Joseph is sixteen, has achromatopsia and is registered blind. Joe was fascinated by music, and rhythm in particular, so, when he was six, his parents were lucky enough to find Noel Watson, an extremely talented drummer, who was very willing to work with Joe and his parents to find solutions to Joe’s visual obstacles.
After a few months it became apparent that Joe had a genuine aptitude for drumming, and, in the absence of a proper kit, practised on school books laid out on his bed! His parents decided to apply for an Amber Music Award for a proper drum kit and lessons. Joe was absolutely amazed and delighted with his new electronic kit – and so were his parents – it had a headphone socket!
Joe’s drumming really took off, and his fine motor skills and concentration improved rapidly and enormously. He says:
“When I started playing, I found it very hard work. I have no depth perception, and so sometimes could not tell if I was going to hit a particular drum in the right place every time. Noel taught me lots of ways to develop my ‘muscle memory’, and I found the more I practised, the easier it became!’
Joe became interested in the theory and technicalities of music, and with the help of a further Amber Music Award, auditioned for, and was accepted into the prestigious Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on their Junior Course. Joe really enjoyed his time at RWCMD, studying music theory and piano as well as orchestral percussion, but his true love was the drum kit. After a few years he found he needed to spend more time with his drumming if he wanted to progress further – and it was difficult to balance schoolwork, drumming, marimba practice, snarework, timpani AND piano! So he left RWCMD and threw himself into the drumming.
Fast forward a few years, and Joe is playing with a local band, plays at the local blues workshop and has ‘deputised’ for several bands. The highlight of this was being asked to play with the incredible blues guitarist Buddy Whittington – which he loved! From September 2015, Joe will be attending RNC in Hereford to study Music and Music Technology with a view to becoming a session player and producer – all thanks to that first Music Award from The Amber Trust!