It was a long-held ambition of Roberto Iannandrea, Head of Music at The British School in the Netherlands (BSN), to combine his passions—music and teaching—by setting up a record label entirely run by students. With the support and encouragement he received at BSN, he was able to achieve this ambition and has created something truly unique.

This is Roberto’s story

Head of Music at The British School in the Netherlands’, Roberto Iannandrea, drew on his experience from his career as a session musician to create the student-run record label, BSN Sessions.

When I was ‘young-er’ I was a session musician based in London, UK and toured the world with some high profile bands; then I became a teacher and since my first day in the profession, I always asked myself ‘Could I ever set up a record label and publish music produced, arranged and performed by my students?’ After having worked and lived in the UK, Malawi, Gabon, and Nepal, I landed in The Netherlands, and here at the BSN, at the Senior School Voorschoten (SSV) campus to be precise is where the answer to my question became… ‘Yes!’

In January 2018 I launched the official record label of the school BSN Sessions. To date, we have produced and released 3 singles, 3 EPs and 1 Album with a total of 30 songs!

The record label is run by students who record and produced the talented musicians of the BSN family. The record label provides the perfect environment where students from all different expertise can collaborate, communicate, learn from one another and test their leadership skills. We have an excellent Project Manager who meets weekly with the other thirteen members and disseminates information and takes decisions about future plans. It is a lot of work, and to divide the responsibility the team is structured into the following sub-teams: Marketing, Production, Creative, and Logistics.

The current The British School in the Netherlands’ BSN Sessions production team.

Inspiring Students

As a music teacher, my pedagogy is based on inspiring students, providing them with challenging but rewarding scenarios and most importantly, to break down the teacher/student barrier and let them understand that music-making activities go beyond the school settings. Music is an important part of our lives, and us, teachers, are here to support all our students with their growth and their aspirations.

As a matter of fact, the record label’s vision is to establish a platform where students can enjoy music and aspire to improve on their musical skills by providing them with real-life opportunities.

What I like about this project is that students have an outlet where they can exchange ideas, work creatively and understand the pressure and the demands of a real-life environment. Deadlines must be met if music has to be released on digital streaming platforms. In fact, students also learn how to communicate professionally with Dutch businesses (for example when producing vinyl records).

It is a personal ambition to utilise my professional experience in the music industry for good use in the education sector. The BSN’s positive and supportive environment has enabled me to fulfill this ambition. I remember meeting with SSV’s Headteacher, Paul Topping and having several discussions about launching a record label. I always received full support and sometimes Paul would even help me speed up the bureaucratic process by handling several matters himself.

BSN Sessions has grown from strength to strength since its first appearance. It all started with a single track released on Spotify; now BSN Sessions has produced full albums showcasing the school musicals and all the amazing student ensembles. BSN Sessions is available on all major digital streaming platforms as well as on CDs and vinyl records. That’s right… Selling is a big part of the project as the money generated by sales is utilised to fund the next project. So, please support this creative student-led project and order a vinyl, you will be impressed with the quality. And of course, being an international school, BSN Sessions ships worldwide!