Small shop with sign saying 'Three 3 Beat' and records and a sale notice in the window

Three Beat Records © Mark McNulty

Students are another group who have contributed a great deal to the musical life of cities.

In Austin, Texas for example, university students contributed to the revival of folk singing during the 1960s and also to other local scenes and sounds:

"From country to psychedelic rock to blues to punk, music-making in Austin attracted the desires and the ambitions of several generations of students." (Shank, 1994: xiii)

Since the 1960s a significant number of British pop musicians have emerged from art schools and colleges where they were educated and first started performing (Frith and Horne, 1987). Indeed in Liverpool's case the art college had a particular importance. In the 1960s, students attending that college included John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, founder members of the Beatles. They also included Adrian Henri, who played a central role in the development of the city's avant-garde scene. That scene was based in venues around the art college and university buildings, and involved live performances of jazz and rhythm and blues music and beat poetry.

During the 1970s musicians and music entrepreneurs who played a central role in the city's post punk scene also came from Liverpool's art school. They included Julian Cope from the Teardrop Explodes, Bill Drummond from Zoo Records and the KLF, and members of the band Deaf School. Other contributors to that scene included students from Liverpool University such as Pete Fulwell, one of the owners of the legendary club Eric's, and Pete Wylie, founder of the rock bands the Crucial Three and Mighty Wah! During the 1990s local university students played a central role in Liverpool's contemporary dance music scenes. They established local dance labels such as 3Beat records, for example, and performed as artist-DJs in local clubs.

Liverpool's universities and colleges have also provided the audiences to support local music scenes and city centre nightlife. The dramatic rise in university students in the city during the mid-1990s therefore had a major impact on local music activity. The city's dance clubs and live music performance venues were able to thrive during term time but experienced a lull when many students returned home for the summer. Moreover, some music venues have been closely associated with students and referred to locally as 'student venues', as have certain areas of the city.

Students have certainly contributed to Liverpool's reputation as a music city. That reputation has also helped to attract students to the city, many of who have subsequently made the city their home.

Today Liverpool is unusual in Britain in terms of popular music and higher education. There are popular music degree programmes at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Hope University, Liverpool Community College and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Many graduates from these programmes have stayed in Liverpool working as musicians, music entrepreneurs, music journalists, music teachers and support workers.