Masterclass: Adam Wakeman

17 March, 2017

Adam Wakeman’s illustrious recording career has seen him work with a host of A-list musicians, including Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart and Annie Lennox.

The son of legendary Yes keyboardist, Rick Wakeman, Adam has made a living as an in-demand touring musician and film/TV composer. So we felt very fortunate to be able to welcome him to BIMM Dublin recently for an informative and ‘eye-opening’ masterclass, hosted by himself and then later joined onstage by BIMM’s own Simon McBride to play a piece with him.

The session covered a broad range of topics and saw Adam deliver some expert insider advice to our audience of eager BIMM students.

We heard stories of his musical upbringing – Adam learned classical piano at the age of 8 – and how he has toured extensively with his father. He explained how music had always been his sole interest and it was his natural ability that led to a host of collaborations, including his current post as both keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, with whom he recorded the Grammy-nominated album ‘Scream’ in 2010.

Adam has also toured and worked closely with heavy metal gods Black Sabbath (fronted by Ozzy, of course), who recently played their final ever gig in Birmingham after almost 50 years in the business.

The gifted multi-instrumentalist also opened up about how he wanted to play music for a living with no desire to supplement the earnings of his first love with a part-time job. With this in mind, he decided to learn about publishing and composing for film, which later led to Adam creating The Perfect Music Library in 2013. This online and physical product-based production library offers music for TV and film, boasts scores from all manner of composers and renowned musicians.

A large part of Adam’s masterclass focused on the joy that a career in music can bring, and the importance of not becoming jaded.

“It’s supposed to be fun,” he told the audience. “We love music and want to earn a living from it.”

Adam also urged our students to play as much music as they can now, as it might not be the case in 10 years when life and family tend to take over. However, he did point out that music shouldn’t make you miserable – the money should never trump happiness.

With regards to working as a session musician, Adam encouraged the students to make connections and play in as many bands as they can. This is illustrated by his colourful music CV, which includes stints with commercial pop artists like Will Young and Atomic Kitten, as well as bands like Black Sabbath and Travis.

We caught up with several BIMM students after the masterclass to get their thoughts. BIMM Guitar alumnus Neil McAllister said:

“Adam had great charisma and presence. He touched on everything I wanted to know, including stories about all the bands he was in.””

Joe Merriman, BA4 Guitar, was equally impressed:

“The masterclass was very eye opening. Adam really helped answer questions I had about touring with my own band and how to play for other people – it was very beneficial.”

We at BIMM have been fans of Adam’s work for some time now, having followed his career. Throughout the masterclass, he spoke with enthusiasm and plenty of insight, and we’re grateful that he took the time out to inspire our students.

Best of luck for the future, Adam!

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