JAMES | David Ward RIP


29 April 1943 - 5 June 2023
JAMES and TiME Founder

JAMES is deeply saddened to announce the passing of its Founder and a leading figure in our industry for many decades, David Ward FRSA.

David spent his life in the music Industry, starting out as a club and concert promoter, a professional singer and recording studio owner, manager and sound engineer. He founded Gateway Studios in 1976 and went on to co-found the Gateway School of Recording, Music Technology and Music Business Studies.

Gateway was the first independent music industry school in Europe and pioneered many new learning methods and areas of study. He was a true innovator with a passion for education.
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The model of studios hiring people straight from school to learn the art of recording from the bottom up had existed for as long as the industry itself. From the 80s and 90s there was an expanding number of colleges and universities offering courses in recording. Studio managers began questioning the relevance of these courses and the employability of their graduates. They turned to David Ward to address this and the foundations for an organisation to accredit courses in creative technologies was born.

After successfully running an accreditation initiative for various trade bodies representing studios, producers, engineers, equipment developers/suppliers, etc. it was decided to form a new stand-alone body – JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support) with David at the centre. This comprised representatives from the APRS (Association of Professional Recording Services) and MPG (Music Producers’ Guild) with the remit of maintaining the standards already in place and helping expand the programme whilst remaining relevant to the evolving technologies of recording.

David Ward remained at the core of everything ‘JAMES’ has achieved. As the organisation grew and the number and style of courses changed, David expanded his expert team whilst remaining the compass that guided the JAMES direction. He was a catalyst for great change, encouraging the development of technology in music education both in the UK and overseas.

Alongside his work with JAMES, David also founded a sister organisation, TiME (Technology in Music Education UK) in May 2019, with Richard Llewellyn and Kate Rounding. Their aim being to help create a greater awareness of new music technologies in education. TiME continues to grow from strength to strength, helping music teachers in schools and music Hubs; in Community music groups; and in SEND highlighting the use and development of new accessible music technology.

He remained a key figure in JAMES right to the end, even when it became clear he was losing his health to cancer. David’s drive, knowledge of the education landscape and understanding of how industry and education interlinked was unique. David lost his battle to cancer on 5th June 2023. He was a wonderful and kind man with true passion and drive - he continued to work as hard as ever from his hospital bed until the day he died.

The void he leaves for all of us who worked by his side will be profound. He was in, every sense, one of the good guys. The world of education will be a sadder place now that he is gone. But his legacy lives on in the good works that we carry on within JAMES.

Remember that the most important thing is Love” – David Ward (5.6.23)
He was the Sir George Martin of music education.
His vibrant personality, insightful perspectives, and warm presence will be deeply missed.
David’s family have indicated that if anyone would like to do something to celebrate his life then a donation to a relevant organisation or charity would be appropriate. The following were causes close to his heart – please choose.

Soundabout - www.soundabout.org.uk/help/donate/

The Amber Trust - ambertrust.org/donate-now/

Drake Music - www.drakemusic.org/support-us/donate/

English Folk Dance and Song Society - efdss.org/support-us/donate-now/general-donation

Adam Ockelford and Sounds of Intent - www.roehampton.ac.uk/research-centres/centre-for-learning-teaching-and-human-development/research-projects/sounds-of-intent/

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