MEET: Simon Skolfield

Simon Skolfield is a music producer, recording specialist, DJ and independent record label owner with over 25 years experience worldwide. He mentors up and coming bands and artists, leads creative music education projects across Dorset ranging from music production classes, professional recording sessions, live band/artist mentoring and developmental programmes as well as DJ workshops.

We asked Simon a few questions for our readers to get to know him . . .

Can you describe your first encounter with music?

My father was a sound engineer for several recording studios in London so I was always around music from a very early age. Recording studios always felt like home to me. I was lucky to see some amazing artists in that environment thanks to my dad’s career. I was hooked from the first session!

Who was the first professional performer you saw live?

It may have been Brotherhood Of Man (Eurovision winners in 1976) as my father was working with them at the time. But when I was old enough to go to gigs on my own it was always hip hop and jazz artists.

How would you describe your own practice?

My practice is based around modern music technology and DJing with sound recording being a particular focus. I work with a very broad view and bespoke approach as every young person is different requiring individual attention. Music, for me, is something that should be enjoyed, shared and formed from a naturally creative standpoint so that young people can feel part of the process as much as possible. I like for them to feel as if they are part of a ‘club’ and that they have ownership of it. I think an environment where freedom of expression and openness are cultivated is paramount to the young people getting the best out of themselves and those of us facilitating the sessions.

What influenced you to become a music education professional?

Having observed others working in music education I felt I had a slightly different approach and energy that would benefit young people – especially in the areas/genres within which I choose to work. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with young musicians/creatives and feel that passing on experiences/wisdom to the next generation is part of why we make music in the first place. Again, it goes back to being about enjoyment and shared experience.

What has been your most memorable moment whilst running a project?

It’s not really one singular moment but rather more the general sense of fulfilment when seeing young people realise they can actually ‘do’ or achieve their goals when they had thought it was impossible. Every session, someone has a breakthrough or magical moment making each one memorable for different reasons.

Do you have any advice for a young person who may be a music novice but wants to learn?

Never be afraid of failure. You can only improve and learn amazing things. Every supposed mistake is a learning experience through which you enhance your ability to make better choices next time.

And any words of wisdom for an aspiring music education professional?

It may sound simple but be sure to praise and encourage at all times. If a young person feels that you believe in them, they may actually start believing in themselves. I feel music is all about confidence and self-belief.

What projects, or music of your own, are you working on at the moment?

I am currently producing a Hip-Hop project with an MC from the US, a Jazz album with some amazing musicians from the UK and the second album of a vocal/song-based project.

To find out how to get involved in Simon’s Workshops, or to view any other music opportunities in the area, see our opportunities page or email info@soundstorm-music.org.uk