Lockdown Stories: Joel Rawlins

Joel Rawlins is a multi-instrumentalist and performer who, prior to the pandemic was performing all across the world. When lockdown hit however, like many of us, Joel was forced to return to the UK and adapt his approach. He has continued to use this time to rediscover his own affinity with music and now regularly posts incredible piano compositions on his facebook page as well as offering private online tuition in piano .

We caught up with Joel to see how the pandemic has impacted him and how music has continued to be a part of his life throughout this difficult time. To read more of our Lockdown stories - check out our interview with the Let's Play The Piano Group!

Tell us a bit about your musical history

“I started playing piano when I was around 6 or 7 when my family were able to pick up a piano for free from a local church, so I started learning that when I was at school.

I always remember the day that someone came into school with a bunch of instruments and then started playing a lot of nutty stuff so that’s also where I picked up the clarinet and saxophone too. From there I went to Sussex University to study music and got involved with the university orchestra and concert bands.

Since then, I’ve been playing in a personal project, A Night In The Abyss where we’ve just released our first EP and in 2018 through a cruise band, managed to make music my full time job. We’ve been everywhere - we did 2 months in Australia, 4 weeks in California and Mexico, 6 weeks in Alaska and then 4 and a half months in Japan before Coronavirus happened.”

How have you used lockdown to focus on music?

“Obviously the performing came to a pretty abrupt halt, so now I have all day everyday to work on music, both practicing for fun and for work. Normally, it is just learning random stuff and posting it on social media. Like everyone else, I’ve not had much else to do other than go for a walk, but my keyboard is always sitting there so I can play that everyday and learn something new and people seem to like it.

Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of my free time going around listening to other musicians and that alone makes me want to practice. Now I’ve got into this mindset where I actively go out of my way to find new inspiring musicians and I’m always wanting to learn more. As a result, I’d probably say I’ve probably improved in piano more over the past year than in the past 17 years of learning.”

Why do you think learning an instrument helps people?

The best thing about learning an instrument is that you can set really achievable goals which you can’t do with a lot of things. You’ve got something to aspire to all the time so there’s always a next step to learn or a new technique.

It’s also incredible the amount of yourself that you can put into music, even if it’s someone else's song, you can put yourself and your personality into that piece. I think learning music gives you a much deeper connection to music so if you enjoy music anyway, it gives you another whole bridge of attachment understanding how sounds are made and played."

What do you think the future of music looks like?

I think the future of music is really exciting, people are now making grammy award winning albums in their bedroom...That’s something that is only going to keep improving!

Now, people have entire orchestras at their fingertips on a laptop. I think more and more people are going to get involved in working with music and making incredible music because it’s now so accessible - and that’s only a good thing!”

Be sure to check out Joel’s social channels here: Joel Rawlins - Keyboard Player

If you have an increidble lockdown story to share, we'd love to hear it! Contact us today or share your sound on social media using the #MillersMusic to feature on our channels!

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