Guitar Masterclass with Pete Callard

4 April, 2016

BIMM London students were treated to an inspirational Masterclass session recently, when professional guitar session player, Pete Callard, popped in for a visit.

Pete began the session by discussing his professional journey so far ­–­ from starting out as a self-taught guitar player and studying jazz at a music school in Hollywood, to moving back to the UK and working the function scene and the West End.

Pete then discussed the differences between band work compared with playing in front of a conductor, and how performing in function bands and West End shows helped him to improve his professional skills, while enabling him to meet ‘fixers’ and MDs, who, in turn, allowed him to further his career.

Pete talked about his usual preparation for a West End production, stating that he generally receives a copy of the music, a recording of it and a conductor video in advance:

“You might also be able to sit in and see how they play and the vibe of the show. You don’t particularly have to sight read, as you do get a lot of preparation time. You can never prepare too much. You should prepare until you’re sick of the music!”

Next Pete explained to the BIMM audience how difficult working in West End shows can be:

They can get quite tedious, so it’s good to have a break. They’re very challenging and have to be completely perfect every time. They’re great for connections, however, and very easy to dep out. They’re also a great way to earn a healthy living but it’s good to take breaks from them.”

Pete was then asked by an audience member whether, as a session musician, he had a lot of free time, and if so, what he does with it. He mentioned that he thinks it’s necessary, during any time out, to find other artistic pursuits too; ones that help you to become a better musician:

Going out and watching films is important; going to museums too ­– just making sure you’re doing other things. Expanding your creativity is essential. As a session musician, you’re constantly giving out all the time and it’s good to have some parts for yourself.”

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Pete for coming in to speak with our students ­– it was hugely inspirational ­– and to wish him the very best of luck in his future career.

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