Joe Perkins graduated from BMus(Hons) Music in 2014 and MA Composition in 2015.
What do you do now? What do you enjoy about what you do?
I am currently working as a professional musician. My work mostly consists of performing and teaching jazz guitar; However, I occasionally arrange/compose pieces for groups and ensembles and Film.
Since graduating I have performed for BBC Radio, The Royal Alert Hall, Wembley Stadium, Milton Court (Barbican), The Royal Academy of Art, The Spice of Life, Torino Jazz Festival, Bologna Jazz Festival, Shoreditch Town Hall and occasionally for Musical Theatre productions. I am currently working with my swing jazz combo, ‘Coco ‘n’ the Fellas’, and award winning Flamenco guitarist, Jorge Bravo.
I particularly enjoy the varied nature of working as a musician. City prepared me with so many useful skills that I feel comfortable adapting to almost any situation the job employs on an everyday basis.
What path have you taken to get there? Were there any particular areas of interest that lead to you specialising?
I worked previously with award winning composers Tom Haines and Chris Branch at ‘Brains and Hunch – Music for Moving Image’ and composed the OST for ‘Fault’, 2015 with my colleague, good friend and fellow City Alumni, Brian Case. I went on to teach guitar students privately and at Barrow Hill Junior School whilst recording guitar for a fantastic album of folk compositions by Amy Hollinrake, also City Alumni.
I eventually decided I wanted to pursue jazz guitar more seriously and started to perform with various different London based ensembles. I worked as an occasional accompanist for recitals at both City University of London and GSMD as my interest in the music of Django Reinhardt continued to develop. I am now touring the majority of the summer with my ensemble in England, Italy, Bulgaria and Ireland playing music in the style of Reinhardt.
Why did you choose to study at City, University of London and how has it helped you?
I chose to study at City due to it’s expert staff who provided us with invaluable advice and helped me to pursue my career above and beyond expectation. My strongest interests were jazz guitar and electroacoustic composition, and the staff were able to accommodate virtuoso tutelage for both of these requirements. The location is also fantastic, only a short distance from some of the best music venues in the country.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I’ve made some fantastic contacts through the course, many of whom I still work with on different projects. I also felt like the Lecturers were very accepting of us as a large group of musicians with many different musical backgrounds. The internship opportunities and work experience recommended by staff were a fantastic introduction to life as a full-time musician.
What was the hardest part of your course?
The hardest part of the course was balancing assignments, practicing my instrument, composing all whilst deciding on a more definitive musical path I wished to follow.
What was your favourite part of being a City Student?
Living and playing music with three fellow students for 4 years, and meeting my wife in student accommodation! I really admired the camaraderie from everyone on my course and a collective determination to exceed in what they love most, being a musician.
If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective City Music student, what would it be?
Be adaptable and study as many different aspects the course has to offer in order to find out what works best for you. Don’t spend all of your loan at the student bar either!
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