 July 2012

A new music degree programme, the first of its kind in the UK, has awarded two of its final year students a first class degree award – the first students to achieve this from the BA (Hons) Community Music.

Three years ago, Sage Gateshead, the University of Sunderland and Gateshead College designed and created the first BA (Hons) Community Music degree programme in the UK. The innovative course came after high demand in the region, and country, for community music leaders of a high standard. This course has proven to support musicians to be able to offer this. With two first class degrees, from Michael Dollan and Laura Reavley, the standard is already high.

Laura Reavley, 22, from Seaton Sluice said: “Sage Gateshead is an amazing focal point for music in the North East and due to studying here I have had the opportunity to make invaluable connections and to network with professionals in many fields of music. I am thrilled to be graduating with a first because studying here has been a unique experience and I have loved every minute of it! I would recommend this degree to future students because the partnership between the University of Sunderland and Sage Gateshead has provided me with both practical and theoretical insights into the world of community music.”

The course is aimed at anyone who is musically skilled, from school leavers to professional musicians, who want to put their talents to work with people in a broad range of educational and community settings. As well as a musical career in the performing arts, the range of additional professional career paths for community music graduates includes youth work, teaching music, arts management or social work.

Michael Dollan, 36, from Springwell Village said: “I have actually worked as a community musician for ten years and have worked for Sage Gateshead for seven of those and so my career in this field started before the course was even available. When the opportunity presented itself to join the BA (Hons) Community Music it seemed a perfect opportunity for me to develop my skills and career further. Being able to study Community Music at Sage Gateshead is an excellent opportunity for learners, be they new to the field, or like me, old hands!

“Community Music is part of the business of Sage Gateshead and being able to study with an organisation that specialises in the delivery of the very thing you are studying must be a fairly unique opportunity. I certainly would have found it much more difficult to complete my studies without the support of my colleagues here at Sage Gateshead and I’m very grateful to them for the support they offered. It means an enormous amount to me to have successfully completed the course and especially to have achieved a first class degree.”

Anthony Sargent, General Director at Sage Gateshead said: “These two students are among the first graduates of BA Community Music. They have both gained firsts, though coming from utterly different backgrounds. That diversity of backgrounds, and Michael and Laura’s wonderful success, says so much about this great new course.”

Dave Camlin, Head of Professional Learning at Sage Gateshead added: “We’re thrilled that Laura and Michael have done so well as part of the first cohort of the UK’s first Community Music degree. The course gives students the opportunity to learn their craft as professional musicians by studying within one of the world’s most prestigious music organisations, and we’re confident that they both have a very bright career ahead of them, as both musicians and teachers.”

For further details on the course contact or visit


Date of release – 11 July 2012

Gaynor Ellis
Acting Marketing & Communications Manager
(t) 0191 443 4613