Not long now, so take your chance. Go to the Facebook page and list your Chili tune before July 4th.
Visit Band Workshops Facebook and win, win, win!
Here at Band Workshops we think Dads are pretty cool, so we wanted to celebrate Fathers' Day by offering you all Buy One Get One Free on summer school places, for a parent and child. To claim this offer please state 'Dad's Day' in both the parent's and child's enrolment form in the 'how did you hear about us' section. Then simply pay for 1 place.
Mark Richardson (Skunk Anansie, Feeder, Little Angels) and Jimmy Sims (Amy McDonald, The Saturdays, Matt Willis, Pete Doherty) have just put their weight behind the Summer Schools.
Click on Industry Guests to see who's on board so far........
Want to know more about Band Workshops or book on to a course? AND you want to talk to a real person? Call 07938 385164. Old School!!
Singing lessons can provide so much more than just helping us ‘learn to sing better’…. Below are five ways in which singing lessons can be beneficial.
1. Reaching your potential. Starting with the most obvious then, let's discuss ‘learning to sing better’! In order to become a better singer, getting private singing lessons is the key to noticeable improvement. Have you ever sung at a gig or karaoke and felt as though you wished you’d started your set when you had finished your last song, because your voice actually felt ready? That’s because your vocal cords have sufficiently warmed up! By getting singing lessons, you can learn the techniques and skills to make the most out of your potential as a singer, be educated in how to warm up, along with being allocated specific exercises tailored to your voices needs… remember we are all individual, and that includes our voices, so not everyone is necessarily suited to the same exercises to get the most out of their voice.
2. Vocal health. If you are singing regularly then your vocal cords should be treated respectfully. Having singing lessons will give you a better understanding of how to use your voice correctly, and thus safely so as not to strain the cords or wear them out. You can also get advice on diet and lifestyle choices that can affect the efficiency of your vocal cords and their general health and stamina. Breathing control is also part of vocal coaching, therefore should you suffer from breathing difficulties; lessons can be a holistic way to improve your breathing. Vocal health is paramount to any singer. If you are hoping to work as a professional singer, it is even more important – if you lose your voice, you not only lose you passion, but you lose your job!
3. Public speaking. Professionals in the corporate/public speaking world will also benefit from vocal coaching. If you have to stand up and speak for a long period of time in front of a crowd of people you need to be confident and speak clearly. It is still a performance, but of a different kind!
4. Confidence. Most of us lack confidence, or bury away our ‘inner voice’ from time to time. Singing in front of someone is deemed to be one of the most terrifying things you can do! Having singing lessons can be a great way to gain general confidence in a fun and expressive way. You’d be amazed what positive effects it can have on self esteem.
5. It's fun! Singing is a common hobby which everybody has the tool for. Everyone needs a pastime and singing is an expressive, creative and satisfying way to enjoy yourself, even if you do not necessarily see yourself as a performer.
Band Workshops is absolutely delighted to announce two new members of the team!
Erika Footman and Rose Kimberley will be managing and developing new and exciting courses. Please spread the word!
@erikaofficial @rosekimberley1 @mikesturgis @ian_a_edwards #newmusiceducation #watchthisspace www.bandworkshops.com
How to nail your first song arrangement - Ian Edwards
Getting the arrangement right can turn the song you have just written into an instant rock anthem that will last forever. Get it wrong and your new song will smell like teen socks.
Since July 2012, I’ve had the privilege of being on staff at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance – actually, it’s just The Institute for short. It’s a vibrant educational community, filled with loads of inspiring people. The one problem for me when I considered working there was its location – Kilburn.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have anything against Kilburn. It’s just that firstly, it’s a lot farther away from the streets of Surrey than I would like. Second, its ‘urban’ feel was slightly daunting to me now that I have lived for about 13 years outside of central London.
Yes, it’s a little dirty and a little cramped at times. Just walking the street from the Tube station to The Institute can be a challenge given the number of people. However, a strange and unexpected thing has happened. I began to pick up on a distinct energy in the neighborhood that was not only interesting – it was bizarrely rejuvenating.
How you may ask? Well, the answer for me was eloquently laid out in a book that I’ve read recently called Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. He has a number of interesting things to say on the subject of creativity, and I really recommend the book. In one of the chapters he posits that the friction of interaction in a city is one of the main catalysts for creative ideas. It may not always be pleasant, but crowded spaces force us to interact and not become isolationist. And it’s this type of interaction that can inspire ideas and innovation that would not have happened otherwise.
One of Lehrer’s main proponents for the urban life and its creative benefits is David Byrne of the Talking Heads. There are plenty of quotes from Byrne in the book on how his New York city lifestyle has profoundly shaped his music from its mixture of ethnic sounds – everything from funky Latin beats to jangly Nigerian bass lines to CBGBs style punk. He says about his music, “The city definitely made it possible. A lot of what’s in the music is stuff that I first heard because it was playing down the street. Those are the accidents that have always been so important for. And the just happen naturally in the right place…In a vibrant city, you can get just as much from going to the barbershop, or walking down a crowded street, as you can from going to a museum. It’s about letting all that stuff in, so that the city can change you.”
So – do you want to expand your creativity? You could do a lot worse than Kilburn. Open yourself up to the possibilities and let those ideas flow.
How To Nail Your First Song - Ian Edwards.
Okay, here's the next instalment in the 'How To Nail' series.......your first song. The music industry exists purely on the ability of songwriters to come up with gut wrenchingly good tunes. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t too. So let’s begin.
Practicing – Finding Your Own Path
“What should I be practicing?”
This is a question I get asked fairly regularly by my students, and unless I know the individual very well I’m usually at a loss to give them a definitive answer. The reason for this is that the study of your instrument is a very personal thing; the goals, aspirations and interests of each person will vary immensely.
The overall skill-set expected of a professional working drummer is huge and therefore knowing where to focus your time and energy in the practice room can sometimes be difficult. Therefore, a practice routine should be developed that takes into account the needs of the individual based on their goals, priorities, time and resources.
The following areas are the ones I suggest every serious drummer should consider when forming a well-structured practice routine. By default, some of these areas will overlap. However, it’s important that each area is monitored periodically and receives attention as needed:
1. Technique – The development of technique requires an ergonomically correct playing style in both hands and feet with a view to increasing speed, power and endurance in these areas. This includes grip, general movements (Moeller technique), positioning, posture, heel up/heel down.
2. Timing (internal clock) – developing the ability to keep good time at a variety of different tempos and dynamics. Additionally, the style being played (and its basic subdivision) should be considered in the developing timing.
3. Styles/Genres – This will include knowledge of the typical patterns, sounds (e.g. ancillary percussion for latin styles or a second snare drum in drum ‘n’ bass) and the fundamental characteristics (e.g. song form, instrumentation) of a typical song/composition, as well as being able to improvise in the genre authentically as appropriate.
4. Reading – This includes learning ‘note-specific’ notation and the interpretative/geographical aspects of a drum chart.
5. Four-Way Independence – Learning four-way independence can often overlap with learning technique, reading and styles. Exercises and patterns utilized for this purpose should be done in duple and triplet subdivision, and the downbeat should be ‘sung’.
6. Repertoire – Learning songs can have excellent benefits for several reasons. In addition to increasing your knowledge of styles (depending what songs you are learning) your chances of being able to play with a band at short notice increases dramatically, particularly when they are the ‘classics’ or standards for a particular genre.
7. Soloing – This can be done in a variety of ways: groove soloing, soloing over a song form, trading fours or eights; over an ostinato or free soloing.
8. Sound quality – the ability to create a professional sound from the instrument at a wide range of dynamics, including overall balance of the various instruments of the kit.
9. Phrasing – the ability to hear ‘rhythmic cycles’ in 3, 5, etc. for the purpose of fills, soloing and creating new patterns
10. Listening/Transcription – listening to music with focus and intent and making the attempt to notate the content.
Other Important Areas To Consider!
1. Play with other musicians – ultimately, this is the end goal as the drums are usually an accompanying instrument. Playing with others brings many variances to the music that you must continually compensate for, and it involves you having to know your own role on a deeper level.
2. Practice concentrating – ‘Think, don’t stink’ – a powerful pithy maxim that commands us (Zen-like) to focus on the one thing you are doing at that moment. We make errors when our mind wanders; what is the quality of our attention and doing at any given moment? Yoga, martial arts and meditation can be excellent ways to develop this.
3. Keep a journal – Make a note of what you have practiced and when. Set goals for yourself that are ambitious but realistic, and are measurable when possible. Be reflective and make notes of your progress and any feedback that you may be receiving from a colleague or tutor.
4. Practicing away from the instrument – ‘mental’ practicing or visualization can have tremendous benefit; you may not have the luxury to sit behind the kit, but there is much you can do to mentally work through an area of study or an upcoming performance.
Record yourself – the recording doesn’t lie; you will hear things in your playing that you weren’t aware of previously. Do this in your practice sessions and when you play gigs.