The Music Challenge Project For Adults
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I really learn any tune I want? What if it’s really difficult?
The important thing is that it should be a piece of music you love. A piece that excites you. A piece that has wonderful associations and memories. The normal approach to music tuition is to learn through easy and possibly dull, uninspiring music. The music challenge project aims to take give you skills on a musical instrument through inspiring music.
I will make a unique arrangement of whatever you choose and build a programme of learning based on your tune. You will be provided with practice blocks specifically tailored to your ability.
It may seem at first as if I have asked you to move a mountain, and yes, I have! But I will give you a wheelbarrow and a pickaxe and show you which bit of the mountain you should move first and never ask you to move more than you are physically capable of.
In time the mountain will be moved.
How long does it take?
This depends on the piece you choose, your level of musical experience and the amount of time you have for practise. As a general guide most adults could go from total beginner to confident performer in just 6 months, based on 12 lessons with 10 hours practise between lessons. For those with less time at their disposal or those who want to learn a particularly tricky piece of music, the course can be spread over a year. It is worth noting that it is rarely musical ability that slows progress, but rather physical ability. Playing an musical instrument is physically demanding and this course is designed to build the correct muscles in a safe and effective way. If you do decide to opt for the year challenge, you may find you end up learning more than one piece.
How much does it cost?
There are packages to suit all budgets. Lessons include online support, music arrangement, use of the recording studio and tailored practise blocks. Every hour of tuition is designed to set you up for 10 hours practise. You decide whether you want to do the challenge in 6 months or a year. You can choose whether you have weekly, fortnightly or monthly lessons, or simply book a lesson when you feel you need one!
Tuition fees are as follows:
£20 per half hour for pay as you go customers.
£35 per hour for pay as you go customers.
The above prices are based on you travelling to me. I do provide tuition in your own home near Lynton in Devon or alternatively I can travel to a venue near you and this will incur travel expenses. I always endeavour to arrange my schedule so that travel expenses can be shared amongst clients.
There are discounts available for those who wish to pay in advance for a number of lessons:
12 hours of tuition £350
12 half hours £200
I also offer gift vouchers if you know somebody who would enjoy the music challenge project as a unique and inspiring gift.
How does this raise money for charity?
The fund raising adds extra incentive! When you sign up for the music challenge project you will be given the option to get friends and family to sponsor you. The idea is that your sponsors will come and listen to your final performance, or you will present them with your completed CD and they will pay you the agreed sum. The proceeds will then be given either to a charity close to your heart, or to my preferred charity, the Devon and Somerset Air Ambulance.
How much practice will I need to do?
The practice modules are individually created and will be unique to you. They are designed to give the maximum progress for the time allowed. Everyone is different,but with correct practice most people should be able to get from absolute beginner to confident performer in around 100 hours. (Don’t do it all at once though!)
I get really nervous, what if I don’t want to play in front of an audience?
I would be terrified if I had to sing in front of an audience because I cannot sing! However, I never get nervous before a violin performance because I know I can play the violin. I aim to give you the confidence to experience the exhilaration of performing live. To further help with any performance nerves you will prepare two versions of your song,with the second version being as easy as it needs to be to give you the confidence to stand up and play.
Also bear in mind that the audience will be friends and hopefully fellow Music Challenge Project participants and the venues will be carefully chosen for their encouraging support.
If however the thought of playing live still makes you feel ill, you can leave out the performance option and simply make the CD.
Can I do it on a baritone sax?
The project is open to any instrument. My speciality is strings including guitar and keyboard. My basic role is that of arranger, motivator and coach. For those of you who have never played an instrument and choose an instrument outside my speciality, I will arrange consultation lessons with supportive specialists. If you already have a degree of skill on the baritone sax or other brass or woodwind instrument, I should be able to provide you with all the support you need.
I can’t decide on a song. I have a few in mind. Would you be able to help me pick one?
This is true of many people who enjoy music. Everyone who joins the project will be encouraged to suggest more than one song to learn. Many will end up learning more than one. I will examine the possibilities of your favourites and help you choose according to your ability. I also have plenty of suggestions for those of you who are completely stuck when it comes to choosing your music!
What happens when I have completed the challenge?
Firstly, if you choose to perform your piece you will be on a tremendous high!
Officially that’s it. You have not signed up for the lifelong learning of musical accomplishment……but you might want to sign up for a second challenge and do it even better! Or you might want to get together with other project members and continue playing for the rest of your life.
I have no musical ability, can I join the Music Challenge Project?
Science tells us that music is processed in a part of the brain which is only used for this purpose, are you telling me you have a bit of brain missing?! Seriously, its simply a matter of finding the key to access this area of your mind. There are so many aspects to playing a musical instrument, from muscle memory to aural memory, visual memory to hand eye co-ordination. You need determination, patience, willingness and emotion. I aim to build on your strengths and tailor your challenge to suit you. If your sense of rhythm is weak we will strengthen it and create an arrangement to both improve your rhythm and make it easy for you. If you think you are tone deaf we will do the same with pitch. Your challenge will be unique to your needs. The music challenge project also includes many musical ‘trade secrets’ which have long been used in the industry, so your final performance will sound like music! And don’t forget, this project is about much more than playing an instrument. You will have the chance to work in a modern music studio and with expert guidance you will have a wealth of creative options at your fingertips, from symphony orchestras, to brass bands, wind bands to klezmer bands. This is your chance to let your musical imagination run wild!
I am retired, does that make me too old to join the project?
Absolutely not! If you are retired you are likely to have more time, more patience, more wisdom, all the key ingredients to success. I have regular students who are now in their eighties, but did not take up music until they were seventy.
Creaky fingers might make certain aspects tricky, but there is so much pleasure to be had from a musical journey and so many benefits from the stimulation it brings that creaky fingers become a minor nuisance rather than a major problem.
Where will I be performing?
There are frequent open mic nights at many venues throughout Devon and Somerset. All venues will have been checked for suitability. I aim to provide venues with supportive staff and audience to help give you a positive performance experience.
You can choose whether you want to do it down the road so all your friends can come, or secretly in a different county!
I would like to have a go. What next?
The first step is a consultation session, where we discuss your ideas and review your musical experience and assess your ability.
This initial session lasts an hour and costs £40.
If you are happy and wish to sign up for the challenge we then discuss the length of the challenge and how many lessons you would like. This will depend on the level of difficulty of your chosen piece,which is why its always good to have a shortlist of several pieces,in case your ambitions don’t match your budget!
Sponsor forms and materials for the start of your journey will then be issued! Contact me to start your journey. Gift vouchers available