Career Focus | Case studies and interviews
What music are you currently listening to?
I’m currently listening to demos from my students at Musicians Institute (each student records a three-track demo as a part of their vocal studies). It’s great to hear the fruits of their labour. Some of the stuff is amazing. There are some really talented kids in various genres.
You have played with lots of famous musicians, if you could play with any artist/ musician who would it be and why?
JON CLAYDEN, CURRENTLY WORKING IN THE USA MA WORK BASED LEARNING (MUSIC BUSINESS MANAGEMENT) DIRECTOR OF INDUSTRY PROGRAMS, MUSICIAN INSTITUTE
Winning the Kerrang! magazine’s award for best music video to advising on career development at the Los Angeles Recording School, Jon’s hard work and success were cemented by his MA at Middlesex University, leading to a Directorship at the Musicians Institute, and recently a promotion to Director of Industry Programs, a Dean-level position overseeing five programs, more than 100 faculty staff and over 600 students.
That truly is an impossible question to answer with a single response (so I’ll cheat). If time were no issue (and posthumous players allowed), I’d pick: Led Zeppelin, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, The Wailers, The Police, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Squarepusher, DJ Shadow, Charlie Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and the list goes on… Why do I wish that I could have played with these artists? If you don’t know the answer to that question, then you are beyond my help.
Your clients now include Disney & Warner Bros; what was your favourite childhood animated film and cartoon character?
I loved Spiderman. He had a cool theme song and special abilities. I never fully understood how all of the abilities worked through the suit, but he was still the man. By contrast, my son is into Elmo from Sesame Street. He’s not yet old enough to appreciate Spidey’s crime- fighting antics (there’s plenty of time, though, he’s only two).
What video did you receive the Kerrang! magazine award for?
Pitchshifter received the Kerrang! Magazine Best Video Award for the “Genius” promo video from the “www. pitchshifter.com
” album (yes, the album was named after the website). I think we beat out The Prodigy and a few other big names – somewhat of a coup for four punk rockers with a sampler, some cheap guitars, and a half-dead transit van.
What was your occupation when you chose to do your MA?
I was a Career Development Advisor at the Los Angeles Recording School.
Why did you choose Middlesex?
My brother Mark (bass player in Pitchshifter and College Manager of Bristol Institute of Modern Music “BIMM”) completed his MA at Middlesex. His experience with the university, professors, and program were very positive and helped to solidify my decision to continue the Clayden family MDX tradition. My own experiences were also very positive. My Advisor, Dr. Dikerdem, was very helpful in steering me in a thesis direction that would allow me to explore my chosen topics while conforming to the requisites of the award. Advice from my brother (as a grad), encouragement from my family (I drove my wife nuts studying in the wee hours) and the direction from my advisor, were all instrumental factors in succeeding.
How has your MA helped you progress with your career? I was fortunate enough to have reached a number of milestones as a professional musician. I wanted to parley that history into a career that would value my experience and allow me to impart what I had learnt to others. Education was the logical choice. Although I was quickly hired, I didn’t feel that my abilities were being exploited to their full extent in non-managerial roles. A higher degree was a logic step. Despite the recession, I was able to negotiate a 24% pay rise and a higher title upon completion of my masters. This, in part, facilitated my current directorship at Musicians Institute. I feel that the masters degree was a pivotal aspect in continuing the upward trajectory of my career. If my workload ever slows down, I’d love to explore a doctorate.
What has been your proudest career moment?
That is a tough question to answer as one moment, so I’ll cheat (again) and list a few: playing main stage at Reading, MTV in Jamaica, working with Jello Biafra, being in 2000AD Magazine as a character, being on the cover of Kerrang!, winning a best video award, headlining two nights at the London Astoria (RIP), being appointed as an Associate Director at The LA Recording & Film Schools, earning a masters, and being appointed as a Director at Musicians Institute.
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