Master Seminar develops Songs and Marketing Strategies

2021-02-15 "Can you hear me?" - many conversations begin with this is the question in these times in which encounters take place primarily digitally. The student group "Das Connectiv" has written a song about this question and in it tells of the constant reconnection and the lack of actual connection. The song was written as part of a cultural studies master's seminar on the composition, production and marketing of music under the direction of Prof. Dr. Michael Ahlers. The Corona pandemic presented the students with new challenges: How to record music when you can't see yourself? How to record a music video?

"In the beginning, we mainly sent songs back and forth to each other to get a feeling for the direction we wanted to go in with our own production. Then we defined what exactly we liked about each song: the melody, the lyrics or the special beat," says Daphne Druba from "Das Connectiv", "the songs went in very different directions, but it was precisely these productive contrasts that inspired us."

Instead of meeting in a rehearsal room or studio, the seminar participants met in Zoom rooms and on Messenger platforms. The creative process for "Can you hear me?" began with composing a melody line on the piano. "I would have found it difficult to develop a melody without a piano. But once I had it, I quickly came up with a lyric for it," says Daphne Druba. The rest of the songwriting was a collaborative process, with each person writing a verse. The song picks up on experiences from student life during the pandemic: "Your shadow remains empty // I am only alone // How nice it would be // to be with you again," sings the voice.

The group documented the creative work on the song and video on Instagram. Musicians, producers and graphic designers have become aware of the project and have already offered their support for future productions. Prof. Dr. Ahlers and his students worked in the seminar with experts from research, creative practice and the music industry. Leo Schmidthals, bass player for the Hamburg band Selig, composer for renowned theatres and arranger for Herbert Grönemeyer, provided ongoing support for the seminar as a guest lecturer and also shared personal insights from his own practice.

"The idea of analysing current strategies of artistic self-marketing and the production of music not only theoretically but also practically stems from a conversation with Leo Schmidthals a long time ago. The fact that the students are now also reflecting on the currently difficult situation of creative people, thinking about ways of gaining attention and the very concrete use of social networks, was not foreseeable at the time," says Prof. Dr. Ahlers.

A total of four music projects were created as part of the seminar. The musical spectrum ranges from indie pop to 1980s earworms to film music. The songs by Das Connectiv, Klar.Musik, Elit Duo and Spirelli can be found on Spotify, Soundcloud, AppleMusic, iTunes, AmazonMusik and YouTube.

Ihr Musikvideo drehte "Das Connectiv" via Zoom.