"I've been given the opportunity to learn my instrument inside out. I've gained a deeper understanding of how music works - how to bring out who I am in my playing and put it into a band setting."


Samantha Brown - BA (Hons) Music (Jazz)

Meet Samantha Brown, a second year student currently studying on the Jazz music degree.

Sam recently released her debut project, Loop Sessions: Songs of the Good Old Days. The six track EP is available to stream on Spotify.

Has your music / approach / technique changed at all since your first year?

My music has changed a lot since I started studying Jazz at the Conservatoire. I have a much more sophisticated and unique approach to my playing, you can actively see the difference in my compositions whilst was studying in Leeds. I have used a lot more chromatic notes and Phrygian modes like in The Alchemist. I've been involved with folk music and I can hear how it has influenced my playing such as in Jupiter's Jig.

What has been the most interesting project you have worked on so far?

I've been involved in so many rewarding projects, the one I hold dearest was my first project. I had the opportunity to play with TC and the Groove Family at The Wardrobe in my foundation year, they re-vamped my original tune Summertime as part of their set - it's incredible hearing a piece I made on a violin and loop pedal transformed and played by 15 piece band! I was a special guest for the rest of their set. Leeds Samba and K.O.G and the Zongo Brigade also played, my friends were there and my parents came up from my home town to watch the gig, it was a very big night for me.

Is there anything that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you've not tried before?

I attended a week-long Jazz course at the conservatoire with Rob Mitchell a couple weeks before my audition. It was so informative, I learned so much every day, I had the chance to study music I had not explored previously. I found Simon Kaylor's transcription lessons in first year pretty difficult. We constantly learned new repertoire, we learnt to really break them down and write parts ourselves. It helped me to take on approaches that I didn't know before.

What sort of accommodation are you living in? What advice would you give to new students about accommodation?

I live by myself this year, I feel it's exactly where I want to be, I'm very happy and peaceful. I didn't live in Conservatoire halls in my first year, I lived in a student accommodation in Meanwood. If you don't connect with your flatmates for whatever reason, then go out and find the people who make you feel special. Have respect for the people you live with even if they aren't your vibe. Try to communicate with your flatmates. Don't be afraid to speak up if someone's playing music too loud or isn't washing their dishes regularly. Have fun with them, go clubbing, have a flat party, play cards and what not. Speak to your friends and accommodation advisers if you're having trouble. And even if the people in halls aren't your best friends, try to make connections outside of your accommodation.

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What do you get up to outside of Leeds Conservatoire?

I'm a scout leader, I recently started leading at Little Woodhouse Cub Scouts. I play regularly at The Sunday Practice at Selar Bar. I love busking and playing my own music in public, I have a deep and respectful reputation for that. I like to take part in Extinction Rebellion activity when I can. I like to take time to meditate and pray, spend days out in nature, read, write and knit in my free time.

Have you been involved in the SU / societies or other Leeds Conservatoire activities?

I was involved in the orchestra in my first year, I was also in the orchestra pit for an opera that the Conservatoire organised. I did some work with the Conservatoire's Musicians' Booking Agency and played at a Wedding Fayre for them. I've played at B-Side and the Folk Showcase, I've taken part in nearly all of the masterclasses I attended. I was part of the LC Earth Society, I played with the Blu Flames at HiFi as part of the Sounds Like This festival, we also supported Nubiyan Twist at Band on the Wall in Manchester.

What is the best thing about living and studying in Leeds?

What's not the best thing about being in Leeds! The Conservatoire is incredible, I was really fortunate to get the place I got. I've learned to show who I am, to harness my potential and be a proper musician in the real world. I've learned and gained a deeper understanding of how music works - how to bring out who I am in my playing and put it into a band setting. I've learned how my instrument works inside out. Living in Leeds is a great city to live in as a student, there are so many people who you can meet and make connections with and call your own. There are so many events and places to experience, to make the best memories here. There's so much to do - so many opportunities to grow, to learn about yourself and who you are.

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of applying to your course?

I'd say, think about why you want to attend, what you can bring to the conservatoire and what it can offer you. Brainstorm ideas on who you are and who you want to be as a musician. What you'd like to be as a musician in the future. Make sure you're at your highest level of playing and show your potential to the tutors. You don't need to know everything yet, you just need to feel ready to embark on the journey at Leeds Conservatoire.

Find out more about BA (Hons) Music (Jazz) at Leeds Conservatoire

Find out more about Samantha Brown: Facebook

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