Barkley McKay, Lecturer

Barkley McKay


Barkley has been a professional musician since 1986 playing piano, Hammond, keyboards and guitar. He studied Jazz and Contemporary Music (hons) at The Leeds College of Music from1990-93 majoring in piano with distinction.

He has worked with artists as diverse as The Pretty Things, Crystal Gayle, Jon Langford, The Waco Brothers and The Mekons, touring extensively through Europe from the late 80’s through to the present - with two stints at Glastonbury, most recently in 2014 on the Billy Bragg stage. He also does extensive session work, collaborating with engineer/producer Ian Caple and Mike Hagler of Kingsize in Chicago amongst others. Locally he has been a member of Panjumby, a 5 piece band playing contemporary jazz, funk and calypso with steel pan virtuoso Dudley Nesbitt from Trinidad.

Barkley has always had a keen interest in technology. He started teaching for The Leeds College of Music from 1994 on the Music Technology and Music Production programmes up to Masters level - both delivering and developing content until 2011, when he joined staff part time at Leeds Beckett University.

He also owns (and built) a full analogue recording studio called Valley Wood Studio, which has operated since 2000, working mostly in the acoustic and Jazz field. Clients have included Jaki Graham, Kirsty McGee, Matthew Bourne and Corrine Bailey-Rae. His studio also does numerous teaching workshops– most notably for York St. John University and Leeds University.

Current Teaching

  • Acoustics and Critical Listening
  • Acoustics for Music Production
  • Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
  • Analogue and Digital Systems
  • Audio Production Techniques
  • Creative Audio Programming
  • Studio Recording Techniques

Research Interests

Recording session and music session work practice inform and help revise approach to teaching and developing teaching material. This research enables real world projects to be brought into the teaching arena (with artists consent) and engages students with current practices, challenges and developments. Is an active participant in the Music Producers Guild and also Pro Recording Workshop - hosted by Terry Manning and Ross Hogarth - a network and forum with other engineers and producers worldwide.

Barkley McKay, Lecturer