Popular Music personal statement
An early introduction to music was something I welcomed enthusiastically, not only in primary school (recorder etc), but also outside school. Many of my family being musicians, I was very much brought up amidst musical surroundings. I started learning drums and guitar from my dad and brother, at around 9, and was playing gigs in my own band, at the age of 10. Since then, I have been taking my music a lot more seriously but with the same joy and excitement. At secondary school, I was the drummer/percussionist for many school ensembles, including: orchestra, wind, cellidh, jazz, and choir bands, as well as my own band. These commitments were taken very seriously and I am now grateful to have had the opportunity to gain such an understanding of different situations and applications for my instrument. My main achievements in this field are: a tour of Germany with the orchestra and winning a Balerno School Music Award with wind band.
Not only have I had experience playing drum kit, orchestral percussion, and hand drums, but I also write my own solo material on acoustic guitar and piano. Another interest of mine, is the use of electronic instruments, both hardware and software. Having played in an electronica act, I have learned and developed skills in using this equipment, which have broadened my abilities in music production.
I was also involved in the founding and running of a promotion company, mainly intended to promote my band at the time. Having more success than predicted, I started to put on club nights and other live music nights in Edinburgh and Glasgow. With the proceeds, I designed and built a project studio, together with some fellow musicians. In the basement of a rented shop, it's purpose was for our own projects, with the occasional commercial recording session and guitar/drum lesson. This did not only teach me a lot about working with others in a business environment, and about the technicalities of building the studio (sound proofing/acoustics etc) but also presented a whole new area of creation for me to explore. I have since learned a lot about analogue and digital recording techniques and am competent in many software packages for sound recording/production. With my brother and friend both having HND's in Audio Technology, I was fortunate enough to learn from them. Since then, I have moved to a larger and more professional setup where I teach and record, alongside my brother, who is my partner in music as well business. On top of experience in recording artists, I have also had work in live sound engineering, (Ego, Ark, Cannons Gait, Renfrew Ferry).
Outside of music, my greatest interest has to be travelling; though invariably my passion for music follows. Checking out gigs, getting involved whenever possible (jazz/folk sessions etc). Often I try to gain some education from the more exotic places, where the music is perhaps a little different from my learned styles. In Morocco, I had lessons in Arabic/Berber rhythms, in Cuba I had conga/bongo lessons and in India I attended an ashram for sitar. All incredible experiences that have definitely helped broaden my scope as a composer and understanding as a musician. Like many musicians, I have had to look outside the music industry for work in the past. For 4 years, I worked in an office/telephone centre for opinion research. As a project supervisor, I was personally responsible for 10-100 employees, and had various other responsibilities, which did teach me a lot.
It has always been a goal of mine to do the degree in popular music. As someone who has been involved in the music industry, in various fields, I feel I have an understanding of what I want to achieve from the course and believe I will have the focus and drive to complete it and to move on to a postgrad for teaching music. My recent experience in teaching drums and percussion, has been very rewarding to me, and has made me even more certain of my choice of career.
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