When Mr Cowell shied away from opinion

MARTYN Watson has all the credentials to be showing students in Buxton how to hit the right notes and progress their music aspirations.

For Martyn, who is heading the musical technology course at the Buxton campus of the University of Derby, used to work with the international record company BGM - alongside a certain, less known then, Simon Cowell.

During his time as an artiste and repertoire man at the recording giant, Martyn dealt with artistes as varied as Lisa Stansfield and the US star Patti Smith.

Martyn recalls that he spotted the early talent of David Gray, who has since gone on to huge success.

He said: "I arranged an audition for David to play live in front of Simon Cowell at the office and afterwards Simon said that he didn't want to have to sit in front of a live audition like that again. I don' t think he felt comfortable with it.

"Of course, Simon has since gone on to do exactly that – judging artistes live – on X-Factor."

Martyn also had a minor chart hit with his band Pookah Makes 3 on Virgin Records with a track entitled Take it Back.

Now based in the High Peak, Martyn is taking the students he teaches into the community to allow them to experience playing to local audiences. Next Tuesday night a series of student concerts gets underway at the Spa Bar, Buxton.

Martyn added: "I want to get students out of the classroom situation with their music and into the community – to experience the real world.

"They will be encouraged to do press releases, set up gear and perform in the community. We hope the local community will turn up to support the concerts."