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Meet Our Teachers: Sam Marlow

Posted on 02.11.18

At City Vocal Coach we provide expert singing and songwriting tuition. We’re also home to some of the best teachers in London. So, in order to best direct your musical future, we thought it important you get to know our teachers a little bit more – to help you make that all-important decision of who would be best for you. 

Introducing Sam Marlow…

What do you enjoy most about teaching? 

I enjoy the freedom that teaching music gives you. Every day I am surrounded by talented students and artists, and I love the fact that, for example, one hour I could be working with a student on perfecting the chorus in ‘The Show Must Go On’ by Queen, or working on their own material, and then the next hour I could be working on my own projects, or collaborating with fellow writers. Teaching has opened so many doors, I get to work with so many aspiring artists, make connections, and perhaps best of all, every day I get to sing, write and inspire. And that feels pretty good. 

How do you stay productive and inspired as a musician? 

This is something I am really interested in. Creativity is something that might be with you one day and totally elusive the next. Over the years I have found many useful techniques for finding inspiration and staying productive as an artist. For instance, there is this technique called “Morning Pages” which is a method encouraged by Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way. Essentially, before I do anything else in the morning I’ll spend 15 minutes writing down a stream of consciousness - a kind of diary where it’s all about constantly writing without being critical of what I say. This rather handy technique helps to teach the brain to bypass its more critical side – which can be very helpful for creativity. 

Another useful tool I’ve been working on recently to help my productivity is to find inspiration in artwork. This could involve researching into the life of an artist to try and find a not very well-known story from which to base a new song, or making the characters in the painting tell a story. I’m definitely a songwriter who looks for sources of inspiration from all areas of life. 

What are your current goals/dreams in life? 

Having a career in music has always been a dream of mine. Now that I am running a company dedicated to aspiring singers and songwriters, work in some pretty inspiring and creatively led schools and all the while working on my own music, I feel I am living my dream, but that doesn’t mean I’ve reached the end of my list - I have a few more tricks up my sleeve…

Who are your biggest musical influences? Why?

My influences are forever evolving. I used to be more heavily influenced by rock and metal, I’m talking the likes of Led Zeppelin, Muse, Tool. I have since mellowed out and now find my sources of inspiration from a lot of Jazz, such as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Gregory Porter. 

Teaching at the BRIT School and on the songwriting degree at ICMP means it’s important for me to listen to as much new music as I can in order to stay current with music trends. As a result, I am finding and learning about new sources of potential inspiration daily. I believe that as a singer-songwriter and teacher it is important to appreciate all genres and music styles, as you never quite know where your next source of musical influence is going to come from.