Bass trombonist Joseph Smales is studying for the Royal College of Music’s Master of Music in Performance under James Buckle and Paul Milner as a Victoria Robey Scholar supported by the John Lewis Partnership Scholarship. He studied music at St Peter’s College, Oxford, from 2017-2020, where he held the Jacob Barnes Instrumental Scholarship, and was awarded first-class honours. Joseph has been a Help Musicians Postgraduate Performance Award holder since 2020. He has studied under Bob Hughes, Roger Argente, Dave Stewart, and Sebastiaan Kemner, among others. He received the Star Performer award at the Bromley Festival for Music and Speech in 2017, and an honourable mention in the International Trombone Association’s George Roberts Bass Trombone competition in 2019. He has performed in ensembles at the RCM ranging from the Symphony Orchestra under Jac van Steen, to the Big Band led by Peter Long. In addition he plays an active role in a number of student-led chamber ensembles including a trombone quartet and brass dectet. As an undergraduate, he regularly performed in orchestral, jazz, and chamber music concerts, and toured to Japan and Thailand with the Oxford University Orchestra and Jazz Orchestra respectively. Coaching as part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Pathway scheme has allowed Joseph to pursue his ambition of orchestral performance.
With the backing of Help Musicians, Joseph is able to undertake both intensive instrumental teaching and the opportunity to undertake his own research driven academic project as part of the Royal College of Music’s MMus program. He will benefit from the specialist tuition of James Buckle and Paul Milner in particular, but also the many visiting professors that have links to the RCM. He hopes to explore a range of related skills, for instance receiving lessons on contrabass trombone and exploring early music on sackbut. In addition, the college offers sit-in schemes with a number of orchestras, which he aims to make the most of as he pursues his ambition of orchestral performance – for instance, the BBC Symphony’s Pathway Scheme.