Jay Stewart

SAFA Community School, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Jay Stewart

SAFA Community School, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


How long have you been working with Musical Futures?

I’ve been teaching using a Musical Futures approach for 10 years.  

What do you do?

I am the Head of Music at Safa Community School in Dubai (2019). A private British International School.

What is your background?

I have been a musician from the age of 9. Starting on the guitar/piano (as you do!) but finally specialising in drums and percussion from age 12. I have the usual classical training but during my college days started to show a keen interest in Jazz so I ended up at Leeds College of Music doing a BA Hons in Jazz Studies. Also, during this time in Leeds I became obsessed with music production/electronic music and DJing and also started imitating some of these styles in a live band setting, especially from a drumming point of view.

I have been teaching since 2008 and have worked in 3 of the most culturally rich/diverse cities in the UK. London, Leeds and Liverpool. All 3 of these schools were challenging from a socio-economic perspective. However, with my experience, knowledge and practical music-making ethos I was able to transform the music departments into a thriving/successful creative hub for young people.

Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to be recognised for doing the job I love. In 2017 I was awarded ‘Most Inspirational Teacher’ at the Archdiocese Awards in the North West of England and in 2018 I was awarded a Silver award for ‘Most Inspirational Teacher’ at the National Pearson Awards in London. This was a truly magical moment and I am ever grateful for being able to do what I do.

Five Words that sum up Musical Futures

Inclusive, Doing, Creative, Current (Tech), Exciting

What music are you listening to at the moment?

My next gig in Dubai is DJing on a Yacht so I am currently planning my set for that which involves artists like Crazy P, Bonobo, Maribou State, Cinematic Orchestra, Bicep and the whole Ninja Tune sound

In terms of live performance I am loving two US jazz youngsters called JD Beck (17) and Domi (20). Just drums and keys only . These guys are taking it to the next level. Outerly astonishing! Go and check them out!

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