Q&A With First Class BA(Hons) JTC Guitar Graduate, Neil Schoeman


Neil Schoeman is our most recent graduate, and we are very proud to say that he was awarded a first class BA(Hons) degree in Creative Music Performance – JTC Guitar. He took time out of his busy schedule teaching and performing in Abu Dhabi, to answer a few questions for us.






Q1.  You have achieved excellent marks throughout your time with DIME ONLINE and have now graduated with a first class degree.  What are your immediate plans for the next few months?

Directly after finishing my degree I took a well deserved month holiday, doing as little as possible. ???? I am now back at work as usual (gigging 6 days a week) until September when I am moving to London, UK, to start a MMus degree at ICMP in Guitar Performance.


Q2.  Is there a particular module or strand of the degree that stands out to you as being significant in helping you progress as a musician?

That’s a difficult question, there were a few that I really enjoyed.  All the improvisation modules I thought were great, I learned so much from them it completely changed how I approach my playing. In fact I’m not sure how I managed to play before ????.  Also the level 6 module, ‘Developing Your Own Style’ was particularly great, because it forced me in a position were I had to think about what style I want to create.

Q3.  What else did you do alongside your studying?

While I was studying I was part of a band that performed as a resident band in the Middle East at a hotel. We performed 6 nights a week and had all our days free, which meant I was in the ideal situation for a online course like this.

Q4.  How did you manage your time as an online learner?  Did you have a regular routine?  What did a typical week look like? How did you organise your time?

Time management throughout was crucial, working and studying at the same time can be exhausting and finding time for everything could be almost impossible without proper planning.  I was in the fortunate position that I only worked at night, which meant I had all my days free. So I would generally start practicing around 9 or 10am and would continue throughout the day, with breaks here and there, until around 7pm.  At 8pm I was off to work and would be back home around 2am. So my days were kind of long, but I was fortunate in the sense that I had time to practice as much as I wanted and wasn’t limited by work hours.  Luckily I enjoyed every second so it never felt like a chore. 

Q5.  How did you find out about DIME ONLINE initially and why did you choose online as your mode of study?

I found out about this course through JTC (Jam Track Central) as I am subscribed to their newsletter, and through that I heard about the course which lead to DIME. The fact that I could stay in the Middle East working and earning money, while studying a BA(Hons) degree, was a big factor in my choice to join the course, but the key factor was definitely Martin Goulding, Head of Guitar at DIME ONLINE.  Knowing that someone of Martin’s calibre was onboard and that he wrote the course made it the easiest decision.  I have studied under Martin before in 2009, which meant I knew exactly what I was in for and what I would get out of it. 

Q6.  If you were to give one piece of advice to a new student, what would it be?

The best bit of advice I would have for someone joining up would be to not try and work too fast.  Stick with what the course is covering at the time even if it initially seems extremely simple and basic.  Don’t work ahead or rush over certain topics.  Really engage with each week’s material from week one until it is ingrained, and work hard on the feedback you receive. 

Thanks to Neil for taking the time out to answer our questions and share some of his thoughts about studying the JTC Degree with DIME ONLINE. You can check out his website and one of his videos below.