Building Dreams & New Futures

An Educated Yawn!

I wonder how you all react when you hear the words ‘education’, ‘college’ or ‘courses’ at the start of a speech? I rather suspect that many of you feel the strong need to stifle a yawn!

How tragic that far too often the places and activities described by these words have fully deserved that yawn and a large one at that!

So to better describe a dBs Music centre to all of you who haven’t yet experienced one I’d like to find some different words…

Passion in Progress

We have a warning sign written in large red letters ready to hang at the door of our new Berlin based centre which simply says “Passion in Progress”.

Passion in progress. Passion is a fabulous tool for the educator. Ignite the passion and the learning will almost happen all on its own. Passion is the fire that heats our creative juices to boiling point. Passion overcomes fear – the fear of failing, the fear of being different, the fear of falling behind our peers, the fear of jumping too far ahead of our peers, the fear of being ridiculed.

Losing that fear is paramount if we are to push our creative boundaries as far as they’ll go and envision futures not yet here.

Doing & Collaboration

Learning through doing and collaboration are key to the dBs approach. Of course our students also learn the theory which supports their doing. But doing is paramount and we think it is part of our duty to provide them with at least some of the ten thousand hours of practice that Anders Ericsson believes they need to become a real expert.

Collaboration is a part of everyday dBs life. Collaboration with our fellow students, collaboration with our tutors, collaboration across the wider online community and collaboration with the music industry experts and organisations with whom we are working in partnership.


Play is also a crucial ingredient in a dBs centre. In fact at times it can feel like a technological toy room. In a dBs centre we tend to assume that the wider the smile, the harder the work going on and the deeper the exploration.

Fun though a technological toy room can be, the technology alone is not enough. The most important ingredient is an environment which constantly encourages and develops creativity.

Technology married with creativity is what really makes our hearts sing.


Some of you will be wondering - So how does this help develop the industries and jobs that Berlin needs?

Creativity is a key core skill for 21st century employers and especially for those working in the creative, music and media industries.

To paraphrase Seth Godin:-

“In the creative world, value is created by connecting the passionate to each other.”


Entrepreneurship also has creativity at its core. The Berlin Senate have correctly identified increased levels of entrepreneurship as being key to developing the cities economic future.

Education itself is a booming world industry and a strong creator of employment. Berlin is very well placed to develop a strong education sector attracting large numbers of international students. Our dBs Music centre will aim to attract students not only from Berlin to Bremen but also from Brazil to Beijing and beyond.

Something to Kick Against

The educational structures or courses that we put around all of this life enhancing activity are merely containers or frameworks. When creative activity becomes too open ended it can rapidly transform into inaction or stasis. Lost in a world of infinite choice.

As creative individuals we need structure, a challenge to work within, a map of a journey, a resistance to help shape our ideas - or often just something to kick against!


When all is said and done and the latest technological toys have been put back in their cupboard for the night and the creative embers are just gently glowing, a dBs centre is about people. A creative community. Feeling welcome. Feeling part of something. A nurturing hothouse where people grow themselves and help grow others. A space for people to transform their lives.

Funkhaus History

I’d like to talk to you briefly about one of the buildings where we’re going to be based. A mammoth building complex sitting in a beautiful location alongside the river Spree was desperately looking for a new identity. These buildings had an extraordinary history. In their heyday 3500 people worked there. Amongst other things they housed numerous studio facilities, two permanent orchestras and two extraordinary world class halls for recording them in. Over the years, the buildings had gradually fallen into a state of disrepair.

Until 2007 when a new management team developed a new vision. A very creative vision. A vision free from fear. They decided that the best possible use they could make of these nearly derelict buildings was to fill them with musicians and artists and other creative enterprises.

Walking the Funkhaus

Just one floor of one of the buildings contains 10 large recording studios. Walking this very long corridor for the first time I heard a distant sax solo coming from one door, some muffled drum n bass coming from another, some awesome electronica noises from another and so it continued. It put a big smile on my face and I felt at home.

And the name of this building? I have to say this is such a great word in English! The Funkhaus.

Funkhaus Team

The team at the Funkhaus have done much of the hard work for us. They’ve created a fantastic environment full of creative individuals and now all we have to do is bring our people and our courses to add to this already creative space.

We hope that many of you here today will join us at the Funkhaus over the next few years and help create a place for people to build dreams and new futures.

The British Connection

And finally a few words on the British connection.

The British Music Industry has an international reputation for its music production talents.

Berlin has a fast growing reputation as a creative metropolis for the music and media industries.

At dBs Music we will combine the best of British with the best of Berlin to provide an inspirational space for learning and collaboration with a truly international outlook.

We look forward to being a small part of a much larger, very exciting process as Berlin transforms itself into a world class creative media city.

Thanks for coming and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible today, and over the coming months.

David Louis Puttick

Director, dBs Music Berlin