JAMES | Summer Schools


At JAMES, we realised many of the courses we inspected were missing the challenge of requiring students to work alongside people they had never met before in facilities they had never seen before and with an artist they had never heard before. And they had to DELIVER!
So in 2010, in collaboration with the Gus Dudgeon Foundation (GDF), JAMES organised - for some of the best hand picked students from across our accredited courses - to spend a week working with an experienced engineer / producer, recording an artist they had never previously met.

"Gus" Dudgeon was a pioneering record producer in the 1970s, who oversaw many of Elton John's most acclaimed recordings. Their collaboration led to seven US No. 1 albums, and established Elton John as the most successful singles artist of the ‘70s.
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Ken Scott and team reviewing work during GDF / JAMES Summer School 2022 at Leeds Beckett University

Gus Dudgeon also produced Chris Rea's first hit, Fool (If You Think It's Over), and David Bowie's Space Oddity, and steered many other artists to chart success, including Joan Armatrading and Elkie Brooks. The Guinness Book of Records cites Gus as being the first person to use sampling in music production.

Gus was also a founding member of the Music Producers Guild (MPG), the organisation that alongside the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) were responsible for the birth of JAMES. In 2009, the MCI mixing console, the 24 track analogue tape recorder and some of the outboard equipment Gus used at ‘Mill Studios’ in Berkshire had been installed as a working studio facility at the University of Glamorgan, [now the University of South Wales]. The studio was opened, attended by Joan Armatrading with a video message from Elton John, and so became the perfect legacy location to run the first GDF / JAMES Summer School. All the costs of running the event being funded by those organisations.

The first event was a huge success and immediately became an annual favourite, the demand being so high that in some years two events are organised.

See more detail from 2022 event here…
In 2018, resulting from an invitation to work with University of West Suffolk at West Suffolk College, a unique opportunity arose to study how to prepare and undertake the recording of a full orchestral performance. The JAMES Orchestral Recording Sessions were born.

The inaugural event offered post-graduate students practical training and ‘live’ recording experience with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra.
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The RPO performing at Cadogan Hall, 2019 Summer School.
You can hardly see a microphone (that's the idea!).

Hosted by West Suffolk College, the five day course was made up of -
* two days of orchestral recording preparation at University of Suffolk, Atrium Building.
* one day recording the rehearsal and concert of the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra at The Apex live venue, Bury St Edmunds.
* one day recording the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford.
* one day at University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College mixing an orchestral recording.

2019 saw selected students again undertaking preparatory studies at University of Suffolk which this time culminated in the recording of a live performance of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall in London.

This opportunity has also become a valued annual event although the exact nature of the programme and locations involved are determined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s summer schedule.

See more detail from past events here…

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