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About James H
James is a talented, hard-working and enthusiastic drummer and saxophonist, based in Leeds. In 2019 he graduates from Leeds College of Music in BA (Hons) Jazz Drums. James has studied under Sebastian De Krom and Dave Walsh who have played with none other than Jamie Cullum, Chaka Khan and Sister Sledge.
James is very active as a gigging musician, performing throughout Leeds and the North of England regularly with multiple bands. His band 'Racoon Dog Soup' is a contemporary Jazz band performing original music. They have supported acts such as 'Rollertrio' and 'Werkha, and often take part in 'JazzNorth' education schemes. They have also played at the Leeds Jazz Festival in 2018 and at the First Direct Arena in 2019 engaging many members of the public with their music. James is also engaged regularly with function work playing pop tunes at parties, weddings and large events.
James has taught in his hometown Suffolk over the past 4 years and, after moving to Leeds, he has taught in various workshops with young musicians at Leeds College of Music, including at the Alt-Shift-J festival. For him, music is important to explore one’s creativity and emotional development. Learning an instrument can give a sense of achievement to an individual and helps develop self-confidence and involves using multiple parts of the brain leading to improvements in certain motor and auditory skills.
Teaching in Drums
James teaches drums and percussion to all ages from absolute beginners to advanced students.
He is very patient and encouraging to all his students and has a lot of self-motivation and great organisational skills. James tries to use a range of teaching techniques to help his students, such as developing their musicianship through listening, clapping, performing and singing. He likes to engage students with creative and stimulating tasks to keep them focused and on their toes! James makes sure to pick appropriate material and exercises, depending on the student’s preferences and interests, whether it be in rock drumming, funk and jazz playing or learning to play along with your favourite bands.
He has experience working with grades and loves to see his students excel and achieve. He recognises different exam boards and their specific marking criteria and hopes to teach his students how to achieve the best grade possible, if that is what they want.
Typical lessons are exciting and focused on engaging the student with their task. Each student will have a personalised plan based around areas they want to explore, whilst also incorporating important elements such as technique, tone and theory in a fun and engaging way.
Teaching in Saxophone
James can teach Saxophone to all ages and abilities on alto, tenor and baritone saxophone.
James has been playing saxophone for 6 years and in that time has played for various function bands, big bands and jazz bands. Most recently, he played at the Leeds town hall to an audience of over 1000 people and currently plays Baritone sax in a professional big band which has gigged around the North of England.
James will always guide his student to achieve their own individual goals. Each lesson will be a personalised plan specific to that student allowing them to create a real passion for the instrument and music in general.
Learning to understand and read sheet music is an important skill when learning the saxophone and James uses a variety of genres to widen his student’s musical palette. This will include music such as early Jazz standards and modern chart hits.
As well as this, James recognises the importance of training one’s ear by using improvisation. This method is fun and expressive and can help students create their own sound and melodic ideas on the instrument. It is also a great way to consolidate everything the student has learnt.
Versatile and able to teach in a wide variety of genres, James specialises in Jazz, Latin, fusion, funk and pop.
James understands that students can be nervous for their first lesson and that is why each lesson will begin with a simple chat. Your first lesson will always be fun as we explore your musical influences, what motivates you and which direction you want to take your playing. A little improvising on the instrument is a great way to get stuck in and develop the skills you have learnt from your lessons.
Beginners will only need to bring themselves. For drum lessons, you can bring drumsticks if you have them, but they can be provided for lessons. James recommends purchasing a practice pad so that your practice can be taken anywhere!
For those who may not want to purchase a saxophone straight away you can also rent them from some music shops, so you can get a taste for the instrument before buying one.
Lessons will start off very relaxed and simple. You will discuss influences and there will be some fun and engaging activities to get you stuck straight in.