Workshops & Lessons
Improve your musicianship course – February 3-4, Leicester SOLD OUT – More dates soon!
A course for musicians who want to improve their musical knowledge and fill in the gaps in their musical skills.
Do you play an instrument by ear and wish you understood a bit more musical terminology?
Do you know what a Jig and a reel sound like but get flummoxed when someone asks the difference between 6/8 and 3/2?
Do you know that your favourite tune is in a mode that isn’t major or minor but wonder what that really means?
Do you wish you had the skills to harmonise more easily?
Do you know lots of tunes but wish you could have the confidence to break away and improvise every so often?
After years of delivering workshops on the folk scene I have met a lot of people who play music very intuitively but wish they had a few more skills in their toolbox, and wish they had a bit more musical language in their vocabulary when working with other musicians. I’ve also met a lot of musicians who studied music theory at school but have never been able to make the link between that theory and the music that they actually play, it’s time to bridge the gap!
This two day course is designed to deliver relevant music theory to musicians, in a fun and practical way, and to help participants gain confidence in their musical abilities and knowledge.
Keys and Modes
An in-depth look at what a mode is, what gives a tune it’s particular mood and how a scale is built. We will play through all the intervals in the western scale and all the natural modes, listen to musical examples that we recognise and learn a tune in an unusual mode.
A look at time signatures and rhythm structures right from the basics with lots of musical examples, participation and rhythm games.
An introduction to more complex time signatures and polyrhythms and how to use them in folk music.
Chords and harmony
Continuing from the keys and modes session, we will look at how to build a chord, how to identify and use different types of chords and how to approach harmonising the more common modes in british folk music. We will also look at finding the most ‘obvious’ chords and accompaniment to a melody and then how to progress from there.
Introduction to Improvisation
There is a common misconception that improvisation is something that some people can just do and some people just can’t – WRONG! It’s a skill that can be learnt and developed alongside all other musical skills, and it’s also important to feel you have starting point to build on. I have been one of those musicians who freezes when someone says ‘just play anything’ because that’s never what they actually mean.
In this session I will introduce a method of learning to improvise in lots of tiny steps, based on a technique by one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, Timo Alakotila from Finland.
Don’t expect to leave the weekend jamming like Hendrix, but do expect to feel like playing spontaneously is achievable and has been de-mystified!
Day 3 (optional)
A follow up day where we will recap, refine and use some of the skills gained in the first two days once they have had time to sink in.
The course will be run from my own home in leicester with a home cooked lunch, lots of tea and cake breaks and plenty of time to ask questions and let things sink in.
The course is limited to 6 participants so lots of individual help is possible.
Open to all instruments and singers.
Information sheets will be supplied.
Accommodation at the house is available on a first come first serve basis for £20 per person per night.
Price for the weekend: £120
Follow up day (Date TBC) : £50
How to Book:
Follow the paypal link below. Within a few days you will receive an email with a questionnaire to fill out and details of the venue.
There is also an option to have a one to one lesson with me on the Friday afternoon/evening.