On honeymoon in Memphis, Tennessee, a germ of an idea began to grow for Music Performance lecturer Craig Steer.
The Music team set up a unique collaboration for Hull School of Performance Arts (HSPA) students at the famous Stax Music Academy, which grew from soul record label Stax and the Soulsville Foundation.
As a result, HE Music students and staff have been visiting the academy to help deliver the Stax Summer School for one week a year since 2010.
“I’m proud that HSPA volunteers at the Stax Music Academy. Our Music tutors deliver history, theory, performance, recording, production and live sound classes. Our students from across the music pathways act as our ambassadors, mentoring students at Stax.
It all helps to raise our profile, as well as providing a valuable experience for staff and students. We have maintained a great working relationship with the Stax Music Academy and the international collaboration is our unique selling point.”
While in Memphis, the Hull students have the opportunity to follow in Elvis’s footsteps, recording at the iconic Sun Studios. And in 2012, students met soul singer Reverend Al Green at his place of worship.
“We teach the cultural history of popular music but to go to record in the studio where Elvis recorded – where rock n’ roll was born – nothing compares to that,” says Craig. “It’s the best learning experience, seeing where the music comes from. It’s a very worthwhile visit”.
Craig has been teaching music at HSPA since 1999. His current research interests include a PhD with the University of Leeds. His thesis has a working title of His Master’s Voices? An Aesthetic Empirical Investigation Into Music Production Techniques, The Voice And Listener Perceptions. With plans to turn his findings into a book, he is researching the effect of production techniques on vocal performance in popular music.
Craig also has a BA in Music Performance and an MMus in Musicology from Leeds, and a PGCE, which he completed at HSPA.
In his spare time, Craig plays an in an original songwriting group – Steer – with his brother and two former students; an acoustic group – Launderette Poets – with other members of staff and does audio production honours for student bands and other local artists.
He also helps to encourage student music projects through HSPA’s very own record label, Purple Worm Records, run chiefly by Mik Newton.