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Having started on ACM’s Diploma guitar course in 2005 and progressed to the Higher DIploma and eventual Degree completion in 2009, ACM Alumni Sam Whiting has been on a journey of musical discovery and exploration.

Now fours years on since leaving ACM, Sam is still learning a lot about the music industry. Despite it being incredibly tough, the freedom and unpredictability of it means Sam is never short of new challenges. Having joined ACM straight from school, Sam went from part time player to seasoned UK and European gigger thanks to an opportunity presented by ACM and ‘Gigz Management’. But it was during Higher Diploma and Degree that Sam met fellow ACM student Emma Stevens and began doing session work including The Roundhouse and Abbey Road.

ACM caught up with Sam to chat about the projects he’s been involved with since graduating in 2009.

What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
My (legendary!) guitar teacher who lived down my road had some contacts within ACM and when I kept expressing an interest in getting ‘serious’ about playing guitar, he recommended I try a part-time course – I did two, and never looked back.

I was 100% sure about what I wanted to do after the first part-time week, I didn’t really think that far ahead, it was just amazing to be surrounded by musicians and music!

What was the best part about studying at ACM?
For me, it was just the jamming. Everyone was different and I learned more in one week at ACM from just being around the tutors and other guys in my class than I’d learned in the previous year of my personal playing!
Having all the gear and practice rooms there to go nuts with was just insane!

Tell us about what you’ve been up to since leaving ACM?
Since leaving ACM, I’ve played in various function bands and continued to tour the UK & Alps for another year. I also started forming some other bands with friends from ACM and played on a cruise ship for a while. After studying at ACM I was so much more comfortable playing in styles that seemed untouchable to me before – I started a Jazz Trio & Quartet, and started going in for sight-reading gigs using all that I’d learned from Pete Roth and Nat Martin!

More recently, I’ve been playing guitar in the band for ACM Alumni singer/songwriter ‘Emma Stevens’, who is doing incredible things right now – she’s an amazing artist who is constantly touring up and down the UK. Her single ‘Once’ has had a tonne of radio play (including Radio 2 B-list), which features my guitar solo and bass playing. Emma has only released two of four EP’s so far, and It’s an amazing gig already!

What’s been your proudest moment/career highlights so far?
Out of all of the cool stuff that’s happened, my proudest moment is probably a fairly recent one – getting the call to lay down a guitar solo on Emma Steven’s song ‘Once’.

Obviously I’m more than a little proud that the song is doing so well, but it was more the fact that someone gave me the call in the first place – Emma works with an incredible producer named Pete Woodroffe, and the fact that they were both happy meant, to me at-least, that I’m doing something right!

So what’s on the horizon for 2013?
I’m looking forward to more touring with Emma, and have just finished a few days in the studio for her next EP, but more than anything I’m looking forward to seeing all the venues, meeting all the people and hearing all the noises – guitar in hand!

I also fully intend to buy a decent video camera and make some geeky guitar videos for YouTube

Do you have any advice or tips for our current ACM students?
I guess my advice would be to do as much as you can at ACM. There is absolutely no-where else like it.

I was never particularly good at networking, but I’d say that at least 90% of the work I’ve gotten since leaving ACM can be traced back to contacts I made while I was there, by jamming or just saying ‘yes’ to gig opportunities!

ACM would like to thank Sam Whiting for getting back in touch and we wish him well for his forthcoming projects. For more information about ACM Guitar Alumni Sam Whiting, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Find out more about Emma Stevens via her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.