Luke Print

Note: Luke completed our FdA in Music Production in 2019.

"Since being at Leeds Conservatoire I get at least one 'light bulb' moment each week"

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Luke Print - FdA Music Production 

Luke is a driven student currently on our FdA Music Production course. Alongside his studies, he is also a Course Representative, a member of the Equality, Diversion and Inclusion council, and also the Disabilities Officer for the Student Union. 

Luke has also just launched an ambitious project - the Leeds Conservatoire sample library - which he has single-handedly created and made available for all Leeds Conservatoire students. 

Has your music / approach / technique changed at all since your first year?

Undoubtedly. I don't think there's necessarily a ceiling as to what you can accomplish alone, but I was definitely hitting some squishy resistance on my way towards my goal – everything felt slow, or rushed and uncertain, and I was always short of the sound I had in my head. I've always had a clear mental picture of the end result, so not being able to realise that was frustrating. Since being at Leeds Conservatoire I get at least one 'light bulb' moment each week, and the understanding that stems from these moments feels solid and reliable. My work flow is faster and I'm making confident mixing decisions. I feel more professional in my approach to all related tasks and my lecturers are always there to reaffirm or guide my development.

What has been the most interesting project you have worked on so far?

One of my final projects last year was a Synth Pop track where I only used equipment made before 1987. That was a lot of fun, saving everything to floppy disk and dealing with loads of hiss and horrible reverb.

This year I'm starting an actual, real-life business which a couple of years ago I wouldn't have had the ability or support to do. The best thing is that the business-model is built around my disability and will hopefully provide a more stable future for me and my family. For the first time ever I've got the next five years mapped out and all of my goals are realistic and achievable.

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What is the best thing about living and studying in Leeds?

There's a lot going for Leeds; myself and my partner were originally torn between Berlin and Lapland, and ended up in Leeds because we felt it was a good combination of the two. There's so much going on – you could go to gigs every night and yet it never feels like an overwhelming place to live, and if you want time to yourself it’s easy to take a step back. There's a lot of countryside surrounding the city, too. I lived in Melbourne for a few years and I really miss the music scene there, but Leeds in its current form is the best and most-varied that I've experienced in the UK. A lot of the venues are progressive in promoting safe-space values, which is really important.

What sort of accommodation are you living in? What advice would you give to new students about accommodation?

I've been renting privately with my partner since moving to Leeds as we're both 'mature' students and we moved here specifically to study. We moved around March and that time of year places were going quickly, plus we were travelling by coach to come and view rentals which made things more complicated.

My best advice is to work out your budget carefully and be realistic, speak to Student Services and make sure you get the full financial support that you're entitled to. If possible, open another bank account so that when your loan is paid you can budget your rent, bills and food (for that whole term until your next loan) into one account and anything left or wages from a job, goes into the other account. That way even if you're really skint, you've still got rent, bills and your weekly shop covered.

Also, be a good neighbour, always.

What do you get up to outside of Leeds Conservatoire?    

My cats and the studio – that's pretty much it. I don’t get out a great deal as I find social situations a bit overwhelming, but I work in my studio most days. That being said, I've had the chance to take on a lot of extra projects recently which fill my time in a positive way, so I'm never lacking in something to do. The range of support and enthusiasm offered by Leeds Conservatoire and the Student Union has made all the difference in realising these projects.

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Is there anything that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you've not tried before?

I've had my own studio for a number of years before coming to study at Leeds Conservatoire, so working with other people in the studio is new. I always believed I worked quicker alone and never felt like sharing my headspace – I'll be the first to admit that this was mighty lonely. At Leeds Conservatoire I've had the chance to build up working relationships with people and now often work with one of my peers in a really natural and productive partnership.

Have you been involved in the SU / societies or other Leeds Conservatoire activities?

Yes – I'm the Disabilities Officer for the SU this year which has been great. I'm also on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Council and I’m a Course Rep for FD Music Production. I'm starting a business which has been linked closely with Leeds Conservatoire, and every Leeds Conservatoire student will get the product for free when it launches. The product is a collection of sample-based virtual instruments. I'm also launching a co-operative arts project, which collects the stories and experiences of minority groups working within the creative industries. There are a couple of other bits and pieces on the go! I was really unwell before I came to study and all of these things have come from that time, so it has been amazing to get back on my feet and doing things that incorporate my personal interests and values.

What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of applying to your course?

The arts are an interesting subject to quantify academically – there are very rarely any right or wrong answers, but ultimately studies must be graded. I think the FD Music Production course gets the right balance of creativity and academic reward. There's a huge amount of freedom in what you do and there's support all the way; the lecturing staff are always visibly pleased to come across new genres or ideas. I can't think of another course that has the potential to be as broad in its skill set.

When I first started forming my plans to return to education, the realist in me made a mental checklist of all the challenges or barriers I might face; my disability, financial implications, finding a mutual support network and a safe space in a new city, managing my work and so on. I’m happy to say that when I first contacted Leeds Conservatoire, Student Services were able to alleviate most of these concerns before I’d even raised them. Without their initial advice and encouragement I wouldn’t be here now, and they’ve been with me the whole way since, they are an intrinsic part of Leeds Conservatoire life for many people. I now work alongside Student Services at open days, and when meeting prospective students, I’m confident that I can convey from my own experiences how much value this incredible team of human beings brings.

How would you describe your experience at Leeds Conservatoire so far in three words? 

Development, understanding, experience.


Study FdA Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire

International applicant? Find out more here.

See more from Luke:  YouTube | Shabu Recordings | Shin-ei | Blog 

"Studying at the Conservatoire has been one of the best decisions I've made in my life." Read the @LeedsNews inter…
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