Students at Newcastle College have received a musical masterclass by two musicians who between them have played for artists including Ed Sheeran, Corrine Bailey Rae and Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor.
Former Newcastle College student and Little Comets Drummer David ‘Greenie’ Green and bass player Will Kontargyris visited the college to advise current music students about how to break into the industry, as well as perform a number of tracks, including two tracks by Michael Jackson, who some of the students are currently studying as part of their courses, and Rio by Duran Duran.
The pair met during session work for former X Factor contestant Katie Waissel, and have now started their own business, GK Rhythm Section, as a way of developing their careers as session musicians.
The visit to the college’s Performance Academy also saw both musicians talk about their experiences of the music industry as well as answer questions from students keen to make the next step.
David, who studied an HND in Music Production at Newcastle College and lives in Gateshead, said: “This visit was a great opportunity for me and Will to speak to up and coming artists face to face about the opportunities available, as well as the many hurdles that they will have to overcome along the way. It can be a very difficult industry to break into, so our message is to persevere, get yourself out there, network as much as you can and consider every opportunity that comes your way.”
The visit followed a number of recent master classes at Newcastle College, including those from former Paul Weller and Style Council drummer Steve White and Aaron Spears, who has provided the drum beats for superstars including Usher, Alicia Keys and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
Will, who is based in Leeds and has also played as a session musician in musical productions such as The Lion King and Fame, said: “Young musicians have to realise that their musical ability will only get them so far and that selling and marketing themselves is just as important. It can be a steep learning curve, so it’s important that students are given as much advice as possible from musicians that have experience in the industry.”
Arron Walton, Lecturer in Music Performance at Newcastle College, said: “Life as a session musician can be very busy, so it was great that David and Will found time to visit the students. Newcastle College provides a wide range of tailor made music courses, including a BTEC in Music for DJ Producers and a number of Songwriting courses, and these visits are a great way of backing up what the students have learned as well as better prepare them for the challenges ahead.”
For more information about music courses at Newcastle College's Lifestyle Academy please visit www.newcastlecollege.co.uk