During the summer The Musiclab ran a number of different summer workshops including Latin percussion, Slide Guitar, Mentored Band rehearsals and our Popular Summer Sessions Workshop.
The summer sessions are a great way to get used to playing and jamming with other musicians in a band environment. This year we focused on intensity and dynamics, having the ability to take something simple and repetitive and make it as interesting as possible for as long as possible. One of the exercises (being my personal favourite) involved taking one chord of which you had to play as long as possible, in as many different ways you can think of. A lot of people's "go to" move with chords is usually just strumming so we worked on different ways you can apply a chord, strumming quietly or loud, different strumming patterns, broken chords and arpeggios, letting a chord ring out, playing a chord in a staccato fashion etc.
After working with the students on experimenting with intensity, we then tried to use what they had learned to make a solo interesting. The rhythm section can control a solo's feel by changing what is happening underneath it. We did a lot of work using the drummer to help drive a guitar solo using things such as half time, stabs on the crash cymbals and dynamic build ups.
The mentored band sessions where a lot of fun and very interesting to be involved in.
Maple Park are a group of our adult students who have formed a band from within the framework of The Musiclab. They have gradually been building up a set list and have done a few gigs/open mics here and there. During the mentored band sessions we choose 4 of their strongest songs and worked on fine tuning them. My personal favourite being jazzing up the White Stripes tune Seven Nation Army. Using the hard rock rhythm as a back bone decorated with 7th chords and a more up tempo feel. These sessions where a lot of fun as you can see Maple Park building up their own sound and adding their own personality to the cover versions that they play. The standard of musicianship is improving at every rehearsal, which is really pleasing to see. We are expecting great things from these guys - watch this space!
All our summer sessions where a huge success and we could see how everyone has improved. Having a musical idea is one thing but taking something simple and making it interesting using a different delivery, different techniques and changing the feel is a different ball game.
We look forward to working with you all during the Autumn Term and we hope to see more of you getting involved in next year's summer sessions.