Guest musicians inspire our students

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 16:19:00 GMT

We've had a great concert season so far and have welcomed some amazing performers some of whom have led enlightening masterclasses. Our students have had the chance to meet some inspirational musicians who we managed to interview! Here's a roundup of this year's visitors.  

Jah Wobble

In January, Jah Wobble, an English bass guitarist, singer, poet and composer came to the University to give a masterclass and perform for our students. He was introduced to Rupert Till through University of Huddersfield Music Technology alumnus Martin Chung who is now touring with Jah Wobble as a guitarist in his band.

The concert in Phipps Hall was the first one the band had done this year. “I love the idea of coming to a university to do a lunchtime show; it’s really nice and makes a change from just doing evening shows” said Jah Wobble.

In our interview he says that pretty much everything and anything inspires him from views, to paintings, films, and even a mood. Jah Wobble said “You can inspire yourself; just pick up a bass and start making some funny bass line and you can inspire yourself in life.”

Jah Wobble very much enjoyed his short stay at the University and liked the idea of doing a workshop at the end of the concert to make it more interactive with the audience. He calls this ‘deep space’ - referring to an old band of his.

“My final comments to musicians and performers would be to drop everything when you walk on stage, especially when you go into a deep groove territory and not to be clichéd and be in the moment.”











You can watch our full interview with Jah Wobble here


Richard Barbieri was another big name who performed for us in January. Richard was spotted a few years ago by Rupert Till when he was doing some work for Roland Vintage Synthesisers. “Doing a masterclass and performance here at the University appealed to me because of the surroundings and it’s an environment where the acoustics are nice and the audience is far more attentive than you would usually get on the music circuit” said Barbieri.

The opportunity at Huddersfield gave Barbieri the chance to play more ambient and delicate music because of the surroundings, which he says is a change to his usual performances.

Barbieri has been a professional musician for over 40 years and is very well known within the industry. One of his earlier bands ‘Japan’ had a lot of success in the late 70s and early 80s. The band released 5 studio albums with the last one being a classic with commercial and critical success.

In the 90s, Barbieri joined a progressive rock band called ‘Porcupine Tree’ which he was a part of for 20 years. Porcupine Tree started off playing in small clubs and venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and have been Grammy nominated twice.

Richard spoke to us about what inspires him and he said “As opposed to other music, which I listen to for enjoyment, inspiration usually comes from a lot of other things in life itself, such as sounds, emotions, atmospheres, environments, films, and books; so all these kinds of things indirectly inspire me musically.”

We particularly liked that Richard Barbieri mentioned our music studios and how great he thought they were. He was astounded with the amount of equipment available and the amazing technology that students have access to today. He respects that our students are being encouraged to be creative and said it was the best place he had visited in relation to the Music Technology facilities.

Richard advises future musicians to do their own thing. “If you search for success or you want fame, in the end you’re not going to be true to yourself, whereas the people who reach the top using their own way will find belief in themselves.”











You can watch our full interview with Richard here

john thirkell snake davis

In March, we were visited by well-known British trumpet and flugelhorn player John Thirkell and renowned saxophonist Snake Davis. They came to lead a student workshop and master-class. Snake Davis has played with some of the world’s biggest artists such as Lisa Stansfield, Ray Charles and Tom Jones. John Thirkell first came onto the music scene in the 1980s and he was on at least one album in the UK charts continuously, without a break for over 13 years.

“For the past few years, we have been coming in with a trumpet player and a trombone player and playing through students’ brass arrangements.” said Snake.

“It’s wonderful that we have been invited in to do this as it has a number of valuable functions such as testing out the students’ arrangements and gives them a sense of the real world through what we do for a living.” Said Davis.

Snake has played on a number of tracks by very famous artists such as Westlife, Jamiroquai and Amy Winehouse.

“We’ve had a very inspiring day and we are happy to come in and give hints and tips and talk about our careers in the industry. If you’re thinking about this as a career, then keep at it because the press that the industry gets shouldn’t stop you from going for it, as you can have a wonderful career and you’ve got to give it your all.” Said Snake.











You can watch our full interview with Snake Davis here

 John Thirkell said he was very much enjoying being at the University and checking out all the facilities that are available. John has been a trumpet player all of his life and has been in a fair few bands such as Level 42, Jamiroquai and most recently played the trumpet on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ massive number one hit ‘Uptown Funk’

A week after the masterclass and concert, the duo came back to Huddersfield to record our composition students' arrangements - a fantastic opportunity for our students. “We have talked to some of the trumpet students and given them some ideas as to what it’s like to be a professional trumpet and saxophone player. The facilities are great, the staff are very nice, the students are very well engaged and I wish these facilities had been available for me when I was their age.” said John.











You can watch our full interview with John Thirkell here

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