Mitch Gardner

Note: Mitch completed our BA (Hons) in Music (Film) in 2020

"You will be astonished by the talent that surrounds you."


Mitch Gardner is a first year student on our BA Film Music course. 

Just in his first year, Mitch has been involved in a number of projects and events including Leeds Conservatoire's "Film Night." 

What made you choose Leeds Conservatoire?

After a few years of deciding whether to study music at a degree level, it was Leeds Conservatoire that stood out from the rest. It was the first place that I came to for an open day and they instantly set the bar high. So high, in fact, that when I visited the other university contenders, I just couldn't get the vibe and uniqueness of Leeds Conservatoire out of my head.

Has anything been totally different to what you expected when you started at Leeds Conservatoire?

Not really – the open day said it all, from what to expect in my lectures to the sort of atmosphere to expect around Leeds Conservatoire. It has been completely what was advertised and completely what I expected it to be.

What is the most mind blowing thing you've learned so far at Leeds Conservatoire?

It has to be Brian Morrell's lecture on E.T. - particularly the cue "Adventures on Earth". His analysis was so in depth and so interesting. It taught me a great orchestration trick in the brass too: the bottom note in this cue for the trumpets is the top note of French horns, and the bottom note of the horn section is top note for the trombones. Every top or bottom note for each section is linked to the section underneath or above, so instead of duplicating the colour on each instrument, different inversions spread the colour and break the monotony of voicing.


Is there anything that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you've not tried before?

I've never really been one to self-promote online, but during the “Working in the Creative Industries” lectures, the guest lecturers (such as Tom McRae) made me realise how it can be the start of something new. For example, just someone overhearing one thing of yours can get you a contract for a synchronisation license to an advert.

Another thing is what lecturer Andrew Barraclough went through with us in the 2nd semester of last year. He taught us how to mix an orchestral session, and this pushed myself to create better mock-ups, to be able to deliver more realistic-sounding mixes for directors and clients. It also made me try new ways of mixing orchestral instruments to help me find my own sound.

What projects / performances have you worked on so far in your first year?

There's been quite a few projects, to be honest! One of my first year projects was a short film that is currently in post-production that I used for my Specialist Study which helped me achieve an overall grade of 74. I have also worked with a student from Leeds Arts University for an animation project and provided the music for that, as well as helping a friend at Bucks New University with a short documentary too.

Throughout the year I have partaken in the "Film Night" events too, where students show their work to an industry standard panel, which is great to see how other students' voices are developing and great to see what everyone is working on.

In August during the summer interval going into second year, I was given the opportunity to compose the music for a six-part short TV series that will be on Amazon Prime and YouTube in October. It took up all of my time whilst trying to balance a social life and work. My August was extremely busy but I (just) managed it at the deadline!  

What sort of accommodation are you living in? What advice would you give to new students about accommodation?

Accommodation is hard to talk about really, because everyone's preferences are different. I would recommend staying close to Leeds Conservatoire for the first year so that you can socialise with friends and visit the conservatoire to study, practise or meet up, to further network with other musicians.

My first year flat was a studio flat around 10 minutes away from the conservatoire in Lovell Park, which was great for me. As someone who is aspiring to be a composer this gave my thoughts a chance to be completely on their own and further pushed my boundaries, rather than relying on other friends that are students. I am now living with my girlfriend in Hyde Park which is also a great area.

Mitch Gardner 3.jpg

What is the best thing about living and studying in Leeds?

There's no number 1 thing for me. It's a fantastic place to live because there's so much variety in what happens here and there are so many different venues to explore, such as HiFi and O2 Academy. Jumbo Records have acoustic sessions when bands are promoting their upcoming / new album.

Leeds is so close to other towns and cities, too – there's Bradford, York, Harrogate and Sheffield nearby.

What do you get up to outside of Leeds Conservatoire?

I have a part time job in a fast-food restaurant which keeps my student loan covering my rent and gives me the chance to buy new sample libraries! I am also a massive motor-sport fan, so I avidly follow the Formula 1 racing, so if you try to reach me on a Sunday and I don't reply, you can probably tell what I will be watching!

A lot of the time I also try and push new boundaries with my music; I open up projects that I haven't touched for ages so my mind is completely fresh and I listen to it again. I then open up the notes section on my DAW and compare my current notes to notes back then, to see how my ear has developed to the small critical elements of the music.

What advice would you give to a new student about to start at Leeds Conservatoire?

Enjoy it because rest assured you will love it. You will be astonished with the talent that surrounds you and the friends you make will be your friends for life.  

How would you describe your experience at Leeds Conservatoire so far in three words?

Exceeded all expectations.


Interested in studying film music at Leeds Conservatoire?

Find out more about Mitch Gardner: Soundcloud| Twitter | Instagram |Facebook

One week ahead of our Postgraduate Online Open Evening, we're going LIVE on Facebook with Patsy Gilbert (@PGtipss)…
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