Scholars Spotlight: Tim Pickering

A new feature, profiling this year’s new crop of University Music Scholars: this week, saxophonist Tim Pickering.


My name is Tim Pickering and I come from Littlehampton in West Sussex, and I am studying for a BSc in Forensic Chemistry. I studied at the Littlehampton Community School, and then took A-Levels at the 6th Form there (although for some reason, not in music!) I have been playing the alto saxophone eleven years, and have recently picked up the tenor saxophone as my primary instrument. I hold ABRSM Grade 7 on Alto Sax, and I am currently working towards Grade 8 on the Tenor.

I have played with many different groups and set ups – from quintets,  pop bands and the local ‘Littlehampton Concert Band’ through to a seventeen-piece big band I assembled with the help of a few friends.

My school never really had a great music department; in fact when I joined, the ‘orchestra’ consisted of myself on alto sax, a flute and two violins! It did improve gradually, and one of the music teachers Steve Winter (a veteran himself of the UKC Big Band and Concert Band) got a small jazz group off the ground, which was great as it got some musicians in the music department some much-needed gigs! Although when the new head of music arrived in my second year, classical music lost the emphasis and steel pans became all the rage (much to the other musicians’ disgust!). Our school wasn’t involved in the county music side of things either, so this meant if I wanted playing opportunities in larger groups, I had to create them myself!

I am currently working on putting together and rehearsing a quintet here at Canterbury, with the aim of tackling styles from straight ahead jazz to rhythm and blues, and maybe even some classic rock ‘n’ roll. I’m looking forward to hopefully performing at some of the Jazz @5 sessions , and generally what music here brings for me! I am also playing first Tenor Sax in the Concert Band and Big Band. However, I still would like to play more, so if anyone is looking for a sax player for their band…

I feel I have been very privileged in being picked as a music scholar here at Canterbury, and the musical side of life is fantastic – in fact it was the music department that really swayed my decision to apply here! To go from playing in small jazz quintets and the very occasional Big-Band get together, to rehearsing solidly once a week with decent gigs booked is an exciting change for me! I really want to use my time at university to push myself to be the best sax player I can possibly be, and I hope with the scholarship and the help of my teacher Peter Cook, I hope I can continue to progress.

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