Summer Course 2016 (11 – 15 July)
The fifth annual Gus Dudgeon Foundation (GDF) and JAMES summer course hosted by Beatles engineer and David Bowie producer Ken Scott at Leeds Beckett University completed today (Friday 15 July).
The week long recording session was led by Producer and engineer, Mark Hutchinson of Rooksmere studios, with Ken Scott leading break-off masterclass sessions, in which multitracks recorded with Gus Dudgeon were deconstructed.
This year’s student of the week prize – the Complete bundle of SSL plugins, went to De Montford University graduate Anthony Sotelo who wrote:
My week on the Gus Dungeon Foundation masterclass has granted me invaluable experience and knowledge in the field of music production. From learning and connecting with my peers, I have gained contacts and friends, in this challenging industry. But also from the chance to work closely with a seasoned engineer has helped me gain an insight to what it is to be a working sound engineer and I feel very fortunate for the experience. Thank you to Leeds Beckett for having me, and to the Gus Dungeon Foundation and JAMES for providing this amazing opportunity for us lucky few – and thank you to Mark and Ken for sharing their knowledge with us. I would recommend this masterclass to anyone looking to take music production seriously in the future.
All students were provided with SSL’s Essentials bundle of plugins, and a signed copy of Ken Scott’s book Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust.
Track recorded by Summer Course students and performed by Cat-Una, otherwise known as Catherine O’Neill, a final year Leeds Beckett BA (Hons) Music Production and Performance student. Catherine wrote the song as part of her university project.
Read more student feedback and our press release below:
I really enjoyed the week, I learnt a lot of useful ideas and techniques that I’m sure I will carry forward with me. I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have been part of the experience with such a great group of people with similar interests. I hope the course continues to run in the future as it is such a great opportunity. Thank you very much to everybody involved; Cat, for allowing us to record her song, Mark, Ken, Ray, Bob, Steve and the sponsor.
The main thing I took from the week was being reassured that if you capture the sound correctly in the room, then it leaves much less for the producer to do in the mix. I was very interested in watching Mark Hutchinson work, and was amazed at how much time he spent actually deciding on his sounds and microphones before beginning a take. The end results were clearly stronger for this effort early on. You do get told to do this in uni but watching a working producer put the theory in to practice was invaluable. Ken had some fantastic insight in to the mindset of the producer / engineer, and I was really pleased to meet him and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
The week was a great learning experience in many ways and it was lovely to share it with such enthusiastic and like-minded people. Mark (the producer) was really inclusive to the group and open to ideas from everyone, which made the production feel much more like a collaboration than simply shadowing a producer. Aside from his obvious technical skill, I was impressed and inspired by the manner in which he dealt with the artist throughout, and it was a privilege to have Ken Scott and Ray Russell involved too, both masters of their craft. The studio was ideal and the equipment from the sponsors was an added luxury. I left with not only a valuable addition to my C.V., but a unique learning experience in a real-world production scenario too, and I am now further encouraged and equipped to pursue my passion in a career of recording and production. Thank you to everyone involved.
The Gus Dudgeon Foundation and JAMES course was amazing – the perfect end to three years of hard study. It put into context so many different areas of audio production that I have enjoyed throughout my degree and I learnt a huge amount. All the staff were extremely supportive, knowledgeable and approachable and it was great to work with such talented artists. The facilities were fantastic, the other graduates were enthusiastic and fun to work with, and the accommodation was great. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in the recording studio with such awesome professionals as Ken Scott, Mark Hutchinson, Ray Russell and Steve Parker and I would like to thank the Gus Dudgeon Foundation for everything.
To be able to learn from a sound engineer like Mark Hutchinson was fantastic. He provided some great knowledge and was always happy to answer any questions I had. As well as that he liked to let us get into the setup, controlling the desk and even took on board our points of view on the process of recording. A great time recording, where everything I said felt valid and I was always eager to contribute because of this. On top of this to be able to speak and learn from a legendary engineer and producer like Ken Scott was truly invaluable. His stories and knowledge were highly insightful and I will take them into the future with a strong respect, and the hope to also bring that level of pride and love to my work. I cannot thank everyone at Gus Dudgeon Foundation, JAMES and Leeds Beckett University enough for the experience. All the people involved, staff and fellow classmates, were amazing and made my time there incredibly special.
The week at Leeds Beckett University was an astonishing experience. Watching Mark’s approach to production was a learning experience that one cannot replicate in a normal university lecture. It gave me a tremendous insight into how to take onboard any future project and how to transform and shape songs, communicate with the artists and the thought process behind it all. The visit from Ken Scott was incredible. Listening to the Rocket Man multitrack’s really showed me what an extraordinary amount of talent went into the performances, production and recording. Ken was really nice to speak to and he was kind enough to provide a copy of his book for each of us, which was much appreciated. Everyone that participated was lovely and engaged. Catherine and the other musicians were incredibly talented, all us students hit the tone well and Mark is a really nice guy. Thanks to Steve Parker for organizing this together with the rest of the GDF/JAMES team and thanks to Jon Thornton, head of Sound Technology at LIPA, for letting me participate.
My week in Leeds was a time that I will never forget. All of the other students I met were really cool and we all got on so well! I loved being surrounded by like minded people and I learnt a great deal from those guys. Meeting Ken Scott was incredible and inspired us all, his passion was infectious and he taught us all so much; not just about microphone placements, but also about attitude and mentality. The week exceeded all of my expectations and I met an amazing group of people! Just wanted to say a huge thank you for this week, it really was an amazing experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
I have had an excellent week on the Gus Dudgeon Foundation and JAMES summer course. I’ve been lucky enough to experience a professional level production of a song from start to finish. The artist (Cat-Una) was very talented, as were the session musicians that helped out. Throughout the week I have seen a different perspective on the recording and mixing process and this has allowed me to learn some different techniques and approaches to various tasks. Ken explained how he made his way in the industry and shared some invaluable advice. I am grateful to everyone involved for putting such an event on, and to the sponsors for providing some great equipment. I have met some lovely people who were all skillful engineers and hope to stay in contact!
Looking back at my week at Leeds Beckett as part of the Gus Dudgeon Foundation, I feel it was a great experience that really opened my eyes in to seeing how a working professional operates in a recording studio. To have the opportunity to work alongside Mark Hutchinson and to see first hand how he works and operates in the studio was a real eye opener, especially the way he got the best performances out of the artist (Cat-Una) and the other session musicians. The equipment that we had to use over the week was a brilliant new opportunity for me as I have not used such high quality equipment before.
Having Ken Scott coming in to talk to us about his career, show us multitracks including Rocket Man and giving us an insight in to how he worked, the equipment he used and his mindset throughout the process was absolute gold. I feel like this was an extremely beneficial experience that helped me expand my knowledge of the recording process and made my passion towards working in the music industry even stronger.
A massive thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the masterclass the past week, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have learned a huge amount while shadowing Mark and listening to Ken – I am truly grateful!
The fifth annual Gus Dudgeon Foundation (GDF) and JAMES summer course brings together 11 of the best-performing final year music technology and production students from across the UK to take part in five days of recording on both analogue and digital systems with experienced producer and engineer, Mark Hutchinson. Mark has worked with a variety of genres of artists at the famous Rooksmere studios in Northampton; from pop and rock to classical, Indian and jazz.
The course, which takes place from Monday 11 to Friday 15 July, is held each year for universities accredited by JAMES, a consortium of music, entertainment and media industry organisations collaborating in the support of education and promotion of excellence. It is run by JAMES in collaboration with the GDF, a non-profit foundation established to help top audio technology students in British universities gain real-life production experience alongside their studies. The GDF was created in tribute to the late producer, Gus Dudgeon, who is best-known for his work with Elton John, a patron of the foundation.
Hosting the event, and awarding the prize for the best student on the course, will be Beatles engineer and David Bowie producer, Ken Scott (pictured top right). Ken is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University with 52 years’ experience in the recording industry.
Dr Steve Parker, Principal Lecturer in Music Technology and Production at Leeds Beckett (pictured top left), explained: “We’re thrilled to be holding this year’s GDF Summer Course here at Leeds Beckett as it allows our students to meet and network with those from the other JAMES-accredited courses. Getting to work with some of their peers from other higher education institutions and professional practitioners adds to their skills and knowledge and enables them to continue to work over the summer in a creative environment. Having Ken Scott host this year’s course will give them a unique insight into how Gus worked and the opportunity to listen to some of his original multi-track recordings.”
Representing Leeds Beckett on the course will be BA (Hons) Music Production student, Paul Brown. Paul currently produces music under the name Sons of Great Men and has previously drummed for bands including the Bazaars and the Blueskins. He was nominated by academic staff at Leeds Beckett as a result of his passion for recording, his commitment to his studies and his proactive work ethic.
Cat-Una (Recording Artist)
Catherine O’Neill, a final year BA (Hons) Music Production and Performance student at Leeds Beckett, will also join in as the resident recording artist. Performing under the name Cat-Una, Catherine wrote the song that the group will work on throughout the week as part of her final year university project.
She said: “I have been gigging around Leeds as a singer-songwriter throughout 2015 and played at Fort Fest in Hertfordshire and Live at Leeds 2016 at The Faversham patio. I’m currently preparing for the Reading and Leeds Futuresound competition that is taking place on 3 July at The Wardrobe in Leeds and very much looking forward to the GDF/JAMES week.”
Universities taking part alongside Leeds Beckett are Leicester De Montfort, Abertay, Huddersfield, Hertfordshire, Anglia Ruskin, Lincoln, Buckinghamshire New University, University of South Wales, Derby, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and the University of Central Lancashire.
Sponsors for the event are supplying a selection of equipment for use on the recording. They are: Unity Audio, who are providing Unity Rock nearfield monitors; Source Distribution, supplying an API the Box console, API Lunch Box and Genelec 8351 monitors; and Solid State Logic are donating a full set of SSL plug-ins for the Student of the Week prize.