The transition from full time musician to full time academic is a path that many music lecturers have undertaken. Where as 15 years ago I would have considered myself to be a musician – academic, these days I am firmly an academic – musician. However I do feel that past professional experience can give you both credibility with students (hopefully) and more importantly a wealth of knowledge that you can impart. Indeed industrial knowledge is becoming an important factor in modern education, as the government encourages universities to engage with industry via Foundation Degrees, and this is something I am currently researching in relationship with Roland UK (more of this later). It is interesting how the UK government can encourage growth in student numbers and at the same inform the university sector that they will not support this growth next year. Additionally, it concerns me that thanks to the recent Further Education Act ((2007)2007colleges now have the powers to award and potentially franchise Foundation Degrees. My simple question is this: how will the FE sector symbiotically work with HE if we are direct competitors? Again this is something I will return to in future posts. To conclude, one of the most difficult things I find time to do is to keep track of the massive range of new artists that are coming through. Although I have been aware of this for a number of years, it become really apparent recently when I arranged a music industry conference at the ATRiuM in Cardiff (where I work). The seminars were arranged as part of this years SWN music festival in the city and featured around 200 bands. Alongside more established bands, the festival featured many unsigned up and coming artists, and it made me realise the need to improve my contemporary knowledge of popular music. Hence, I intend to focus some of these posts on my discoveries. To kick things off, I discovered an amazing new guitarist this week on Last FM. His name is Guthrie Govan, and he is an unusual talent. Here is a video of him playing a track off his solo album Exotic Cakes.
It is called ‘Fives’, and it is an interesting exercise in how to compose a melodic theme in a compound signature. I thought it was particularly interesting how he mixes the jazz/rock influences of guitarists such as Scott Henderson (in particular), Allan Holdsworth and Mike Stern with the two handed techniques associated with players such as Steve Via. Also note how he has assimilated the outside playing normally more associated with jazz – check out this. In short, this guy as a major talent who deserves far more credit – I am buying the album now!
Anyway, to finally conclude this post, and as a snapshot of the previous life I referred to earlier, here is a live performance of me playing with the James Taylor Quartet circa 1989 – before the grey hairs.