Held in conjunction with JAMES, the first Gus Dudgeon Foundation for Recording Arts music production experience course took place at Glamorgan University last month, writes David Davies.
Sponsored by KMR Audio, with additional mics provided by DPA, the seven-day course saw students work under the tutelage of producer Phil Harding. Beginning with the scheduling of a recording, students proceeded to work on a backing track with professional musicians, add vocals and overdubs, record strings and brass, and then mix. On the final day, they reflected on the week’s events and reviewed the finished recording.
Working out of a suite that houses the original MCI console on which Dudgeon recorded hit albums for Elton John and Jeff Beck, among many others, students had the opportunity to accrue ten credits valued at Masters level. In each addition, each student received a JAMES certficate signed by Harding.
“It was a great honour for me to lead this course in its inaugural year,” said Harding, pictured here with some of the students. “With the seven post-graduate students from various JAMES-accredited courses around the UK, we spent a fantastic week recording two songs with Cardiff band The Thieving Beggars. Thanks goes out to Dan Turner, who on behalf of Glamorgan University engineered the sessions and kept the MCI desk massaged and working tremendously for the whole week.”
Student reaction was positive, with Coventry University graduate David Leighton describing the week with Harding and Turner as “an invaluable insight into a professional recording session. Not only did I learn multiple techniques in terms of instrument miking and Pro Tools use, I also learned, more importantly, how to conduct a professional session and the level of ‘etiquette’ associated with a studio assistant’s job. […] Overall the intensive week’s course is a fantastic opportunity for those serious about moving into a career revolving around the recording studio and I would highly recommend it.”
Both the Foundation and the music production course are helping to keep alive the memory of Dudgeon, who died in a car accident in 2002. As a registered charity, it has not been easy for the Foundation to raise the necessary funds to organise training at this level. Now, with a successful first instalment under its belt, it is hoped that many more courses will follow.
Speaking to PSNE, Gus Dudgeon Foundation secretary and founder Chris Hook expressed gratitude for the contributions made by JAMES, the University of Glamorgan, DPA and KMR Audio, adding: “Everyone remembers Gus as a great producer. He was also a very generous man and he cared a lot about putting something back into the industry he loved; witness his work for the Music Producers Guild. I hope the industry will join me in making sure this course happens every year in his name.”