Jimmy Stuttard, BMus Saxophone, 2015

How long have you been playing the sax for, and how did you get started?

I have been playing the sax since I was about 13.  I originally started on the clarinet (which I still keep up now for doubling purposes and swing bands!) when I was about 9, and moved onto the sax a few years later.

What are your main personal achievements since being at the RNCM?

Of all the things I’ve ended up doing directly because of coming to the RNCM I’d have to say that playing with the RNCM Session Orchestra in the School’s Proms at the Royal Albert Hall is one of the biggest moments so far.  The Session Orchestra is an awesome ensemble of pop course students comprising a full rhythm section with auxiliary percussion and 2 keyboards and all that, plus a full string action and brass section of classical course students, and 6 singers from across both courses.  The band plays pop, rock, funk, soul and all kinds of other music and we played to a packed Royal Albert Hall audience with a 5000 strong children’s choir behind us, it was seriously epic!

What opportunities are there for Jazz players like yourself at RNCM?

There are many different ways to go about playing jazz at the RNCM – for one the Jazz Collective and the Big Band put on multiple shows per term and all classical students that play big band instruments have the opportunity to play in these ensembles, and the pop course students are starting to join in the sections too. As well as that there is expert tuition from in house and visiting tutors which is readily available from year 2, but many jazz classes and workshops from the word go in 1st year.  Also, there’s always getting some like minded cats together and just having a jam!

What do you like about being a student in Manchester?

Being a student in Manchester is brilliant! Everything is accessible and the transport system is good, the nightlife (whether you’re into clubs/bars or pubs and quirky watering holes) is awesome and there’s genuinely something, usually close by, for everyone. There are student safe zones across the city and in general I feel safe wherever I go at any time of day or night.  The music venues across the city are excellent from small working bars and pubs with live music to Manchester Academy and MEN arena, you’re pretty sorted for somewhere to see live music!

What do you plan to do after your studies here?

Although Manchester is a sweet place and would definitely be my base if I were to stay in the UK, I want to go somewhere else! I have my winter season already booked to play in Zermatt ski resort in Switzerland and my summer season in Lagos, Portugal with one of the bands I play with, which will keep me busy for half the year and earn me some money. Then, for the rest of the year I want to travel with a backpack and a saxophone and see where the wind takes me!  That’s the plan for a few years at least!