• Opening night of the Music for Youth Proms

    The Music for Youth Proms is a spectacular national showcase event held at the Royal Albert Hall in November of every year. It provides a brilliant snapshot of young people’s music-making across the UK. The 2021 event was hailed as the most diverse ever, and this year proved no exception.
    A few members of the team were lucky enough to attend on the opening night. Here’s how it went down…

    On Tuesday 15th November the Take it away team visited the world famous Royal Albert Hall to see the first in this year’s Music For Youth Proms concerts.

    Since the inaugural concert in 1975,  the Proms have been the grand finale to Music for Youth annual  calendar of events. Appearing at the concerts were musicians and ensembles who have performed at the National and Regional Festivals earlier in the year, along with ensembles who were brought together to perform a piece of music commissioned especially for each concert.

    Taking our seats, we were struck by the palpable excitement from both the audience and the performers in the vast auditorium. For many involved this represented the highlight of several months hard work and preparation, and many in the audience had travelled across the country to see family members perform.

    Music for Youth Proms 2022. Various children singing and playing instruments

    A showcase of young talent

    The evening opened in spectacular fashion with Walthamstow School for Girls performing Sunrise from Also Sprach Zarathustra, known to many as the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey on steel pan drums. We were then treated to a fantastic performance of pop hits from Rubik’s Cube, an ensemble from the Osborne School in Winchester, a maintained special school for pupils with learning disabilities aged 11-19.

    Other highlights included the virtuosic Gwent Music Harp Ensemble and Pear, who were a singer instrumentalist duo who had the whole audience in the palm of their hand for their performance.

    A spectacular finale

    The evening came to a rousing conclusion with the finale written by Adey Grummet and Michael Henry and performed by everyone in the hall and even gave us an opportunity to flex our vocal chords with some audience participation! It was a truly wonderful finish to an evening of performances from talented young musicians. We look forward to coming back next year!

    Play back button. Read/watch more

    Rubik’s Cube Music for Youth Proms 2022

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bin8h1HhUcc

    Music for Youth Interviews Pear

    https://www.mfy.org.uk/news/posts/performer-interview-pear/

  • Let’s Do This! The Accessibility Journey Continues…

    Friday 18th February, 3pm - 5pm GMT

    Following the success of last year’s event “Normalising the Conversation”, Jason Dasent is organising another live music industry forum focusing on accessibility.

    Confirmed attendees include Ableton, Antares, Arturia, Avid, BIMM Institute London, Creative United, Focusrite/Novation, Kingston University, Native Instruments, Output, Pace|JUCE & Roland.

    Jason Dasent is a Music Producer and Accessibility Consultant who has been studying and working in the UK for the past 2 years. After the incredible progress that was made in music tech accessibility as a direct result of Jason’s MA Thesis event “Normalising the Conversation” in January last year, he is even more committed to be a driving force in advancing this important cause.

    “Let’s Do This: The Accessibility Journey Continues” will again see key players from music equipment manufacturing, education and retail brought together to deepen discussions that will hopefully enable even more creative, viable solutions for these businesses in the field of accessibility in music tech.

     

    The event will feature:
    • Two discussion panels with key players from all sectors of the music industry
    • Two demos of new products that have been made accessible over the last year
    • A workshop showing a music production from recording to mastering using mainstream hardware and software in Jason’s fully accessible studio
    • Q and A.
    You can expect to hear about a diverse range of topics, including:
    • The milestones that have been made over the past year in the field of accessible music technology
    • Advice for companies who are at the beginning of their journey into accessibility
    • How recent technical developments can make it easier for manufacturers to make their products accessible
    • The importance of creating documentation and video content that can be understood by visually impaired producers and engineers
    Book your Eventbrite tickets here:

    https://bit.ly/3Jx8PeN

    Check out some of the panellists below:
    Jason (A brown, masculine adult with short black hair and wearing a blue shirt) in Studio playing keyboards
    Come join us and Let’s Do This!

    Jason Dasent

    Let's Do This Banner
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    A "Let's Do This" poster about helping people with disabilities to play music.
    Watch Jason at work:

    VIDEO: Watch as Jason Dasent demonstrates the production techniques that help him navigate his studio equipment

  • Making music production more accessible with Jason Dasent

    Making music production more accessible with Jason Dasent

    Accomplished musician, music producer, audio engineer, accessibility consultant… there are many strings to Jason Dasent’s bow.  He uses innovative production techniques, many of which he helped to develop, to create great music – working with music manufacturers and software developers to help ensure their equipment works for people like him that have accessibility needs. And he does it all with a smile and a positive attitude that is infectious. We had a great chat with Jason and got a brilliant insight into how he works.

    For many years, the visually impaired community has been underserved by most music equipment manufacturers, with only a few  (ProTools/ Sibelius), Native Instruments (Komplete Kontrol) and Apple (Logic) introducing accessibility to their products within the last few years. However, things are changing, and Jason Dasent has been at the forefront of those changes.

    We dropped in (virtually) to his fully equipped recording studio, which comes complete with four keyboards and “tons of hardware”. It’s a happy day for Jason, as he’s just received the news that he got a distinction for his MA.  So what led to him studying in the UK?

    “I ran a studio in Trinidad for 19 years, and also worked with most of the music studios in Trinidad. Even before accessibility was a word, so I had to find work arounds. As accessibility and screen readers came into play, I became a bit of a ‘tech head’, and was fortunate enough to be able to embrace the technology as it was coming together. I then started developing some of this technology.”

    It’s clear that Jason has a very ‘can-do’ attitude, which manifested itself when he came across a significant technical barrier.  A software program, Maschine (Native Instruments) was not designed in an accessible way by the manufacturer, so Jason immediately set about making it work for him. “I would not accept that it’s not accessible,” he said. He was able to create macros that worked with the interface to make the program accessible, and before he knew it the manufacturer invited him and his wife (who helped him develop the software) to the UK. Word spread, and then other manufacturers started getting in touch. He decided to stay in the UK to study a Masters in Popular Music Practice and Entrepreneurship, and continues to work with music equipment manufacturers to share his expertise.

    Making accessibility the norm

    Part of Jason’s mission is to make accessibility ‘the norm’. He held an online workshop this year, called  “Normalising the Conversation – The Road to Accessible Music Tech”

    The title of the workshop reflects the difficulties that still exist when it comes to accessible music equipment. In a survey conducted in 2018, 63% of music retailers said they are not aware of any specialist products or adapted instruments for disabled people (Make Some Noise research, 2018), and only 25% of music educators felt that high street shops were adequate for their needs when it came to accessible music making.  The same research highlighted a lack of confidence and knowledge amongst music retailers when it comes to serving and catering to the needs of disabled customers. Jason believes that a little conversation and empathy can go a long way.

    “That’s the first thing, to get over that barrier of it being too sensitive a topic. I have made some of my best friends through people not knowing anything about how I am,” he says.

    “Once people get over the possibility of saying the wrong thing, it’s ok,” Jason says. “Because there isn’t really a wrong thing. If you don’t know, that’s perfectly acceptable! You’re not expected to know everything.

    “I think I have a duty, being blind- I think God made me blind for a reason – so we can do exactly what we’re doing now. My duty is to show people that hey, it’s cool! we’re a little different, we do things differently – you use a mouse, I use a keyboard… my motto is ‘inspiration, not obligation’ I want to inspire people and be inspired by them.”

    Being an inspiration

    Talking of being an ‘inspiration’, this is a word that’s divided opinion when used to describe disabled people – some have mentioned that they felt it was a patronising term, while others simply wish to be defined by their achievements alone, and not their disability.  Jason has his own take.

    “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, he says. “But I like to use the term ‘differently abled’ as opposed to ‘disabled’. Because I am not disabled. I’ve had a lot of push back on that statement, but I’m going to use it anyway. Because I do certain things a little differently. ‘Disabled’ [to me] means that I don’t do it, or I can’t. Which is not the case.

    “However you want to refer to it, people just need to be a little cautious. You don’t want to be someone that people walk on eggshells around. It’s ok, I make jokes about being blind, about myself. I might start a presentation by saying something like, ‘Forgive me, I don’t have my glasses today’ or something.

    “For me that breaks down barriers immediately. It makes people smile, and laugh. They let their guard down.”

    Photo of accessibility consultant and composer Jason Dasent, smiling to camera and wearing a grey shirt.
    “I think I have a duty, being blind- I think God made me blind for a reason – so we can do exactly what we’re doing now. My duty is to show people that hey, it’s cool! we’re a little different, we do things differently – you use a mouse, I use a keyboard… my motto is ‘inspiration, not obligation’ I want to inspire people and be inspired by them.”
    Jason Dasent (A brown, masculine adult with short black hair and wearing a black top) in Studio
    At the end of the day, I’m just Jay. I’m an open book, that’s the only way we will overcome challenges together. It’s perfectly ok to ask me anything, nothing is off limits.

    VIDEO: Watch as Jason Dasent demonstrates the production techniques that help him navigate his studio equipment

    Accessibility in retail – it’s good to talk

    A strong advocate for overcoming barriers and attitudes to disabled people’s musical experience, Jason is a supporter of the Disability Awareness Training course recently developed by Creative United, the MIA and Attitude is Everything.

    Although he has come across retailers who may not be used to dealing with the visually impaired, his shopping experiences have been very positive overall.

    “I guess this is because I always try to engage the sales staff by striking up conversation about the equipment I am interested in, going deep into the features etc. This lets them know that I am confident and very comfortable in this environment dealing with such equipment. I also talk to them about their own experiences in the music industry. This engagement puts everyone at ease and creates a relaxed atmosphere leading to the sales staff becoming very interested in what I do and they are willing to spend time with me exploring the equipment.”

    Jason has actually made lasting friendships with sales staff who he met at music stores.

    “At the end of the day, I’m just Jay. I’m an open book, that’s the only way we will overcome challenges together. It’s perfectly ok to ask me anything, nothing is off limits. That’s the way I’ve always lived my life and that’s what made me successful in what I do! So yeah, ask me anything! Because I’ll ask you anything!”

    More about Jason
    www.jasondasentinstudio.com

  • Nathan Holder – diversity, music and the Why Books

    Nathan Holder - diversity, music and the Why Books

    Nathan Holder is a name that’s become synonymous with promoting diversity in music education. He works as a consultant and speaker within the sector to address bias and underrepresentation in music education resources, departments, hubs and boards. He was named International Chair in Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music earlier this year, and he’s also recently been appointed to the Editorial Advisory Board at Music Teacher magazine.

    We’re honoured that he’s found time in his hectic schedule for a quick chat!

     

    Musician, author, speaker and music education consultant Nathan Holder is a passionate advocate for diversity in music education. Drawing on his own experiences as a student, musician and teacher, part of his mission is to help address bias, underrepresentation in music classrooms, departments, hubs and boards internationally.

    The books

    Nathan has become an accomplished author over the years, drawing on his early experiences in music to release the book I Wish I Did Not Quit…” in 2018 and then going on to launch the Why Music? series of music books, a beautifully illustrated collection that’s aimed at children and young people but is an incredibly engaging read for anyone who loves musical facts and history.

    A standout title is Why Is My Piano Black And White?  which is billed as the first children’s reference book all about the piano. What’s striking about it is the range of genres it covers, meaning that whatever your musical taste, there’s a section of the book for you – there aren’t many music reference books that reference hip hop, jazz and rock with equal enthusiasm.

    It’s also the one Nathan is most proud of. “It was the first under ‘Why Music?”, he says. “The decisions made when putting it all together, have been key in the direction that the other books have taken. But ultimately, it’s like asking me choose my favourite child!

    Another title, Where Are All The Black Female Composers? is the first children’s illustrated reference book all about Black female composers where you can learn about Nora Holt, Florence Price, and Errollyn Wallen, through fun facts, quizzes and a breakdown of the music that made them all great.

    Challenging the status quo

    These books all challenge many commonly held perceptions of music education, particularly the ones that certain genres are superior to others. On a recent trip to the music department at his old school, Nathan was struck by the fact that many of the learning resources and posters from his time there were still being used. .  This helped inspire him to create a range of posters with diverse images of composers from the worlds of jazz and classical music – including less known black and Asian women, alongside the more commonly seen Beethoven and Chopin.

    Nathan Holder. A bald, black, masculine adult with a black beard and wearing a blue top
    I think we’ve been told a specific narrative about which music is most important, and how that music should be learned
    A black person wearing a black top and jeans is holding "The Why?" books
    We are living within these colonised approaches which have seen many peoples and cultures ‘othered’ in the name of ‘quality’ and ‘tradition’. By starting to remove these barriers, one of the hopes is that people of any background can gain access, and learn about music which help them to make sense of their world and the people within it.

    Changes are happening

    With music being such a diverse art form, it’s strange to think that music education often struggles to fully reflect this – although things are beginning to change. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music has been criticised in the past for the lack of diversity in its syllabus.  According to a 2020 study by Austin Griffiths, a senior teaching fellow at University College London, 98.8 percent of the 3,166 pieces on the latest ABRSM exam syllabuses for 15 instruments were written by white people.

    Following an open letter by the Musicians’ Union and a petition on Change.org in 2020 calling for action, the ABRSM announced their Diversity and Inclusion programme to commit to a number of actions, including transforming their syllabus and commissioning new composers.

    This is all part of what Nathan refers to as the need to ‘decolonise’ music education. “I think we’ve been told a specific narrative about which music is most important, and how that music should be learned,” he says. “In addition to the decline in the amount of time and resources devoted to music education, addressing those balances has become more and more difficult, even as access to various styles of music and expression has increased.  We are living within these colonised approaches which have seen many peoples and cultures ‘othered’ in the name of ‘quality’ and ‘tradition’. By starting to remove these barriers, one of the hopes is that people of any background can gain access, and learn about music which help them to make sense of their world and the people within it.”

    Making music learning fun

    For those who like to learn in other ways, Nathan also has a “Why?” Podcast series that shines a spotlight on a wonderfully eclectic range of composers, from the Beach Boys to DJ Kool Herc to Sis Rosetta Tharpe.  We were curious to know how he chooses who to feature!

    “Sometimes I choose someone who means something to me, other times it’s someone (or a band) I don’t know much about,” Nathan says. “It’s all about learning and sharing, and a podcast is a great way to do that. We’ve had over 3600 downloads from all over the world since we launched in February, which I take to mean that it’s been well received!”

    More about Nathan
    www.nateholdermusic.com

    The Why Books
    www.thewhybooks.co.uk

  • Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Disabled music charity The OHMI Trust, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in matching disabled musicians with the adapted instruments they need to make music.

     

    The charity was established in 2011, with no money, only two trustees, and two volunteers. Fast forward ten years, and this small but ambitious charity has much to celebrate.

    It is unique in the breadth of support it offers to disabled child and adult musicians, with its impact felt across teaching, research and development, and awareness raising. The charity’s biennial competition, which supports the development of musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm, attracts entries from across the globe. Its popular Music-Makers and Inclusive Access to Music-Making programmes gain momentum each and every year, reaching new musicians across England and Wales. Its hire scheme offers an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment; a number that will only grow through the development of further instruments through OHMI’s research partnership with Queen Mary University, London and Birmingham City University. It is this wide-ranging work that led to the charity receiving recognition in The House of Lords.

    These impressive milestones will be marked at OHMI’s 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, taking place on Saturday, 25th September. The event, which will be held at Aston University, will also be live-streamed from 6pm BST, and is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world.

    The event will include performances from the talented OHMI musical community, as well as an announcement on the winners of the 2021 Competition, along with demonstrations of their equipment.

    Melissa Johns, British actor and disability activist, best known for her roles in Coronation Street, BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, will be hosting the event.

    As Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s Manager, explains,

    “Melissa is a proud champion of the rights of disabled people, so she was the perfect choice in helping OHMI to bang the drum for inclusive music-making. Hosting the event, for the first time, as a blended live and broadcast event, will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.” 

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Technology in Music Education

    Welcoming TiME to the Take it away Consortium

    We’re thrilled that TiME: Technology in Music Education has joined the Take it away Consortium, a group of leading UK music organisations that are looking at ways of making music inclusive and accessible to all.

    We sat down with Kate Rounding, Development Director at TiME, to learn more about the organisation’s beginnings, why access to music-making is important to them and more!

    How did TiME come about?

    TiME is an alliance of music industry organisations, formed to raise awareness of the great potential of Sound and Music Technology across all the Arts and in the community. It was formed by David Ward and Richard Llewellyn as a community interest company (CIC) in 2019 with the aim of providing educators with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to support students and emerging professionals. 

    We connect music industry professionals, music educators, the informal music education sector and professionals in the Special Needs and Disabilities (SEN/D) areas. Together we focus on actions to enhance and promote the value of music technology to the economy, the music industry, and in education. 

    TiME is also affiliated with its sister organisation ‘Joint Audio Music Education Support’ (JAMES), the recognised Public Sector Regulatory Body (PSRB) for the Recording, Music Production and Media industries. We thus engage with many Universities and their students.

    Kate RoundingOur job in TiME is to break down the barriers to exploring the great potential of music technology and to bring communities, organisations and opinion formers together to raise awareness of this potential.

     

    How do you work with schools and hubs across the country?

    TiME connects with music hubs and music educators from Early Years, all the way to University level across the UK. Through our work, we support hubs to make direct connections with other organisations, education establishments and teachers to aid the development of their inclusive music provision through the use of music technology.  

    Our recent series of online conferences ‘Connectivity’ was hosted in partnership with Leicester Music Education Hub and UK Music and facilitated discussions between over 30 different organisations and over 100 music and education professionals, providing insight into topics such as how technology can support equitable access to music-making for SEN/D learners and information on the range of careers available across the music industry.

    You can catch up on the wide range of discussions we had in each session here: techmusiced.org.uk/page-2/connectivity.php

    How would you like to see music education change in the next 10 years?

    It is more important than ever to support music education in all its forms, whether that is within schools, music hubs or across the community. The potential of SOUND and music technology is huge in all aspects of music-making across all ages, genders, cultures. It is invaluable in all aspects of education, community groups, hubs, music therapy and all areas of special needs and disabilities. It encourages getting involved with making music, composition, recording and music production film and media, artistic installations, everywhere that we see and hear music in life. We can use Music Technology to teach STEM subjects.

    Our job in TiME is to break down the barriers to exploring the great potential of music technology and to bring communities, organisations and opinion formers together to raise awareness of this potential.

    Why is accessibility and inclusions to music-making important to you?

    There is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of music-making. We believe that everyone has a right to access music-making and that music technology can support inclusive music-making approaches that are accessible to all. In addition, new technologies are evolving rapidly and at TiME we work with manufacturers to deliver an ‘Accessibility’ Testing programme, where manufacturers can connect with musicians and educators in a range of settings to learn about how their new technology can be used to support inclusive and accessible music-making.

    Personal and lived experience of disability amongst our team has provided a direct insight into the benefits (and barriers) to music-making. We are committed to supporting organisations and individuals to continue striving for equal and equitable access for all.

     

    What can people do to get involved or find out more?

    Please visit www.techmusiced.org.uk or contact us at info@techmusiced.org.uk

     

    Stay up to date by following TiME below:

    Technology in Music Education UK - TiME logo

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Learning by Livestream

    Learning by Livestream

    Based in Cambridge, Liam Taylor has been making music non-stop in some form for the last 17 years. He works across different areas of music from education to running a music blog, composing for independent film and releasing his own original music. This year, Liam became a Steinberg Certified Trainer and has gained recognition for his Cubase tutorial type livestream sessions. 

    We caught up with Liam to find out more about his approach to learning how to produce music and to get some advice for anyone looking to get started in this side of music-making.

    What led you to start creating your livestream music production sessions?

    I started creating videos for YouTube 10 years ago. For a while, I was creating weekly videos teaching composition or guitar techniques, sharing ideas and sometimes releasing new music. This was a great way to build a community but also gave me a way to discover new ideas myself – they say the best way to learn is to teach.

    Trying to keep on top of this weekly schedule became tricky after a while. I found that I was prioritising video creation over writing music which didn’t make any sense to me. So, I started to look for ways to stay in touch with my audience that didn’t require several days of research, recording and editing every week. I realised that live streaming could be the answer.

    I decided to go live twice a week and make music in Cubase with no goals other than to be creative. This gave me a reliable 4 hours of music creation every week with very little preparation. It also allowed me to chat with the audience live, so it was absolutely the right call.

    Liam Taylor playing the guitar with a black back drop

    I find being this open with my creative process really helps viewers see how music is really created; in an imperfect, non-linear way with plenty of mistakes!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

     

    Describe your sessions – what can viewers expect to happen and learn?

    The goal is almost always to write a new piece of music from scratch. I recently added a keyboard camera to the setup to show exactly what I’m playing and talk through the notes or chords I’m using. As I write the different parts, I describe the decisions I’m making, sometimes throwing decisions to the audience. Sometimes the audience will insist I change a patch or a chord which I don’t mind! 

    Once the basic structure of a song is in place, I’ll start adding production elements like E.Q., dynamic plugins, etc. Depending on the type of song I’m working on, I might add electric guitar, bass or ukulele – I have a room full of instruments so it’s nice to make use of them. 

    Liam Taylor working on music production software on a desktop computer

     

    What’s the benefit of livestreaming compared to pre-recorded videos in your opinion?

    Because I talk through all the decision making, viewers can use any of the production or composition techniques in their own work. I find being this open with my creative process really helps viewers see how music is really created; in an imperfect, non-linear way with plenty of mistakes! It’s exactly the kind of thing I would have watched when I was a teenager, (and exactly the kind of thing I do watch whenever I can!) 

    Occasionally, I’ll run a stream where I look back over old project files to add some variety. It’s really funny to look back at decisions I made 5+ years ago and wonder “what was I thinking!?” Sometimes it’s similar to working with younger music producers because some simple fixes can make the whole piece work better. Rather than working with a younger producer, I’m working with a younger version of myself so I’m pretty comfortable calling out whatever silly decisions I made back then. 

    These sessions go out on YouTube and Twitch (both free platforms) so anyone with either account can watch and interact. I welcome any audience questions, whether or not it’s relevant to the stream’s topic. I have some big ideas about where to take these broadcasts in the future – I think there’s potential for this to be a great resource for all music students.

     

    What advice or tips would you give to someone looking to start learning from scratch?

    A lot of creative projects can look really daunting from the outside. You don’t necessarily need any prior knowledge to start making music so I’d suggest that anyone interested should just jump in!

    Try to turn off the part of your brain that tells you you’ll fail, because of course you will, but you have to embrace failure as part of the process. 

    I’d recommend starting by making a BandLab account – it’s a free, web-based program with plenty of tutorials and resources to help you get started. You’re likely to outgrow it at some point, but you’ll learn a lot in the meantime and the benefit is that you won’t have to spend any money up-front.

     

    What do you think the biggest barriers are that stop young people from getting involved in music-making?

    I believe there are two main issues. Firstly, information overload. It’s hard to know where to begin, especially as there are so many different programmes and so many ways to approach music-making. What works for you might not work for someone else and, unfortunately, you don’t always know that until you try it.

    Secondly, confidence. As a kid, when you think of making music you probably start by thinking of someone incredibly famous who tours the world and is all over social media. When I was a teenager, I thought that all musicians could sight-read. I assumed that anyone playing music on TV had a Grade 8 and had spent years studying music history. Eventually, I realized that wasn’t true. In fact, all I needed was a guitar, Cubase and the confidence to trust my intuition. 

     

    Why do you think it’s important to learn about music production?

    Whatever your long-term goals are with music, understanding the production side of things and knowing the basics of a digital audio workstation (DAW) will be beneficial. If you’re interested in music creation but you treat it as a hobby, making beats or recording yourself with a DAW is a really fulfilling way to explore your creativity.

    If you want to be a performer of some kind, knowing how to record basic demos or backing tracks will be incredibly useful to convey your artistic vision to other producers, or a record label, (if that’s the route you want to take). If you’re dedicated enough, you may be able to self-produce your work at every stage of your career. 

    There are also plenty of careers that rely on music tech: commercial music and client work; studio production and engineering; composition for film, TV and games. Being familiar with a DAW and some standard production techniques is a great start for anyone considering these careers. 

     

    How can people get involved in your sessions and stay in touch?

    There’s a page on my website with a Livestream calendar and further info. You’re welcome to explore the site for more information about me and my music projects: ltguitarist.com/streaming

    I’m @LTGuitarist on all the socials and most active on Twitter if you have any questions.

     

    Stay up to date and tune into Liam’s livestreams by clicking on the icons below:

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • Visiting music shops in person post lockdown

    Why we're excited to visit music shops again in person 🎉

    As we all know, many small businesses and high street shops were knocked sideways when lockdown hit the UK, but a year later things are starting to look up…

    Music shops have always been ‘essential shops’ in our eyes so we were super excited when our Take it away music shop members were once more allowed to throw open their doors ready to welcome back customers! 

    Many music shops have adapted to the times to ensure that lots of their stock is available to buy online, and for some customers this may still be the safest option. If you feel comfortable doing so, supporting your local music shop in person is incredibly important and here’s why we recommend popping in to see them:

    In need of a new instrument or upgrade?

    Nothing can compare to the joy of trying out different instruments and seeing how they feel beneath your fingertips. Some even say that it’s the instrument that chooses the musician… (Harry Potter fans, we see you.)

    Music shop staff have unrivalled knowledge so stop by and ask for their advice however little or big a question you may have. Our Take it away retailers are lovely and are always ready to help – we know that they’ve missed having a chat with customers and musicians alike! 

    17 String instruments displayed on wall

    Image curtesy of Alan Gregory Music

    Looking to refresh your repertoire? 

    Browsing for new sheet music in person and having a peek inside to see what the print is like beats searching online where more often or not you can only see the cover. In store, you’ll often be able to see what’s popular to learn for your level and ask for recommendations too! Also the smell of new books is oddly appealing. (This felt strange to write down but you know what we mean!)

    Photo of sheet music on shelves

    Image curtesy of Just Flutes

    Start browsing 

    Two shop staff with covid safe face masks

    We’ve got a brand new search page to make finding the best Take it away music shop member for you super easy! 

    All of our shop members have the appropriate COVID safety measures in place and some have timed booking slots to visit showrooms or try out new instruments, so make sure to have a quick check online before you head over. 

    Either search by location on the map with your postcode/town, or filter by instrument and shop name.

    Image curtesy of Bridgewood & Neitzert 

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • The Accessible Instruments Challenge | IAMM Hackathon

    The Accessible Instrument Challenge | IAMM Hackathon Project

    Music is a universal language – or at least it should be. But what if having a physical disability makes it difficult – or impossible – for someone to learn and play a musical instrument?

    In 2018 we launched the beginnings of what has become known as the IAMM (Inclusive Access to Music Making) initiative, which sees Creative United and Take it away work closely with partners from across the music, tech and music education sector to raise the profile of music making by disabled children and adults, increasing awareness of the opportunities and sources of support available to enable more people to access music.

    This has resulted in the formation and work of the Take it away Consortium, the Nottingham Music Hub Pilot Programme, and most recently the brand new Guide to Buying Adaptive Musical Instruments.

    The research and projects undertaken have clearly shown us that, although there are lots of adapted instruments out there, many are prototypes or bespoke. For example, the one-handed clarinet provided to Nottingham pupil Redeem is one of only two in the world and takes many months to create. What happens when five one-handed clarinets are needed for other children to start learning with their peers at the same time?

    With examples like this in mind, Creative United and partners have created The Accessible Instrument Challenge – an online collaborative project that aims to address the accessibility challenges of people who want to play or produce music but find it physically challenging to do so.

    The Accessible Instrument Challenge aims:

    Aims of project

    Bringing together expertise in digital innovation and design technology, musical instrument making and lived experience of disability, multiple teams will build on existing work and aim to take further steps forward in making adaptive musical instruments more affordable, music education in schools more inclusive, and uncovering new solutions that haven’t been tried before.  

    From supply chain issues to making production software accessible for visually impaired musicians, find out more about the challenges each team will be undertaking.

    Find out more

    I’m up for a challenge! Can I join a team?

    Absolutely! We’d love for you to get involved and join us. Here’s an overview of who we’re looking for to make up each team:

    Disabled and non-disabled musicians — Instrument makers — Designers — Manufacturers — Technologists — Inventors — Innovators — Music teachers — Academics — Students 

    Are you one of the above?

    Join a Team

    Applications close on 17th July – please get in touch if you’ve got any questions.

    Get in touch

    Our Partners 

    logos

    Funded by Arts Council England, the project is designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities playing traditional musical instruments and find practical solutions that will enable them to participate fully in music making.

    Plexal

    Plexal is the innovation centre and coworking space that believes in the power of collaboration. We’re building a diverse innovation ecosystem to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society –starting with cybersecurity, mobility and inclusion.

    Our innovation team delivers programmes for clients like Innovate UK and Transport for London, and specialises in forging connections between industry, academia, investors, startups and scaleups.

    Our workspace is home to LORCA: an innovation programme that scales the cybersecurity solutions needed most by industry to make the internet safer for everyone.

    In the inclusion space, we run the OpenDoor accelerator and are working with partners like UCL and Disability Rights UK to optimise our workspace for accessibility and champion disability-led innovation.

    Our team is also bringing about a mobility future that’s sustainable, personalised, accessible, smart and secure. We’re working directly with government and industry to test, scale and deploy solutions that will radically transform the way we move.

    And as well as hosting events – anything from meetups to large conferences – we’re home to over 900 innovators who are working in areas like mobility, AI, healthtech, cybersecurity, fintech, the Internet of Things, VR and more.

    They enjoy community events, access to the EagleLab at Plexal makers’ space and services designed to help them scale.

    www.plexal.com

    The OHMI Trust

    The OHMI Trust works to remove the barriers to music-making faced by people with physical disabilities. Any deficiency in an upper limb makes nearly all musical instruments unplayable to any reasonable standard. As a result, thousands are excluded from music-making, including most disabled children.

    The OHMI Trust strives for full, undifferentiated, participation in musical life for disabled people through the creation and provision of adapted musical instruments and enabling apparatus. It also undertakes and commissions research into pedagogic practises, instrument design, and manufacturing methods.

    www.ohmi.org.uk

    Hobs 3D

    Creative. Collaborative. Comprehensive. Hobs 3D offers one of the most complete ranges of 3D services in the world. We bridge the gap between digital and physical 3D creation, employing a select and diverse team of 3D printing specialists, model makers, product designers, 3D digital artists and MIxed Reality XR/VR/AR immersive storytellers.

    We employ our creativity and technical expertise across multiple industries, working with the world’s leading companies from art & fashion to architecture, from computer gaming to construction, and from marketing to healthcare. We work closely alongside our clients as their creative department to envision, enhance and actualise their projects to the highest standards. 

    hobs3d.com

    UCL

    UCL is a diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry links, external partners, and alumni. Our powerful collective of individuals and institutions work together to explore new possibilities.

    Our distinctive approach to research, education and innovation seeks to further inspire our community of staff, students and partners to transform how the world is understood, how knowledge is created and shared, and the way that global problems are solved.

    Creative United

    Creative United is an independent Community Interest Company that provides finance-based products and services designed to deliver economic growth and social impact to the arts, creative and cultural sectors.

    The Take it away scheme is one of its flagship programmes, which supports participation in music by providing interest free loans for the purchase of musical instruments, equipment and software to enable music making at every level.

    creativeunited.org.uk

    Press enquiries

    Please contact us at: info@creativeunited.org.uk

    Download Press Release

    Tell us what you think: @Takeitawaymusic

  • Music Podcasts

    Podcasts about Music 🎵

    The podcast world has boomed over the past few years, but what is it about podcasts we love? I think it’s as straightforward as the fact that they provide entertainment and information in such an accessible and simple way.
    Before lockdown, listening to a podcast was the perfect handsfree way to distract yourself from a mundane commute, and now it’s a welcome break from looking at a screen but still staying engaged with something. And let’s be honest, no one ever grows out of having a story read to them! 
    From unpicking songs and the effect a piece of music has in our lives to navigating the music industry – here are some of our favourite podcasts about music to add to your lockdown listening. 
    Have you got a recommendation? Get in touch here and we’ll add it to the post.

    By Sophie Ogunyemi 

    Are we live?4 cartoon faces of Are We Live podcast hosts

    Described as ‘some mates having a chat about music’, tune in to hear our fave musicians BarneyArtist, AlfaMist, TomMisch and JordanRakei chat about, well, music! From what they’re listening to, to talking about recording studio etiquette and much, much more.

    🔊 Listen on SpotifySoundCloudApple Podcasts

    Bitesize Bodacious Babes Bitesize Bodacious Babes - podcast by women in music

    This podcast by Gabi Corbett is from women in the music industry helping to demystify the industry and inspire more ‘bodacious babes’ to get involved!  

    🔊 Listen on various platforms here.

    Broken RecordBroken Record Logo

    From FKA Twigs and Niler Rodgers to Bon Iver, well loved musicians talk about their life, inspiration, craft and what goes into their music.

    🔊 Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts

    Desert Island Discs Desert Island Discs BBC Radio 4

    The OG of podcasts about music! This radio show has been running since 1942. Each guest is asked to choose 8 tracks, a book and a luxury to take with them as they’re castaway on a mythical desert island. In between each track, the guest is interviewed and generally discusses their lives up to that point.

    🔊 Listen on BBC Sounds Apple MusicSpotify 

    DissectDissect Logo

    This show deep dives and dissects a single album per season and one song per episode. From The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, Beyonce’s Lemonade and more.

    🔊 Listen on Spotify Apple Podcasts 

    Music MattersMusic Matters BBC Radio 3

    ‘The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters.’ From clips like ‘Why music can literally make us lose track of time’ and ‘Why CDs may be more eco-friendly than streaming’ to  ‘The evolution of video game music’, there are some super interesting topics covered in this podcast to keep you going!

    🔊 Listen on BBC SoundsApple Podcasts

    Music Made Me Do ItMusic Made Me Do It

    “Just what do music managers, record label owners and festival founders do, and how can you become one? Stuart Stubbs attempts to unpack the different roles within the music industry by talking to the people who felt compelled to start their own successful businesses and projects within this brilliant and silly world”

    🔊 Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts 

    Song ExploderSong Exploder Logo E

    “Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” Over 150 musicians have been involved including Fleetwood Mac, U2, Metallica, Solange, Lorde, and Yo-Yo Ma so we’re sure you’ll find someone you’re interested in!

    🔊 Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify 

    Soul Music Soul Music BBC Radio 4

    “This podcast series explores pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.” Each episode takes one song (such as Back to Black and Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay) and hears first hand how it’s impacted various peoples lives.

    🔊 Listen on BBC SoundsApple Podcasts

    Sound Tracking Sound Tracking - image of Edith Bowman

    Each week Edith Bowman sits down with a variety of composers, directors, actors and producers to talk about the music that inspired them and how they use music in their films – from Normal People to Peaky Blinders!

    🔊 Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts

    Switched On PopSwitch on Pop - Vox

    This show is about the making and meaning of popular music hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding. They break down pop songs to figure out what makes a hit and what is its place in culture. They ‘help listeners find “a-ha” moments in the music.’ We enjoyed ‘How streaming changed the sound of pop’.

    🔊 Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts

    The Story of Music in Fifty PiecesThe Story of Music in Fifty Pieces BBC Radio 3               

    Composer Howard Goodall in conversation with Suzy Klein, talk through 50 pieces of music that changed the course of music history including pieces from (of course) Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and more.

    🔊 Listen on BBC SoundsApple Podcasts

    World Service Music DocumentariesImage of concert

    BBC World Service broadcast lots of documentaries and they’ve gathered together all of the music related ones in one place which is very handy! From Lemn Sissey talking about Bob Marley with fans all over the world to the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust there  so many musical genres and histories are covered.

    🔊 Listen on BBC Sounds

    Tell us what you think: @Takeitawaymusic