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During lockdown we've been catching up with some of the alumni from our education courses taught in partnership with Shetland College UHI to talk about their experience as a student and see what they're up to now!

This week we're speaking to Norman Willmore who came up through our music courses from Vocational Pathways, through NC and HNC Music.

What first drew you to study at Mareel?
I was first drawn to study at Mareel because it allowed me an opportunity to do focused work on the subject I was most passionate about. I was more excited about working on music for a year as opposed to doing 6th year at High School, as I knew I wanted to pursue a career in music and that the qualification I would gain would be useful for me to get into university.

What are you up to these days?
I live and work in Glasgow as a full time musician and I recently recorded my first album under my own name. Being a freelancer means you are always busy doing lots of different things, which I love. No two days are ever the same. I keep busy with recording, performing, teaching and music examining.

Is there one bit of knowledge you gained from your time with us that you'll always remember?
The things I am most glad I learned were some of the practical sides of being a musician that are not music related. For instance, I am so glad I learned how to do a tax return, which is an essential bit of knowledge when you are self-employed.

What advice would you give to young people looking to start their careers in music?
Make yourself as available as possible to take on any gig/work opportunity you can. It's very important to get yourself seen on the scene if you want more work, and the best way to do this is by playing as much as you can, and meeting as many other musicians as you can. Going to gigs and supporting other musicians is also extremely important to become part of the community. Also, it goes without saying, but practice your craft every day.

When you're not making music, who are you listening to right now?
I listen to loads of different music all the time, and I'm always trying to find new music. But an artist I keep going back to at the moment is Jake Sherman.

If you're interested in finding out more about our education courses, there are still full and part-time places and funding available for September, more information is available here - https://www.shetlandarts.org/education/courses

Photo: Liam Henderson

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