Next up in our Meet the Team series is James Wedlock, Arts Award Training Coordinator and talented guitarist and music composer.
My role is to monitor attendance at training courses and to support trained, and soon to be trained advisers with their delivery of Arts Award. I liaise with training agencies up and down the country to ensure that all of our courses are well-subscribed, which ultimately leads to more trained advisers delivering Arts Award to young budding artists!
I have been in my role since the middle of 2016, and already I am thoroughly enjoying working with other likeminded, creative people and enabling young people to pursue their artistic hobbies. I am fortunate enough to hear about some of the great projects that advisers are working on with young people, knowing a qualification in the arts is being achieved where it could otherwise not be possible.
I took to the arts relatively late in life, compared to many of my peers. I remember being in year 8 and watching one of my school mates perform a cover of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song and thought, ‘that looks like a lot of fun!’. For Christmas that year, I asked my parents for a sunburst Fender Stratocaster - the same model as John Frusciante (the lead guitarist of the Chilli Peppers), which I still use today. I played as rhythm guitarist in an indie band and a ten piece ska band for many years with school friends, however both have now unfortunately disbanded.
During the same period where I was aspiring to become a rock star, I also picked up a keen interest in musical composition. One of the modules in GCSE music was to compose a 5-minute soundtrack to a written-word storyboard, where the brief determined the mood, timings, and general plot development. I spent hours and hours writing the music to this imaginary plot and I felt for the first time a real sense of musical freedom, which I never really achieved through playing rhythm guitar. If it was not for this module, I would not have decided to pursue my musical training further; A Level and a subsequent university degree.
I studied Music Composition at university, with a specific focus on writing music for film, TV and videogames. I formed a small network of creative individuals in other fields, namely film and television, where I worked on the music to numerous short films and other visual media based projects. I thoroughly enjoy the collaborative process, which can involve working independently, but ultimately being able to discuss and evaluate ideas with others and generally bringing projects to life. I still find time to write music for this medium, even when I’m busy working on other Arts Award projects.
When I’m not sat at the keyboard, attempting to write the main theme for a film that hasn’t been written yet, I’m playing golf, which my dad taught me how to play when I was very young. Since many of the musical projects that I work on involve sitting in front of the computer, heading outdoors for a round of 18 holes with friends or family can help strike a good workload balance. It is not only relaxing, but it can also provide a surprisingly healthy bout of musical inspiration when the notorious writer’s block sets in!