Here at TRP Berks HQ, we’ve had a great first week running our classes and getting back on it! If you knew the discussions that come up in the office – you’d likely join us in laughter and perhaps even cringe with some of the to
pics that come up!
We had a great discussion this week about Roald Dahl and the memories we have of reading his books and our favourite quotes – we did all agree that “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” from The Twits was one of our favourite quotes, and of course the “Oompa Loompa” song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the funniest songs of his books. However, we also came across a quote from Roald that wasn’t in his books but was one he made about being a writer and one that we all agreed upon and felt a connection with.
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”
Each of our tutors are music makers and their dream was to be a professional musician – we are so lucky we can say that all of our tutors are professional musicians and that their dreams did come true.
One of our vocal tutors, Naomi Di Cillo, dreamed of being a professional singer and started training from the age of six. She has vast experience in a multitude of singing styles having performed in countless musicals and productions, including Half a Sixpence, Evita, Pirates of Penzance, Guys n Dolls and Calamity Jane at The Hexagon and the lead role in ‘B Is for Black’ which showcased at Southstreet Art’s Centre Reading; and is a L.A.M.D.A grade 8 certified singer/actor and vocal coach with a HND in Performing Arts. Naomi also sings with the Pink Floyd tribute ‘Endless Floyd’ and function band ‘Strictly Commercial’ – a dream come true performing at so many different venues.
Similarly, one of our drum tutors,Mark Vincent, took up drumming at the age of four and began private lessons through the Berkshire Music service from seven years old. At the same time as also taking piano and recorder lessons, drumming quickly turned into a passion through his inspiring teachers Michael Creech and Hamish Stewart. His parents also surrounded him with all the genres a young motivated drummer needs; from Phil Collins, Deep Purple and Buena Vista Social Club, to Yes, Weather Report and Dave Brubeck and his dream to be a professional musician was born! Mark’s band, The Arusha Accord, has had multiple releases through Basick Records and has toured extensively throughout the UK and across Europe sharing stages with Napalm Death, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Sylosis and Architects to name a few. He also graduated in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Music from Oxford Brookes University, confirming his academic abilities too.
We want our students to feel the same way and nurture their visions. This might be to form a band, be an independent musician or singer, or to be an engineer, a chef or inventor! Whatever this vision is, learning an instrument will give them so many skills, as we have already discussed in previous blogs. The passion and dedication we already see in our students confirms that our teaching style works and that the positive mentoring we provide will create music makers and help dreams come true.
Harmeet September 15th, 2017
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Why is it that we – parents and children – can’t wait for the summer holidays and then several weeks in we’re – parents – counting down the days until our little and big ones are back at school and the routine is once again in charge?
Add to this the juggle of work and childcare and we parents go from breathing a sigh of relief that we have six weeks of no school runs to breathing fire organising it all!
Although back to school brings a sense of normality, it also brings new opportunities, new beginnings and new options for after school clubs.
There are many studies which discuss the merits of learning a musical instrument and, with music being cut from the national curriculum; it is all the more important to source this elsewhere.
Children who attend music lessons are reported to have an edge when it comes to detecting patterns in the world around us, with musical instrument training making their brains better at statistical learning, engaging in an emotional response and learning a technique. These are all key building blocks and can also help with learning to read and learning a second language; certainly skills not to be ignored.
However, on top of this, the learning also needs to be fun. Songs and rhymes are a great way to memorise lists, data and facts, rather than more traditional methods of learning by rote. Similarly, learning a song at each music lesson can have far more impact and memorability that simply learning chords or notes. It helps the student to actually see an outcome from what they have learnt and ignite emotional responses. This has a two-fold effect. Firstly, the student will feel an enormous sense of pride and achievement, giving their confidence and self-esteem a considerable boost. Secondly, it will spur them on to practice because they have achieved a concrete outcome – playing a song!
If you add to this a community then you really are on to a winner! We all prosper in a positive environment and children benefit from being with like-minded individuals. Learning a musical instrument with other students and tutors who have the same passion is really inspiring. The shared positivity and excitement becomes contagious. Coupled with being able to leave a lesson knowing how to play a song is priceless.
Who wouldn’t want to give their child the opportunity to increase their brain power and self-esteem while forming new and important friendships, while learning a musical instrument, which will be a skill for life?
The Rock Project Berkshire lessons offer two hours of learning a musical instrument or singing, including music reading, in a fun environment where friendships are formed and each week students perform as a band, making what they have learnt so much more memorable. It probably is the best music lesson your children could wish for!
Harmeet September 11th, 2017
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“Music produces a kind of pleasure that human nature cannot do without”
We could also cite “If music be the food of love, play on” from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and there are no doubt many more famous and some not so famous quotes on the pleasure of music.
The world of rock and pop has come a long way from being politically correct and restrained to the now political and honest music where the music and lyrics often have a real impact on the listener and can open up memories, feelings, joy, sadness and all other types of emotions.
Indeed, music is scientifically proven to engage with our brains. A recent study found that when people in the study took a drug to block the chemical compounds in the brain that activate the so-called pleasure centre, they no longer responded to music.
Pleasure, or reward, is experienced in two phases in the brain, according to the study. The first phase is the anticipatory, or ‘wanting’ phase, which is driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine. The second phase is the consummatory, or ‘liking’ phase, and is driven by opioids in the brain, the research cites.
“This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure,” senior study author Daniel Levitin, a professor of psychology at McGill University in Canada, commented.
The pleasure is all ours…
Here at The Rock Project Berkshire we are lucky to have a continuous stream of music in our lives, which inspires, motivates and evokes us. We also see this in our students and have asked a handful which songs inspire different emotions for them, alongside their parents and the team behind it all.
“After seeing my son perform in the end of year concert, every time I hear Avril Laveigne’s song ‘Complicated’ it brings a smile to my face and a surge of pride as I remember him playing the guitar,” says one parent whose son is in the Bracknell sessions.
“I grew up with The Smiths and the whole Indie era and love the memories these songs evoke – oh the misery of Morrissey!” comments our PR guru.
“I love ‘How you remind me’ by Nickleback and couldn’t believe I performed it live at the end of year concert! That memory will always stay with me and hearing that song takes me back there,” comments one of our senior students.
“What does music mean to me? Gosh, big question! I guess music to me is an outlet. I was never great with words as a child. I struggled to form sentences properly and tended to have some pretty awkward conversations. When I discovered my love of drumming and music in general, all of a sudden I didn’t need words to communicate. Through drumming I could show people if I was happy, sad, excited or if I was thinking quickly or slowly. Slowly this transitioned into other instruments and with them came more nuanced, specific emotion and feeling in my playing. Not many other mediums can make you feel very, VERY specific emotions the way music can,” comments Ben one of our bass tutors.
“Music is, for me, the ultimate combination of the beauty of mathematics with emotion and feeling. It has the ability to conjure up memories, or to create new ones entirely. I remember the first time I heard Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning’ album as a teenager. Looking through the album artwork while listening to the opening track, just taking in the whole atmosphere – I don’t think you ever forget moments like that!” says Rob one of our guitar tutors.
Send us your comments of what music means to you… @trpberkshire (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
Harmeet August 24th, 2017
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It’s very interesting when you watch children, particularly when they are with their friends. They almost become different people and their confidence can grow – or flounder – depending on the reaction they get. Consequently, belonging in a community is so important to children – and adults – and we pride ourselves at The Rock Project Berkshire that we achieve this. We create communities for our students to thrive in and develop, by being around other like-minded kids.
These communities, however, offer so much more with the addition of music.
Music has that rare ability to touch your soul and resonate with you. It is this aspect that helps to draw children out of their shells and help define their inner world. Music is responsible for revolutionising and defining youth culture, language, attitudes, and fashion. Often it’s about breaking boundaries, social rebellion, and exploring those feelings that children, and particularly teens, struggle to comprehend. Sharing an affinity with a band gives them a sense of belonging, and finding where they fit in helps them to better understand themselves.
Hearing a band or musician sing about something that resonates with them gives children the confidence to perhaps start talking about the subject themselves. However, add learning a musical instrument to the mix and this emotional connection with music is further enhanced. It opens up the knowledge of the power of music and how it can be used to express feelings, political views, send a message to someone. It connects and unites and this is so important for children, and particularly teens. We certainly see this in our classes and the difference between the juniors and seniors, where meaningful friendships are forged and new bands with new sounds and poignant song words are being created.
Train Your Brain
Learning music also gives students an edge over their peers as many of the skills needed to learn – memory, perseverance, self-discipline, dedication, enjoyment, fine motor skills – also contribute to long-lasting positive changes in the brain.
This helps with concentration and, importantly, self-esteem.
Researchers at Bournemouth University and Queen’s University Belfast have discovered that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents with behavioural and emotional problems. In partnership with Every Day Harmony (the brand name for Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust), the researchers found that children and young people, aged 8-16-years-old, who received music therapy had significantly improved self-esteem and reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy.
The study, which was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, also found that young people aged 13 and over who received music therapy had improved communicative and interactive skills, compared to those who received usual care options alone. Music therapy also improved social functioning over time in all age groups.
So, the next time your children pester you for a new game that claims to help brain development – get them along to a free taster session (click HERE!) at The Rock Project Berkshire and see how their brains, confidence and self-esteem develops.
Harmeet August 15th, 2017
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Empower through music… The words we run TRP Berkshire by, the foundation on which we built our music school. We want to give children a voice; the opportunity to learn, play and create music.
Music is soul food. It provides respite, friendship, peace, a platform for politics, for freedom, for change.
This is a great week for music this year with festivals across the country celebrating different genres of music, with many of the artists responsible for creating new sounds, new genres and new voices for music.
Take, for example, Jamiroquai, who are performing at The Boardmasters Festival in Newquay from 9th August. Over twenty years ago, the newly formed band became synonymous with the UK funk and acid jazz genre, revolutionising and fusing new styles of music together. For those of us who witnessed this awakening it was magical, funky and uplifting. It created a buzz. This is the same buzz we inspire in our students – we encourage them to create and feel that buzz.
Speaking about the band’s new album Automaton, singer Jay Kay commented: “I love the buzz of starting with a blank sheet of paper then seeing songs come together, especially when you see and know when they’re finished, and when you are overdoing or overcooking them, and when you feel you’ve got it right.”
One of our junior guitarists is already a keen songwriter and is using the knowledge we have taught him to write his own songs with music to accompany them!
Music can give a voice when it might not always feel like you have one and we see this with our students as their confidence flourishes.
Many bands and artists use music as a forum for politics. The Specials, who are performing at The Boomtown Festival in Winchester from 10th August, began at the same time as Rock Against Racism, back in 1978. According to Jerry Dammers, anti-racism was intrinsic to the formation of the Specials, commenting many years ago: “Music gets political when there are new ideas in music …punk was innovative, so was SKA, and that was why bands such as the Specials could be political.”
We embrace all cultures and genres at TRP Berkshire and are lucky that we have such talented tutors who can teach such diversity and style.
Check back next week when we explore giving children a voice…
Harmeet August 9th, 2017
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TRPB Learning Journey
We’d like to take you on a journey…
Imagine you walk into a room filled with guitars, bass guitars, drums and microphones. The guitars are shiny and tempting, with strings that are just calling out to be strummed, while the drum sticks are just begging you to bang out the drum beat from your favourite song. But wait, the microphone is there on its stand and no one else is in the room – why not sing to your hearts content? You walk over towards your chosen instrument when other people begin to fill the room. You retreat back and remind yourself that you cannot play an instrument, who are you kidding? Now, fast forward several months later and you are stood on stage performing at your first ever gig! How on earth did that happen?
The Rock Project Berkshire happened! Its talented tutors worked their magic and now you can play the guitar or drums or sing an entire song perfecting the techniques you have been taught.
Now let’s take another journey. This time through the eyes of the tutors, many of whom, despite being professional artists, have never taught before…
Guitar – Aaron Iley
Aaron is one of our guitar tutors and has experienced some pleasant surprises this year while teaching.
“I’ve become more aware of different styles of learning and encouragement. Some students find it easier with chords described as shapes that they can picture as opposed to others whom are much more comfortable using the numbers in a tab. I came up with a basic but interesting analogy to try and describe how keys work to a junior student. A key is like a recipe; let’s say for a jam sandwich. It will let you know what you can put in the sandwich (song) that will sound good. So if the jam sandwich is in C major playing a C# would be like putting mustard in your jam sandwich. Whereas the butter or bread could be an E or G. I did consider taking it further with the idea of sweet and sour foods and clash and resolve but decided that was for another day!
“For me, teaching the juniors is getting the balance right between installing great fundamental techniques but keeping it fun, while teaching the seniors is different because many have often learnt bits and pieces at home, so I might have to adjust bad self-taught habits, most commonly neglecting the use of a little finger, or helping them understand the role they are playing in the song – serve the song not yourself! This not only helps them sound better playing with each other in a band but also helps break ‘the wall’ that all musicians hit from time to time with improving their playing.
“On the other hand, I find that many of the adults I teach are really successful at what they do as a day job and as such, a lot of them feel very nervous playing their instrument around. My job is to also help them to feel confident so that they can play what I am teaching them with others and to really enjoy that moment in the song away from day to day pressures.
“I’ve really enjoyed giving some of my students something that I believed would stretch their ability and may even be a little beyond them at this moment in time to push them. I often find that a week later they are playing the part more in time and cleaner than I believed they would be able to. It is a fantastic feeling to know they have taken the challenge and your advice on how to practice it!
“Ultimately the end result is so rewarding! I loved the performances! The look on peoples’ faces when they’ve worked really hard, been so nervous but enjoyed that moment and the applause is fantastic!”
Vocals – Rebecca Cooch
Rebecca is one of our talented vocal coaches and our newest tutor. This year, she has taken a fun approach to teaching and it has really paid off!
“With the Juniors I always try to make lessons particularly fun and interesting because they tend to have shorter attention spans and respond well to learning through games while the seniors are usually more focused and motivated to improve their singing and learn the songs quickly, so we can spend a bit more time on technique exercises and once we have learnt the main structure of the song, we can spend more time on more difficult aspects such as harmonies and performance of the song. The adults who come to Encore sessions are very motivated and therefore we focus on technique and can move on to harmonies once we have the structure and tune of the song learnt. I sometimes find that the adults can be less confident than the younger students, so I work on building their confidence too.
“I am so pleased that approximately 70% of the juniors I have taught have excelled at singing over the past year, while all my students have impressed me with their progress, mastering tuning and timing issues. I would say approximately 90% of my senior students have excelled at technique this year. I have been very impressed with their progress. Their ability to sing harmonies accurately has really improved. Approximately 45% of my Encore students have excelled at mastering their technique since Easter when I started teaching them. They have all made great improvements too.
“The students surprise me every week! I have been amazed by many of their abilities to retain and deliver harmonies and the sheer energy they bring to the lessons and performances, including making up their own dance moves, for example! Being fairly new to teaching, I have also surprised myself with my ability to engage a group of young people of varying ages and abilities, often with very different characters, and enable them all to learn the same song in a short pace of time. I have developed new ways to teach harmonies and help people to learn and retain their harmony line against the tune. I have also found new ways to make lessons fun for the younger students and to divide up the time and parts of the songs in order to keep the lessons flowing effectively and cater for different abilities within one group. I find it very rewarding, although it can be challenging!
“All of my students make me proud, but I was particularly bowled over by the performance the Encore singers gave at the end of term gig and I was extremely pleased with the young people at the summer concert. The seniors did everything we had worked on and really performed their songs. The juniors did brilliantly performing some tricky songs in harmony on a big stage in front of an audience – probably bigger than they had imagined. I was so impressed with how confident the students were.”
Bass – Jo Alden
Our talented bassist Jo is also new to teaching and has found her first job doing it most rewarding.
“There is a different technique to teaching the juniors. I find I need to break down the song that much more than for the seniors and Encore. I need to make them see that they can in fact play the song at a simple level; to then build up to what their ability can make them achieve.
“On the other hand, the seniors always make me laugh! They’re all so laid back, but not so much all at the same time! I find that if I break it down and simplify it too much, they get in the habit of playing the song in that simplified way and find it a lot more difficult to then be built up to a more advanced level. I find I need to challenge them more from the word go, to help them play what the song requires. With the Encore students, I tend to show them what they need to do and how to play it, and then they kind of need to be left to it to work the rest out by themselves. I certainly throw a word of advice out there every-so-often though!
“I am so pleased that after attending classes, the majority, if not all, of my students can comfortably play the bass to a certain level. It’s a very easy instrument to just pick up and play a few notes, but it’s when you get going on it, you realise how much there is to learn and how complex playing the bass can be. I’d say 50% can play any rhythm I throw at them, and one student has even expressed an interest in slap! I find that leaving them to it is actually one of best teaching technique I have developed (once I’ve showed them what they need to do!)! Giving them the opportunity to just play the song without relying on me has huge benefits and shows them (and me) that they can indeed play the song. It’s a huge confidence boost for the students. They always manage to surprise me! My Juniors especially – I have on some occasions taken their music away while they’re playing, and they nail it. Sometimes the tab/music sheets act as a massive security blanket that they can hide behind. I love getting to the point when I can prove to them that they DON’T need it.
“I’ve also surprised myself this year! As this is my first official job as a tutor, I’ve surprised myself that everything that has been thrown at me this year, I’ve been able to do. Initially, I’m proud that I am able to teach a group, not 1:1, of kids/teens/adults a bunch of songs well enough, for them to then get up on a stage in front of a big audience, and ace it.
“This year has been awesome – I’m doing a job I love AND I get to watch how all my students’ hard work as benefitted them, not just on a weekly basis, but at the Summer Concert and Encore gigs. It’s just amazing seeing a child’s confidence grow on a weekly basis and seeing it grow enough for them to then get on a big stage and perform! I think that’s the biggest thing for me – seeing that the students are noticing they actually CAN do this, and they really can do anything if they put their mind to it.”
Drums – Raj Puni
As one of our seasoned tutors, Raj has been surprised by the laid back approach of some students but that the end result is still just as awesome as those who are more hands on.
“With the juniors the focus has been on understanding rhythm and getting the basics as solid and correct as possible, as well as understanding the key elements of different styles, such as the emphasis of kick and snare in pop and rock music. As the seniors are older and a bit more dexterous I can go into more detail and I have more chance to focus on the finer points on their technique, start working on fills and rudiments and how to apply technique on the drum set. The songs are also more difficult, which means we can cover some more advanced subjects.
“With Encore it is slightly different as most students have played before or have taught themselves. I find myself trying to correct bad habits more than really teaching new drum beats. We can normally get through the song fairly quick and I can then focus on things like making sure my students are holding their stick properly and striking the drums as effectively as possible. We also end up covering gig etiquette and performance techniques.
“Most of my students are confident with reading drum notation. It’s easier for the seniors and Encore Students to get the hang of it easier than the juniors. I think in the beginning it’s more important to get the juniors playing the songs than focusing on being able to read the notation.
“One thing I have realised is that everyone learns at different speeds and to be patient enough to give each student a chance to excel is really important. One of my biggest challenges was realising just how diverse students’ learning styles were. I have had to come up with multiple analogies for the same subject. Also with some students getting them to count aloud while they are playing works really well while with others getting them to “say’ the drum beat seems to work better. I think treating each session as five individual drum lessons rather than one group lesson has really helped me make sure that each student gets the attention they deserve. I think this one depends on the song. All of my students, when they find a song they really like will do all they can to master it, although I do have a fair few students who are really keen and will put a lot of time into anything I put in front of them.
“Have the students surprised you in any way? Most definitely, quite a few of my students have quite a laid back approach to practicing so I am surprised quite often when they come in next week having taken everything on board and put some time in. Have you surprised yourself as a tutor in any way? I never thought I’d be able to teach 5 students at once. Having done two concerts now, it feels great!”
How great is that?! Feel free to share this blog post, letting us know your thoughts!
Harmeet August 2nd, 2017
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‘Practice, Practice, practice’ – we’ve all heard it and we’ve said it a million times to our students so in answer to our exasperated parents – how do you actually get your children to put it in to practice?
We’ve all been there – practice to ride a bike without stabilisers, practice to write your name, practice to read words, all the way through to practice to drive, to follow a recipe, to change a nappy…! Our lives are really a continuous series of practices but children just don’t get that yet.
That’s why as soon as you tell your children to practice they often give up. They suddenly find a million and one other jobs to do, are too tired and will also suddenly offer to help with chores! Their mind automatically goes into rebel mode at being told what to do and for a specific time. A bit like starting that diet and all you can think about is chocolate…
The trick is to break it down and look at the bigger picture. Without doubt, I’m sure most of us put a lot of practice into learning to drive. The promise of freedom and the ability to go anywhere whenever you wanted was the (excuse the pun) driving force. This is exactly the same approach needed to practice a musical instrument or singing – find that driving force.
This is the message we need to introduce to our children and the one we present in our classes. If we get them to look at the bigger picture and not look at it as another learning chore, or one that is restricted to a set practice time, their mindset will begin to be more inspired and they will also begin to see it on their terms and as them making the choice – the all-important mind reversal parenting trick!
To start with, does your child actually want to play the chosen instrument and do they enjoy it? Have they chosen the piano, the guitar or singing on their own or with a little persuasion? Are they enjoying it or would they prefer to either be learning another instrument or doing something else entirely? Children are easily influenced by parents and peers and this can be a double edged sword. Great for inspiring them but sometimes it can feel as if they have no choice and are doing it to please someone else or fit in. If your child enjoys learning a particular instrument then practice will be a natural extension, particularly if you help them set achievable goals and put them in charge.
The first thing to do is to take away the time. We often make the mistake of setting time boundaries to practice, for both ourselves and our children. Think about how you approach things. Would you feel more incentivised if you were told you had to practice for 15 minutes or practice until you can, for example, play a chord on the guitar without looking, or practice to perfect a sequence or song? Limiting practice to a time boundary is arduous, restricting and unmotivating.
The next step is to create an achievable goal. Does your child want to learn to play a favourite song? How can that be achieved? Is that to learn each verse and then the chorus or start with the chorus and work on the verses? The key here is to also be flexible and if one way doesn’t work then change it! Again, giving children choice and flexibility empowers them and inspires them. It’s all about having a positive can-do mindset and teaching them not to give up.
One of the best ways to demonstrate this is to join in! How can you be part of the practice? Could you learn an instrument yourself or get your child to teach you what they’ve learnt? There’s nothing better for a confidence boost than to be able to teach and children respond really well to this. Just imagine an eight year old teaching his mum to play chords on a guitar! At last they can do something their parent cannot! For once they are the ones telling you what to do and are being treated as an equal.
Music is so inspiring and can change your mood, remind you of wonderful memories, make you dance around the kitchen and forget your worries! Getting children to listen to all kinds of music and explore all genres will too help them to get inspired and motivated. Share your own experiences of music with them. Take them to concerts! The atmosphere at live concerts is electric and infectious and will no doubt be a huge inspiration for your children. Local tribute bands are often amazing and will teach your children that not just famous artists can play instruments and perform to an outstanding level.
Encourage your children to play around with their instruments or voice and get creative! Inspire them to create their own music or songs. Get them to get together with friends or family – build a band! Organise a performance! Very soon practice will become a normal part of their lives and will no longer be seen as something to be done but rather something that is part of them.
Harmeet July 25th, 2017
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Term is now over, and Summer has started! Hooray!
BUT, have you already found yourself wondering when things start back up again in September? More so, our sessions?
Well, wonder no further! Have a look at the session you child attends below and pop the dates in your diary.
Harmeet July 21st, 2017
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Following on from our first post, here’s another 5 questions you might want answering…
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PERFORMING WITH OTHER MUSICIANS?
Playing with other musicians will improve listening, communicating, teamwork, social skills and confidence in your children.
It will also improve their improvisation skills and their problem solving skills. Sometimes a performance may not work out the way it was expected, and we work with your children to show them how to deal with these situations.
WHAT SKILL LEVEL DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BE?
We take all skill levels. As explained before, everything the students learn is catered to their ability.
So, whether you child has played for a few years or hasn’t touched an instrument before, they will be well looked after.
MY CHILD DOESN’T LIKE ROCK MUSIC. WILL THEY STILL ENJOY THE ROCK PROJECT?
We understand that everyone has different music tastes.
We also understand that to become the best musician you can be, you need to be open to as many different styles as possible.
While we are called The Rock Project, we do teach pop music as well as rock music.
So far, amongst many others, we have done songs by One Direction, Katy Perry, Adele and Ed Sheeran as well as songs by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Green Day.
DOES MY CHILD NEED THEIR OWN INSTRUMENT?
Initially, no they do not need their own instrument as we can provide one for them.
If your child decides that they really do want to pursue their instrument, it may be worthwhile to buy them their own. This will allow them to practise and play at home.
We always supply a drum kit at the sessions, as it’s just not practical for a student to bring their own!
WHAT IF MY CHILD DECIDES THEY WANT TO LEARN A DIFFERENT INSTRUMENT?
As long as there is space on the instrument that they would like to swap to, then it is fine.
If there is no space, your child will get put on the waiting list (whilst holding their current booked space) and can swap as soon as a space opens up.
The Rock Project students get first refusal so we will always check with them before filling the space with a new student.
We do, however, encourage our students to stick to one instrument as much as possible, so they can learn to master one instrument instead of learning the basics of many.
Harmeet May 4th, 2017
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Ever had a question for us, but never got round to asking us about it? Maybe that very question is answered here!
WHAT HAPPENS IN A SESSION?
A session is 2 hours long and is split up into two sections.
One section includes professional tuition in the student’s chosen instrument or vocals, in groups of up to five or six students in separate rooms. Our tutors are all young professionals currently gigging or working as session musicians for recording artists.
During the tuition the student will learn a variety of rock and pop songs that you and your friends have suggested, ready to play together as a band later on in the session. Over time you will build up a set list of songs ready to perform.
As well as tuition, we provide a more social and practical time called “Plug ‘n’ Play”, where the students will get together and perform the songs they have been learning in their tuition groups.
For our senior students, this may eventually lead to bands being formed, which could lead on to opportunities for performing at local gigs.
This time also includes a music quiz, where everyone breaks up into teams and competes to get the most points. The quiz is suitable for each age group and gives the students the chance to sit down and socialise some more. The quiz is designed to expand the students’ knowledge of basic music theory and music pop culture.
For our juniors, this section also includes other group games focused around music. This encourages the students to understand things like rhythm, listening and team work.
HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE THERE PER SESSION?
In total, we can have up to 26 students in one session.
We allow up to 5 students per instrument (drums, guitar and bass) and 6 students on vocals.
We have two groups of guitar, beginner and experienced, which allows our beginner students to learn at their own pace, and gives our experienced guitarists space to learn more complex methods.
HOW IS PROGRESS MONITORED IN TUITION GROUPS?
We teach the students a song every two weeks. They are all learning the same song, which will be within the contemporary rock/pop genre.
Despite the students all learning the same song, each student is given parts that are appropriate for their ability, which they will be able to play simultaneously.
As we have five or six students per tuition group, think of it as five or six 1:1 tuition sessions happening at the same time, rather than one 5:1 or 6:1 tuition session.
As they master the parts they are given, it is then made more difficult to reflect their progress.
We also encourage our students to communicate with their tutors if they find things too easy or too hard, so we can cater their learning specifically for them.
We also do two concerts per academic year, where parents get to see their children playing in bands.
We have one smaller concert at Christmas, where parents are invited to come in at the end of the last session of term. The students will perform some of the songs they have learnt that term, with a jolly Christmas hit to finish off!
We also have one big, end of year concert in the summer, with professional equipment such as the big stage, smoke machines, lights and full PA system.
You can see some footage on our YouTube page (feel free to subscribe!): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4JG5br0n7Wl-y_BtPxQYNw
These two concerts per year give the parents the chance to see their child’s progress first hand. They really are special occasions!
DO YOU OFFER GRADING?
As standard, we don’t offer grading.
We are a club that focuses teaching music in a fun and active way, through contemporary rock and pop music, offering the practical side of playing in a band in our Plug ‘n’ Play section of the sessions.
Children have enough pressure on them at school with tests and exams, and we want The Rock Project to be a place where our students can relax, be themselves and enjoy learning music with friends.
We can, however, provide grading if requested.
CAN I STAY WITH MY CHILD DURING THE SESSION?
For safeguarding reasons, we operate a drop off and pick up system at The Rock Project.
If it’s your child’s first time, you may stay for the first 10 minutes or so to check they get settled, but then we have to politely ask you to leave.
In exceptional circumstances though (medical conditions etc.), we can of course discuss this and come to an arrangement.
Harmeet April 12th, 2017
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