It’s been a while since we checked in at our recording studio, not that it’s been quiet in there (it rarely is) and our team’s ever-expanding with new talent and volunteers. And one such addition to the roster is Rob, a student reading music technology at Leeds Met University. He’s one of a group of students who helpfully give up their time and skills to support vulnerable members of the Orb community.

Two young men sat at a computer in a recording studio booth in the background is a man singing into a microphone

Rob and Ed in our recording studio working with local band Lobo

Rob’s a local boy from Knaresborough and found out about us on the vinspired web site. He’s studied sound for film, editing samples and recording bands but wanted to broaden his horizons:

“I’m using skills I’ve learnt at uni to help people do what they like to to. I’ve taught guitar to people and show them how to use the [recording] software. This isn’t stuff I’d normally use so it’s a new challenge and a chance to refresh my ideas.”

He’s already worked with Stevie, Pete, Gregory and (another) Steve and made new friends along the way. Rob also recalls his proudest moment yet; teaching Gregory how to record music then handing him a finished CD with his guitar-playing on.

“I like offering a familiar face. Some people are quite shy and a bit anxious, but once you understand what they want to do you can help them. Like, some people just come in and want to talk about music, or others show you what they’ve written. You have to adapt to each individual. If they’re not confident you have to be confident for them, which helps me as much as it helps them.”

And that’s something we hear a lot from our volunteers. In exchange for their time and skills we give them experience and new opportunities to learn that benefit both our members and our volunteers. Just like trading.

“It’s a chance to teach instead of being taught. I question why I do what I do, not just ‘getting on with it’ like I do at uni.”

Two young men sat at a computer in a recording studio booth

Rob and Ed in our recording studio working with local band Lobo

When Rob completes his university education and steps into a future career he’ll take his experiences at Orb with him but his aspirations remain philanthropic:

“I don’t think of it [volunteering] as a way to get a job, more of a way to use what I’ve been learning. I want to work wherever my skills will be most useful for other people.”