York College

Ben Papworth

Previously of Brayton High School, Selby.
A Levels: Music, English Language, Theatre Studies, Music Technology.
Music Development Centre.


Ben has been offered a scholarship at Queens University, Belfast where he hopes to build on his skills to reach his dream of becoming a Musical Director on Broadway or the Westend. It probably helps that Ben can play the piano, organ, cello, flute, viola and violin and he can sing. Ben is also a musical director with the York Light Youth Theatre Company.

Ben has been playing the violin since he was seven years old, not just any violin though, his Great Grandma’s 150 year old violin. A piece that was passed from a gentleman in 1850 to Ben’s Great Grandma to her daughter and so on until it has reached Ben. Said Ben: “My Great Grandma lived until she was 99 years old, once a month I would go to her house and play the violin for her, she loved it. It’s nice to still be able to have a connection to her.”

This may explain why the residents at Willow House (many of whom have dementia) enjoyed Ben visiting and interacting with them through music. Ben took a leading role, organising trips to Willow House and planning music sessions for the elderly residents. Said Ben: “My main aims were to break down any stereo types that young people had of the elderly as well as any the elderly had of young people. I also wanted to bring back any memories the residents may have through various music genres and let them know life can still be fun.”

Ben performed for the residents and interacted with them through basic percussion, writing songs and a variety of action movements. He said: “Every week my group got bigger, they were always smiling and they remembered me from previous visits. I believe this was because of the connection to the music. It made me happy knowing I had not only helped people but that the music had made an impact on their lives.”

Ben was awarded the title ‘Student of the Month’ (A Levels) in February 2014.

Mark Leighton

Previously of Selby High School
A Levels: Music, Music Technology, Computing, Maths


Passionate about music, Mark has played guitar for eight years and recently passed Grade 8 scoring full marks on one of the pieces (Gran Vals by Tarrega). Mark is also working towards Grade 6 piano after just three years studying the instrument - and last year he decided to take up the viola! This means York College is the right place for him as he is able to study both A Level Music and Music Technology, in addition to participating the College’s Music Development Centre (MDC).

Mark really enjoys all of his music courses. He says: “The music facilities are great, especially the computers for Music Technology.” His highlights include performing in the College’s Christmas concert and the excellent teaching he receives in the Music Development Centre. One of the best things he has been involved in is a Musical Connections project, where he visited a nursing home to work with the residents, helping them to re-engage, enjoy and become involved in music.

Mark employs his musical talent outside of College as part of local ensembles, most notably with Stephen Caswell’s guitar group, where he meets with musicians of mixed ages every week. He also plays contemporary guitar with various bands in Goole during the week.

His most impressive gig so far has to be with the National Youth Guitar Ensemble (NYGE), which consists of 24 of the UK’s finest young guitarists who each auditioned to gain their place in the prestigious group. Mark is going on the first of two residential trips with the NYGE to the Yehudi Menuhin School (founded by the famous violinist in order to provide specialist musical education for gifted young musicians). He is extremely excited to have the opportunity to play alongside other talented players and looks forward to working with the NYGE in the future.

Next year Mark hopes to audition for conservatoires and music colleges... he is certainly on the right track!

Sam Lovatt

Formerly of Huntington School
A Levels: Music, Music Technology


Dreams do come true!
Whilst on holiday in the Lake District, aged 9 years old, Sam spotted a cornet in an antique shop. His Gran offered to buy it for him and all he remembers is running around the campsite trying to get a sound out of the instrument ... the rest is history.

Initially Sam came to College to study Level 2 Plumbing, progressing to Level 3 Construction. Struggling to find employment within the construction industry he decided to take a year out . Realising that his real interest and passion was music Sam, put all his time and effort into perfecting playing his cornet and trumpet.

Playing in various bands , including the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, Sam set his sights on returning to College to study A Levels in Music and Music Technology, determined to give himself a fighting chance of getting into a prestigious conservatoire. He even had to fund his own studies, working part-time at Asda, as he already had a Level 3 qualification.

Sam’s audition and interview at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music went very well. He says: “I am so grateful to my private tutors as well as my College tutors who helped and supported me leading up to the auditions. I felt comfortable playing my audition pieces and I just kept thinking how proud my family would be if I got a place.”

A few weeks later Sam was over the moon to hear that he had successfully secured conditional places at both conservatoires. He has aspirations to become a professional musician, playing in orchestras around the world. Sam has made his family, particularly his Gran, extremely proud!

Matthew Campbell

Formerly of Market Weighton School
Extended Diploma in Music, A Level Music Technology


When Matthew was in primary school his mum accidently filled in the wrong form which meant that he learnt to play the guitar, rather than the drums. Luckily for him this proved to be the right choice as over the years he has progressed to playing the guitar at the highest level.

Playing in various bands and for the East Riding Youth Jazz Orchestra, Matthew is able to play many genres of music from acoustic and jazz, to rock and classical. He enjoys acoustic music and plays rock music more than anything else.

Being impressed with the facilities and tutors at York College he decided to study a combination of the Extended Diploma in Music and A Level Music Technology. He finds that both courses give him a broad musical experience. From day one he set his sights on studying music at university and put his efforts into playing his guitar.

His tutors helped him prepare for his audition at the Royal Northern College of Music where he will study a BA (Hons) in Popular Music Performance. He said: “It was a nerve-wracking experience and I was very excited as I really wanted to be offered a place. I got through the first audition and was recalled for a second one in the afternoon. I was so relieved when I heard I had been successful. In the future I would like to work as a session musician and maybe do some teaching to supplement my income. Ultimately I want to work with music. I am happy that my mum filled in the wrong form!”

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