Meet the Alumni – Joe Cooper

The Music Service has had the privilege of working with many accomplished young musicians from Luton over the years. We asked some of them to share with you their experience learning and playing music and how it has helped them in their careers.

Joe Cooper – Learning Support Assistant/Percussion and Keyboard teacher

What did you study with Luton Music Service?

I played drums/percussion with the Luton Music Service.

What were your highlights?

A highlight has to be winning the Music For Youth best performance award in Birmingham with Luton Youth Jazz Orchestra, which led to us being invited to perform the same songs at the Primary Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Amazing opportunity!

Where has music taken you?

Since going to university I have been fortunate enough to perform live in multiple countries and many reputable venues in England, such as Ronnie Scott’s, O2 Academy Islington, Hyde Park (British Summertime Festival) and many more with many different projects.

Thanks to being able to join such a vast amount of ensembles with LMS, along with my significantly helpful tutoring from Billy Strachan, I was able to extend that and play in so many different genres, ranging from rock and metal to jazz and funk. This includes drumming for Philip Brooks, a promising dreampop artist with increasing popularity whose music took him, and me along with him, to play a number of shows in Sweden. I’ve recorded drums and piano in studio releases for different projects, some of which I also produced, for commercial release, gaining even some radio attention from BBC Introducing.

These opportunities have been amazing and humbling, and I hope in the coming years to develop a network and portfolio that will allow me to make session work and music production my career. Baby steps, of course!

What advice would you give our students?

My biggest piece of advice would be to take advantage of the vast amount of opportunities you are given, especially with Luton Music Service. There are so many styles, instruments and ensembles you can allow yourself to explore and try out; if something isn’t for you that’s okay.

However, the more you immerse yourself and find what really makes you strive to be the best, most collaborative musician you can be, the more fulfilled you will feel, both as an individual musician and as a bandmate. Thankfully for me, I loved and wanted to take up most things thrown my way, whether it be different genres, different projects or different branches in the music industry (production, business, composition). This can only happen if you utilise the vast array of choices and opportunities organisations such as Luton Music Service provides you with.