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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Adam Tucker



Gordon: Where did you attend University, What degree did you earn, what was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?


Adam: I went to the University of Warwick here in the UK, to study Education and Art. So I painted lots and also learned how to be a primary school teacher (that’s elementary school for US readers!) I loved the Art part of the course, because as well as composing music, I make a living as a fine artist. But I greatly enjoyed some of the parts of the Education course as well – things like the Philosophy of Education, and the Sociology of Education. It opened my mind to new ways of thinking – about my own experience of education, and how best to educate the next generation.


I also did a small module on using music in education, which I absolutely loved – I had already started composing music some years before at the age of about 12 so it was fun to be able to use that skill in the course.


Gordon: When did you work at Hollyfast Primary School and what courses did you teach?


Adam: I have worked at a number of primary schools in my career – I’ve been teaching now for 30 years! Interestingly every single teaching job has involved leading the musical life of the school – leading singing assemblies, teaching music lessons across the year groups from ages 3-11, leading school choirs. So having studied art at Uni I’ve never actually used it in my teaching all that much.


My present role at Hollyfast is to lead singing in the school, teach a few year-groups in their music curriculum. My favourite age group to teach is Reception – kindergarten I believe you’d have in the US. The kids are so receptive and eager to learn. And they are so funny! And what’s more, they think that everything I say is funny – so it does wonders for my self esteem!


Gordon: When did you serve as Teacher at Coventry Performing Arts Service and what courses did you teach. and what is one of your favorite memories when you were there?


Adam: I went to teach with Coventry Performing Arts Service from 2009 to 2015, and I loved it – I was basically an itinerant teacher, going into a number of different schools every week and teaching music in all its shapes and forms. I was also able to write and compose a huge number of curriculum-based songs for the different schools, as well as entire musicals. As well as a composer of music, I write lyrics, and I treat lyrics writing as much of an artform as the music is. However, it was a very punishing way to work – I’d have to eat my lunch whilst driving to the next school.


Gordon: When did you serve as Music Teacher at Willenhall Community Primary School and what aspects of music did you teach?


Adam: Ah! Willenhall was the favourite school of my career. It’s sited in a fairly deprived area of the city, and I was nervous of going there at first as I wasn’t sure what behaviour would be like. I have never taught such delightful, well-behaved, and enthusiastic kids. They loved music lessons, and it was an absolute joy to teach them how to perform on a variety of percussion instruments, how to compose their own music, how to grow in confidence. It was a real wrench for me to leave, but it was time to move on, after 12 years of teaching there, between 2009 and 2021. One of my stand-out memories there was of having a 9 year old girl teel me she’d written some songs and would I like to hear them? I said yes, groaning inside – because usually when children sing me their songs it’s difficult to get a sense of rhythm or melody. Her songs were brilliant – they had shape, a real musicality. I worked with her over a year or so until the pandemic, creating backing tracks for her to perform to. I feel sure she will be very successful in the future.

Another very special memory was taking my little choir to sing in a massed choir in Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. These deprived children had never heard a live orchestra before, and their eyes were on stalks! It was very special.


Gordon: You are an independent Composer/Publisher. What is some of the music that you composed?


Adam: Yes, I self-publish my own musicals and curriculum songs for use with primary school children, aged 4-11. I’ve composed 30 musicals, including scripts and lyrics, and produced backing tracks for schools to use. They’re all available at rightroyalscene.org. I’ve composed musicals for Christmas and for Easter, most of which have a very strong Christian message. As a Christian working in education and in music, it’s important to me that my faith is expressed in what I do. I’ve also written musicals for other occasions, whose subjects include things like “Dracula”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Snow White, David and Goliath and Treasure Island, to name but a few. Mind you, these are all musicals for youngsters to perform (and every single one has been performed somewhere in the world) so none of them are terribly serious. Some of the humour may go over the children’s heads, in the best traditions of Disney! I’ve even written a comedy based on Romeo and Juliet.


Gordon: You are currently a Music Composer at EWTN in the United Kingdom. Please share an overview of your work with EWTN with our readers.


Adam: I’ve been very fortunate to work with a high calibre of directors at EWTN. I first started working with Stefano Mazzeo, almost by accident – he knew my step-mother who is also very musical if she could write him a couple of pieces to for the series about the Apparitions at Fatima. She sent him in my direction. I duly composed a couple of pieces for him, which he loved. Two pieces became the music for the entire series! I’ve now worked with Stefano on two series and a TV film, about St Bernadette of Lourdes


Stefano has been very good to me and has shared me with other directors in EWTN, and I now work with 5 different directors. I recently completed the score work on a wonderful film by Campbell Miller, called “Faith of the Fathers” – it’s well worth seeing. It was a very exciting piece to work on because the film is an historical drama, involving a priest being chased by the English redcoats in 17th century Ireland. It felt very much as if I were composing real film music, if that makes sense.

I hope my association with EWTN continues for many years.


Gordon: Can music bring us closer to God. If so, in what ways"


Adam: Absolutely yes. There is a book by an author called Ken Gire which I enjoy reading which talks about Windows to Heaven – how music, art, nature, anything really can be a window to experience something sublime and supernatural. I’ve often had a sense of God’s love and power when listening to music. Even music written for secular occasions.


However, when we bring music and explicitly spiritual content together, there is great power. I’ve written a number of songs which either reflect on the life of Jesus, unpacking what it must have been like for those who walked alongside him, or songs which take Bible verses and set them to music. I love telling stories about Jesus, and about faith, and if I can do that through song, then all the better.


So music can bring us closer to God, in the way it helps us to transcend our everyday experience, but it can also be a great tool for bringing other people closer to God, through the stories of faith you can bring to others musically and in song. It’s what I love so much about composing. My art and my music are both expressions for me of my faith in a God who is good, who loves us, and who reaches into the dark ness of our life experience to show us His light.


Gordon: Thank you for a great interview.

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