Paul James's Big Band Workshop.
Paul has been teaching people of all ages and abilities, in different countries, to play and arrange dance music in ensembles for many years.
Using attractive folk dance tunes or modern compositions as a starting point, Paul’s Big Band Workshop is about working together as a team to make a mighty big band noise that is more than the sum of its parts. Suitable for all ages, all abilities, any instrument. No prior knowledge of folk music necessary. The aim is to create imaginative arrangements - using harmonies and riffs, textures and dynamics - that are interesting and fun to play, dance and listen to. Participants need to be of a standard where they can play a simple folk tune through at the right tempo, either by ear or by reading music.
" I establish aims and ground rules and get them playing. As the workshops progresses they gain the confidence to develop arrangement ideas and negotiate them with everyone else in the group. It's as much about team work, and group dynamics, as it is about active listening and ensemble playing skills. I am always surprised by what they come up with. It's always completely unique to that time, place and group of people - which is what music is all about."
Paul can design and deliver a band/ensemble workshop for people of all ages and abilities or more advanced players for a half-day, whole day or over 2, 3 or more days.
Paul also leads the annual European Ensemble Music Weekend at Halsway Manor National Centre for Folk Arts. 2019 tutors - Anne Niepold, Merit Zloch, Paul James. Social media comments about the 2019 course: 'Great tutors. Great music making. Great organisation all round. Thank you all.' 'Outstanding weekend and inspiring work from the tutors.' 'It really was as good as everyone has said it was. it was also exceptionally funny' 'The best ever. Even more variety in musical styles and approaches than in previous years, with the usual high standard and general loveliness of participants, all underpinned by Halsway friendliness and look-aftering. Thanks!!!'
As part of the European Ensemble Music Weekend 2019, Paul made a short film on his phone. The participants then worked in two separate groups and each one made their own soundtrack for it. The aim of the exercise was to use music to create different atmospheres with the images. Videos below...