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Salford PhD alumni: jazz musician

by Fiona Christie on March 15, 2010

James Dickenson completed his PhD The impact of Norwegian folk music on Norwegian jazz, 1945 – 1995 at the University of Salford in 2003. In 2007, he retired from the post of cantor in Sor-Fron, Gudbrandsdalen in mid-Norway, but still releases CD’s as a jazz organist and pianist. He explains his decision to study at Salford and the importance of the PhD:

“Before emigrating to Norway, I had previously taught jazz piano in the Music department at Salford from 1983-1988 and was already aware of the department’s strengths before starting my PhD. Although my career as a performing and teaching musician was already established, achieving the PhD did ensure I moved onto a higher salary in my job at a Norwegian college.

Doing my PhD allowed me to meet with a number of experts in Norwegian folk music and jazz who broadened my outlook. In some cases, I took part in concerts with them which inspired me to greater things! During my PhD and after I was able to  help many research students working in my field – I have worked with individuals from  Iceland, Denmark, Norway (LIPA), Finland and USA (Rutgers University) who asked me for assistance in finding sources.

My advice to PhD students is to know your subject thoroughly, keep an open mind, insist on high standards and do not be tempted to compromise. They should also obtain sufficient contacts before or during their research in order to steer them towards possible employment opportunities.”

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