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Meet Your Tutor

Meet Your Tutor - with James Ashbury

 
 

We caught up with James Ashbury, GuitarBass, Ukulele & Songwriting Instructor at Bristol House of Music and asked him some questions about how he got started in music.

When did you start playing music?

I started playing guitar when I was 15 years old. I was really into skateboarding when I was young and annoyingly when I was 15 I broke my wrist at the skatepark one Saturday morning! It was painful! More annoyingly, this was during the 6 weeks holiday from school. All my friends we're out skating, so needed something to do! Luckily my dad bought me a cheap acoustic guitar. By the time the wounds were healed I was really obsessed with guitar and was always worried I would break my wrist again and not be able to play!

Did learning guitar come naturalLY to you?

It didn't! Not at all! When I was 15, everyone was better than me at guitar. When I was 17 everyone was better than me! However it really meant a lot to me playing guitar and I never started to be the best. I just enjoyed doing it. But because it meant alot much to me, I kept on practicing and learning. I went to college at the Academy of Music and Sound and studied guitar from 16-18 and I put everything into improving as a musician and got better and better! Having instructors who knew what they we're doing really helped!

What was your first gig?

My first gig was at the Wolverhampton Little Civic, I was in a metal band called Frontline, we were basically a Metallica rip off. It was really fun and I learn't a lot from playing in front of a live crowd. We eventually won a round of a Battle of the Bands which was really cool (we didn't win the whole competition though!). Weirdly the Wolverhampton Civic (next door to the little civic) was where we supported Robert Plant for the first time. 

What was your favourite show ever?

I've been lucky to have some great ones! Supporting Robert Plant will always be a highlight, he invited us to play with him in front of 20,000 people. That was a big one! Being in Wildflowers has allowed me to tour the world and has created some amazing moments. But some of my favourite times have been playing in Bristol where we first started. One show at the Crofters Rights I will always remember! It was the first time I looked out to a sold out crowd and everyone knew all the words.

What was it like being a Guitar Tech with Jake Bugg?

It was fun! It was something I had never done before and I just said yes for the adventure (TBH). We toured in places I never imagined I would go to including New York, Canada, Nashville, Alabama, New Orleans and loads more incredible places. Jake is a great person to work with, but also everyone else involved made it really great!

When did you start teaching?

I actually started teaching when I was 18! I have actually always enjoyed teaching, I feel it's something I have always been good at. I have had a lot of terrible teachers, throughout school, private lessons, college and university. They are everywhere! haha! I think I have learn't how to teach from being taught myself. I am well trained now in music, so if anyone ever wants to learn something and put me on the spot, that is never a problem! I actually love that!

Songwriting? How do you start doing that?

Well first, I never wrote a song before I met Siddy (Lead singer of Wildflowers) at university at 18 and I never thought for a second I would be any good at writing songs. But now I am 28 and have written (I would say) 500 songs!! The main advice I can give about songwriting is keep on writing, you will write songs that aren't the best, but if you persist you will just get better and better. 

What do you do other than music?

I like watching football! I do still skateboard (even though I am a lot more careful nowadays). Recently bought myself an electric scooter as well, so you may see me scooting around the streets of Bristol! Other than than I love travelling, taking photos and being creative!

Any final words of advice?

Don't give up on learning an instrument and you will never know where it will take you. Take a chance. You may just learn an instrument and play it as a hobby. But if you're anything like me and you fall in love with playing music it may just lead to some really amazing opportunities!

Book you first FREE guitar, bass or songwriting lesson with James now! By heading over to the signup page!