Course structure...

Each day begins with a full group warm up session, followed by time spent in bands. The make up of these bands is decided by the tutors on day one. Students spend 80% of their time in the bands.

Warm up sessions
Designed to ‘break the ice’ at the start of the day and get everyone’s energy levels and enthusiasm up, but at the same time build up students’ awareness of different rhythms, time signatures, pitch and their ability to maintain good time keeping. As well as musically based ‘fun’ exercises, the daily warm up sessions will incorporate a drum circle and vocal group;
Drum circle
Throughout the week this whole group drum circle develops into a full musical ensemble. It provides a greater understanding of how basic rhythms/counter rhythms and different sounds can be used together to great effect. It also helps with the concept of working as a team!
Vocal group
The vocal coach takes this session which looks into using the voice to its full potential; from pitch, volume control and tuning, to breathing techniques and singing. It is also a great way to instill confidence in students.

Bands
This time is geared towards working on cover versions of songs, collaborative songwriting, rehearsal productivity, performance skills;
Cover versions
Prior to the start of Rock School, students are asked for a list of 5 songs that they would love to be able to perform. Drawing on these musical preferences and taking into account ability, the tutors decide on the most appropriate cover songs that the bands will learn. They will endeavour to include some of the specified student choices wherever possible, but obviously not all will be able to be included! Bands will then look into different ways of learning the songs and, in some cases, learn how to adapt & interpret the songs into different styles.
Collaborative songwriting
This focuses on all aspects of writing a song with others. Students explore how to find melodies within chords; how to try different styles and tempos; how to experiment with sounds and instrumentation and how to write lyrics. Approaches such as writing around chord structures or riffs, alternative ideas of arrangement and song structure, dynamics and orchestration, time and atmosphere are all introduced, discussed and explored.
Rehearsal productivity
During the time spent in bands, students learn to voice their opinions, listen to others’ ideas, negotiate and compromise. Along with learning the importance of structured rehearsal, they see the benefits of rehearsing new material until comfortable to perform. The ability to run a well structured, effective rehearsal is a key skill to learn early in a musician’s career!
Performance techniques
Students learn the art of ‘showmanship’! They learn how to transform a rehearsal room performance into a performance ready for a ‘gig’. From day 2 onwards the end of each day sees a rehearsal performance by every band to the rest of the group. This gives the greatest form of self and peer assessment – and provides real satisfaction of seeing just how much they have all achieved each day!

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