“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Workshops for schools and businesses 

Ukulele Workshops – Uke for your Life!  – Fun ukulele ½ day sessions for company “team-building” or corporate “entertainment”

The ukulele is enjoying a massive surge in popularity at the moment, and it’s not difficult to understand why. First and foremost, it’s such great fun, but also very portable, relatively easy to start to learn and an extremely sociable little instrument.  Within a group session, it very quickly breaks down barriers of age, gender and standing; everyone shares the common goal of getting round your first few chords and the sense of achievement when you can play and sing your first song together. Add to that the “cool” quality of playing an instrument favoured by Elvis, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Elvis Costello, not to mention Joe Brown and George Formby, and there’s no looking back. You’re hooked!

My own electro acoustic ukulele!

My own electro acoustic ukulele! 

I am available for half-day ukulele workshops and will work with you according to your individual needs. Each half-day session lasts 3 hours and can accommodate up to 30 people (it is possible to take more, but this is the optimum number for best results within a half-day session). All that is required from you is a room that is well-ventilated but not cold, enough chairs and tables for up to 30 individuals and a willingness to “have a go and enjoy!” I will provide all other materials, including the ukuleles and some simple percussion. During the session you will learn to play 4-5 songs on the ukulele, ranging from traditional to pop and rock. No prior musical knowledge is necessary.

All people who are involved in some form of music-making show a measurable improvement in one or more of the following life skills, and this workshop will include and develop elements of all of these:
Concentration – develops the ability to focus on a sequence of instructions given verbally and on paper and translate those instructions into action to achieve a satisfactory outcome that can be presented to others.

Memory and recall – develops an ability to memorise a sequence of chords and rhythmic strumming patterns, to a point where it becomes almost “second nature”; the focus can then move elsewhere – to the words of the song/rhythmic characteristics and the overall performance.

Listening ability – encourages an individual to listen actively to instructions given, the demonstrations, his/her own performance and that of others, and then to respond to what he/she has heard and learn from it in order to improve their own performance and that of the team.

Mathematical concepts and reasoning/ problem solving – involves looking at chord symbols on grids and patterns of rhythm symbols and translating them into actual “sound”; understanding and working out the most suitable and effective fingering for chord sequences and strumming patterns for different song styles.

Co-operation and team-bonding/valuing the varied skills of others/creativity – will build skills that can be shared within a small team, but also across the whole group. It requires the ability to assess the most effective way to utilise each individual’s strengths towards presenting a final performance and creates a sense of unified purpose in a shared goal. There will be an opportunity to select a percussion instrument to accompany the team performance and use it to create a rhythmic accompaniment to the song.

Language – develops an ability to communicate ideas through a different type of language.

Physical co-ordination – enhances co-ordination of eye and ear to each hand. 

Self-discipline – encourages participants to practise their skills both in the short and long-term and to overcome difficulties through patience and perseverance in order to achieve the rewarding goal of being able to play and sing a recognisable song on the ukulele!

Sense of humour this workshop will be fun!

At the end of the session, the group’s favourite and/or most proficient performances will be recorded. We will listen to these and then there will be a short self-assessment and feedback discussion on the whole “Uke for your Life” experience! I will send these recorded tracks to you as mp3 files to keep or forward onto your employees as a memento of the day. 

Outline structure of 1/2 day workshop
Introduction to the ukulele, basic chords and strumming patterns
Learning 5/6 songs
Divide into smaller groups to work on performance of one selected song
Performances and recording
Evaluation and feedback

For details of prices, availability and how I can tailor this workshop to suit your individual requirements please speak to me directly. Contact details are on my Contact page.

Vocal or Singing Workshops
I am available for full day/half-day/or hourly singing workshops in schools or businesses and will work with you according to your individual needs. All that is required from you is an open space that is well-ventilated but not cold, and a willingness to “have a go and enjoy!” The workshop can be purely vocal, or include some simple percussion.

Please take a look at my Choirs – Sing for your life! page, to see some of the benefits that singing can bring to individuals and groups, both in schools and in the workplace. This workshop will also encourage and develop some of the skills as outlined above in the Ukulele workshop.

In a Vocal Workshop session, using musical games, activities and songs, we will:
Meet and greet each other
Warm up our bodies and voices in a safe but energising way
Learn some new material/ideas
Use that material in a creative way, in teams and individually, giving everyone an opportunity to participate and be part of a performance or presentation
Listen to each other and evaluate the performance outcome with mutual trust and respect for everyone’s contribution
Have fun!

The material used in the workshop can vary according to your requirements. I will base it around a theme from one of the areas you may be studying in KS1/KS2 or a more general topic. You may then wish to present this as an assembly, either at the end of the day or on another day.
I am currently composing a series of mini-musicals based on Aesop’s Fables for KS1 and KS2 – 2/3 songs and a short play delivering a moral message. Please check out my Compositions Page for more details of these.

For businesses, I can use a variety of material either suited to the service/product you offer or a motivational/team building outcome. If you wish, I can also compose a song specifically for your company and to your requirements, which we can learn at the workshop and then record for your own use.
Timing can vary according to your specific needs (day/half-day/hourly sessions) although obviously the longer the session, the more that can be achieved. One option would be to run a weekly 30-45 minute session at or around lunchtime for example, over a period of 6-8 weeks.

Please contact me to discuss your individual requirements and my rates.

Organ Workshops for schools – “The King of Instruments”
Venue: Christ Church, Watling Street, Radlett, WD7 7JJ.
Christ Church & St. John’s, Radlett

The organ at Christ Church, Radlett

This particular session is aimed at KS2 children and provides an exciting opportunity to hear, see and explore this magnificent instrument. It also includes:

A fun investigation into the science behind sound production in wind instruments and the organ in particular (involving some hands-on experiments with water, bottles and cardboard tubes!);

An interesting look at why you need both hands and feet to play the organ, and how the stops control the pipes which produce a sound like a trumpet, an oboe or a violin;

The discovery of a “few facts” about the development and history of why this is the “King of Instruments”;

A demonstration of the vast capabilities and timbres of this amazing instrument with music
ranging from Bach to The Beatles and Disney favourites to Songs from the Shows;

A wonderful opportunity to invite five or six pupils who currently learn the piano, to bring a prepared piece along with them to “perform” on the organ.

All the students will be given an information and quiz sheet to take away with them including details of places where they can hear an organ being played, a website which they can follow up and learn more about the instrument, and a list of the music that they heard.

You can also choose to have a guided tour of Christ Church which was first built in 1864 when the village began to expand due to the arrival of the railway. The pupils will be given a worksheet to complete about some of the significant features in an Anglican place of worship. You are welcome to take photographs during the session to put on your school website.

This is a half-day workshop. The cost is £100 plus a small, discretionary donation to the church. Please contact me by telephone or email if you would like to arrange one of these sessions.