We had a quick chat with one of our current Bachelor students, Connor Perkins to discuss his experience thus far studying at JMI and how it has benefited him and his future as a musician.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself, your love for music and what instrument you play?
I play Double Bass, and have for almost as long as I’ve been playing music. I’d always loved music unconditionally and took much of its intricacies for granted, I just liked how it made me feel. It wasn’t until I started taking an interest in more ‘serious’ music (I’d suppose you’d call it art music or something) that I really began to fall in love with these intricacies. From Ravel to Bob Dylan to Thelonious Monk, I tried to get a sense of it all.
Why did you choose JMI to do your Bachelor in Music?
I mean, why not is the real question. I searched for ages to find something that truly inspired me. I tried different courses, different study options, and when none of them clicked I decided to give up and do some night classes at JMI to pass the time while I looked for a ‘real’ path. It was at those classes that I found what I wanted. I wanted a place where there was a shared sense of passion between the students and the teachers, and a community with opportunities and support. JMI was all these things and more.
Had Jazz always been a passion of yours, or did JMI further introduce you to Jazz?
I came to Jazz towards the end of High School. Jazz seemed to speak to me in the sense that it combined the musical intricacies that I loved with the deep emotion that I’d come to love of styles such as folk and blues. But being at JMI and being able to interact and learn from all these incredible people has opened me up to even more things; more artists, more albums, more styles, so many albums – it can really get overwhelming sometimes. But I love it all the same.
How do you feel learning jazz has benefited you as a musician in the wider musical landscape?
It’s benefited me in the sense that I now see how similar most styles are, and in general the only thing that separates them is rhythm. For example, the techniques learnt through ‘jazz’ improvisation classes can easily be applied to any style, it’s just taught in a more focused spectrum, which actually makes it easier to digest these big, complex concepts.
Ideally, what skills or goals were you aiming to accomplish by the end of your degree? And do you feel that you are on your way to doing that?
My goal coming into the course was to simply find an avenue and a mentor that could guide me into becoming a better musician. I believe no matter the situation and how I feel I am going with this progression, JMI and the people that make up the staff and students is always something I can come back to for guidance and to deepen my musical knowledge. So yes, I suppose I am on my way to accomplishing my goal, however slow and patience testing it can be sometimes.
What in your opinion is one of the best parts about the JMI Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance course?
The opportunities and the chances to collaborate and perform with other people is without a doubt the biggest advantage of this course. Performance is quite literally built into the course and the building itself (JMI has one of the BEST Jazz clubs in Brisbane, which doubles as a performance room for students). A lot of the course is made up of practical assessment, so it allows you to perform and watch people perform every day, and I believe that is the most valuable learning opportunity provided by the course.
What is your favourite part about JMI in general? What makes it unique or stand out to you?
The small tight-knit community, the practicality, the listening sessions and hang outs in the common area, I could go on and list things for hours. But I think it comes down to the incredible people I’ve met and the valuable lessons I’ve learnt (and continue to learn) from them. Nothing can beat that.
Would you recommend JMI as a place to study for future students, and why?
Of course. It’s an opportunity to really stretch yourself and test yourself by doing something you love, and it’s also a gateway for meeting incredible people that share your passion, and to learn about incredible new things. It takes commitment, but if you truly love it, then you can’t go wrong.
And a fun one – what transcriptions or specific techniques are you learning at the moment?
Right now, when I’m not working on assessment, I’m going over classical method books and sharpening my overall technique on the bass, as well as my internal time feel. That being said, my practice routine is a bit of a mess and changes all the time, I never know what I’ll be working on or how long I’ll be working on it. Long-term, I just finished my first of hopefully many Ray Brown transcriptions, and have just started transcribing Jazzmeia Horn’s solo of ‘East of the Sun (and West of the Moon).’
To find out more about our Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance course and how to apply, click here.