Paul James's Big Band Workshop - all ages, all abilities, any instrument.
Paul has been teaching people of all ages and abilities, in many different countries, to play and arrange dance music in ensembles for more than 30 years.
Using simple, catchy folk dance tunes 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.
Paul came up with this workshop when he organised the first Blowzabella Workshop Festival in 1984 and has been developing it ever since. " I noticed that many of the band's audience played an instrument and thought it would be a good idea to invite them to participate in workshops where we could focus on making a great noise together, either for dancing to or just listening. I establish aims and ground rules and get them playing and then, as the day progresses, they gain the confidence to help come up with their own arrangement ideas and how to 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've never failed to be surprised by what each workshop group comes up with. It's always completely unique to that time, place and group of people - which is what music is all about."
European Music Weekend at Halsway Manor 2019
Paul can design and deliver a band workshop for a half-day, whole day or over 2, 3 or more days.