Skip to main content

Two former music students from same Derby College Group course win places at prestigious LIPA

Owen Doherty and Declan Dean have been good friends throughout their time at school and college – and both achieved distinctions in their Music Performance Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma at the Joseph Wright Centre. 

Gaining a place at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is a huge achievement for the two talented 18-year-olds.  

The institute which was famously co-founded by Beatle Paul McCartney on the site of his old school, attracts more than 3,000 applications a year for just 250 places. 

Owen has always been into music. When he was little his mum bought him a half-sized version of his late granddad’s beloved Fender Stratocaster.  

But despite playing guitar since the age of seven he hadn’t considered making music his career. 

Declan and Owen sat outside of The Joseph Wright Centre.

He said: “I was also studying Maths and Computer Science A-levels at Joseph Wright Centre and thought my future might be in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. 

“It was my music lecturer, Matt Shirtliff, who talked to me about options to study music at university, so I decided to apply to LIPA. It was good careers advice.” 

Bass player Declan, who took up music later, added: “I was friends with Owen throughout school and it’s mainly down to him that I got into music.  

“I was quite shy when I was 13 so I chose the music course in Year 9 because he was on it. 

“I really liked the Joseph Wright Centre. The music studio is so good. The PA system, soundproofing and things like the bass amps are cool and the recording equipment is great too.” 

Owen and Declan like rock bands such as the Foo Fighters but they are also interested in other genres, including jazz and funk.  

Both would like to work as session musicians when they graduate. 

Currently in a band together, they share songwriting duties. 

Owen and Declan jamming with their guitars outside of The Joseph Wright Centre.

Declan added: “Owen does the harmonies and lyrics and I supply the bass lines. For me, right since I was very young it’s always been about the rhythm rather than the tune. 

“I’m so looking forward to going to LIPA. It’s really well thought of and hard to get into. 

“There will be so many opportunities for us to play with other musicians, start new bands and get gigs.”

Find out more about our Music courses.