It’s graduation season at AMS and to mark the occasion, as usual, we have given out awards to some of this year’s outstanding students.

It was very hard to choose, as there have been some exceptional students, projects and performances this year, but in the end our panel of industry experts and AMS tutors whittled it down to three dedicated students.

There were three prizes on offer, one for songwriting talent and output, another for production based skills and achievements, and a final award for performance. Check out the list of winners below.

The Shaun Baxter H.E. Award for Performance – Steven Moore, AMS Gateshead.

Steven was nominated by Tom Pottage (2nd marker), for his University Ensembles “Other Ensemble” – a performance of Ney Rossauro’s Marimba Concerto. His performance was described as “absolutely astounding” and “one of the best performance submissions I’ve ever seen from an AMS student.” by Pottage. Shaun Baxter commented, “the whole performance was absolutely top class.”

“This candidate executed concert-style repertoire, requiring virtuoso-level knowledge and technique, with composure and assurance. His performance, displaying a very demanding but impressive four-mallet marimba technique, continued to excel even when placed under the harsh microscope used to scrutinise any lead instrument in a large ensemble.”

The Rev Hammer Award for Songwriting – Beth Goudie, AMS Online student

Beth studied BA (Hons) Professional Music (Performance) with AMS Online, and is set to graduate this summer. Her debut album out in July, adding to an impressive set of recent achievements. After receiving the news of her win, Beth commented: “Receiving the AMS Graduation Songwriting Award has been such a special addition to what was already an incredibly rewarding year. As a songwriter, an award like this is a real honour and encouragement as it gives me a new level of confidence as I move forward in my career. My time with AMS has added so much to my professional and personal life and it’s an experience I would recommend to any musician. Thank you so much to everyone at AMS for providing such an enriching opportunity, it’s one I will be forever grateful for.

Beth was nominated by AMS Tutor Kimwei McCarthy, who spoke about Beth’s songwriting portfolio: “An astoundingly crafted EP of songs, which appear simple of first listen, but are in fact meticulously arranged, so that every note and every syllable fuse and ignite. These songs sound ancient and yet current, showing that they speak to something timelessly human in us”

Rev Hammer commented saying, her songs are “Utterly charming recordings. The sparseness of the approach works perfectly with the lonesome feel and longing of the message. I particularly liked the lyrical content of songs such as Hiraeth, Bouncy Castles, Ashes and Home. Bouncy Castles in a particular felt perceptive and wry and encapsulated the song writers dream of making the personal global. All in all a very rewarding and enriching listening experience with the beautiful recording of the voice adding both poise and fragility.

Beth’s prize includes a free recording day at Studio 54 in Exeter, at her graduation ceremony. Two other awards, one for Performance and another for Production up for grabs, though details on winners are yet to be announced. Head to the AMS Online website to read more.

The AMS Music Production Award – Matt Stevenson, Exeter

Matt was nominated by tutor Rob Dymond. After much deliberation it was decided that Matt deserved the award due to the professional quality of his music for production project:

Overall this production is well arranged for the Idiom, as well as showing that Matt has a good grasp of mixing audio, mastering, sampling and recording instruments. Musicians have been directed well and perform to a very high standard in his work. Rob said, “each track is competitive in terms of loudness without losing dynamics and the low end definition is where this project shines, it would be suitable to be played on large speakers in club or at a dance music festival.” Careful considerations have been made throughout his work in terms of processing, saturation, stereo width and balance. Rob also said, “I very much look forward to hearing this music within a professional context in the future.”