Monday, 25 September 2017

Teenager dreaming of career as jazz musician

A TEENAGER from Shiplake is dreaming of becoming a recording artist.

A TEENAGER from Shiplake is dreaming of becoming a recording artist.

Will Walker, 15, bought himself a saxophone thanks to a donation from the Henley Festival Trust.

The Gillotts School pupil practises every day and has lessons with Huw Higgin, who performed at last year’s festival and is a previous recipient of a grant from the trust.

Will said: “Huw is a great teacher and he suggested that I fill in an application form, which I did.”

The trustees agreed to make donation towards the costs of the £1,700 soprano saxophone, which has a range similar to that of a clarinet or trumpet.

Will learned to play the piano while he was a pupil at Shiplake Primary School and was encouraged by his teacher to try another instrument.

He said: “I was thinking what would be a cool instrument to play and I thought of the saxophone so I started having lessons.”

He used to play a child’s saxophone and moved on to a beginner’s model before finding he needed the proper instrument. Will, a jazz fan, said: “I play it every day — I could play a lot more but I have homework and revision to do. I always play in either my room or in the dining room, which is on the edge of the house.”

He lives with his parents, Alistair, who works for Microsoft, and Linda, who runs a soft furnishings company, and siblings, Harry, 17, and Bryony, 15.

Will, who also composes music, says his favourite saxophonist is American Charlie Parker and he often watches films just for the music. His favourite is Lord of the Rings but he also likes the Stars Wars’ score.

He said would like to become a solo artist and also perform in an orchestra or quartet but added: “I’m not sure if I’m quite good enough yet.”

Mandy Beard, community projects manager for the festival, said: “The festival always wants to support talented musicians and artists. We were very impressed with Will’s application.”

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