Paul's Story

Name: Paul
Location: Portugal
Examiner panel: Rock & Pop

Paul is a professional musician from the UK, and a member of Trinity’s Rock & Pop Examiner panel. He talked to us about his varied musical career, his passion for music education and his work as a Trinity examiner.

Paul’s aptitude for music was clear as soon as he picked up an instrument.

“I started my instrumental life at about 14, which is relatively late - although perhaps not in pop terms! It quickly became apparent that, amongst my peers, I understood things quicker and I progressed quickly - I was quite studious.”

At 18, Paul decided to do a degree in music, which is where his passion for music education was first sparked. On graduating, Paul started working right away. He told us what those early days as a young, inexperienced musician were like.

“Generally, the phone rings and someone asks you to do something. You tell the truth, or you lie and say you've done it before, and then your career kind of starts really!”

A varied career

Paul’s career has encompassed everything to do with performance, including acting on stage, TV and film, music sessions, tours, and recording to name but a few.  Music teaching in particular has always been a big passion for Paul throughout his career.

“Teaching’s been a massive part of what I do, and I enjoy it! The research I did as part of my Masters and PhD has been important in terms of looking at higher education and seeing where we can progress.”

“In previous years or generally within higher education, it's often been performers being asked to teach, so they don't necessarily have a background or an interest in it or do any research regarding teaching.”

“My research for my PhD was into how we could inform those practitioners to try to make them more aware of the different ways people learn.”

A few years back, Paul decided it was time to add another string to his bow and become a Trinity College London examiner. We asked Paul why he wanted to become an examiner.

“I think it was to share in success and to be part of the journey that ends in success. It's great when you see people come in and they're a little bit nervous, and you then see them start to relax and they start to enjoy it - I really do enjoy watching them perform.”

From candidate to examiner

“I did some grades when I was younger, and I know what it meant to me. I know the feeling I got when I was working towards it, when I went into the exam, when I came out of the room and then when I got my certificate - it really sealed the journey, and it meant that journey was worthwhile.”

“I think it's important to have those milestones within a person's development and to celebrate someone's work - It can spur you on. I am pleased to be part of the team which gets to say well done!”

We asked Paul to tell us what a day of examining is normally like.

“On a typical day for me there is an expectation and excitement of what I'm going to see, and I've seen some fantastic things. It's a privilege to be there and be part of that process.”

We asked Paul if there are any standout performances he can remember and what was memorable about them.

“Well, I've seen Prince and James Brown live, and I think their attention to detail without making any assumptions really stood out.”

‘When you perform, you have the opportunity to reinvent everything the audience knows and has previously seen - You have the opportunity to be new, fresh and to be original.”

“The music is written but you can put your own detail in there. Where is the phrase or the lyric? Where is the melody? Do you want to stress beat one or beat two? I think that is exciting!”


“On a typical day for me there is an expectation and excitement of what I'm going to see, and I've seen some fantastic things. It's a privilege to be there and be part of that process.”

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