All posts by brian.greene

What’s Your Story – Introducing Guitarist Dave Hornsey

Learning to Play Guitar with Gigajam

The days of me dreaming that I’ll be the next Gary Moore or Rory Gallagher are long gone. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get enormous pleasure from what I can do on a guitar nor from believing that I can be better. Indeed this is why I have been learning to play guitar with Gigajam. I had an acoustic guitar as a teenager but put neither the effort nor the structure into practice sessions and so it never really got anywhere – other than as a regret in later life.

Guitar Lessons

A few years ago, a friend convinced me that he could teach me to play the guitar and so I decided to give it another go. He taught me enough to get started and then moved away. So I then started looking for other sources of support. Going to a tutor for a half hour session once a week didn’t really cut it – partly because I didn’t know what I really wanted to play (that was within my reach). The internet was better and I worked my way through Justin Sandercoe’s (www.justinguitar.com) beginners course. This was a good mix of skills, structure and appropriate songs.

Gigajam Online Music School

Towards the end of that programme, I discovered Gigajam (www.gigajmonline.com) and am now learning to play guitar with Gigajam online as a Lifetime Member.  Grades 1 & 2 were straightforward by this time, but Grade 3 was a good match with the higher levels of the justinguitar.com course. I found that there was a big benefit in being taught many of the same skills and techniques in two slightly different ways beneficial.

My Grade 3 certificate has pride of place on the wall in my study – it is an actual music qualification and a real sign of achievement. I was very pleased when I completed that course – but daunted by what was going to be required in Grade 4!

Lessons and Music Grades

Now, a couple of years later – after a couple of pauses in my playing – I am in the middle of the Grade 4 lessons. This is very different from my Grade 3 experience because before, I had a handle on many of the skills & techniques required – now I am learning with each Gigajam lesson and exercise. Progress is slower – but now I am  learning to play guitar with Gigajam, in some ways, it is more satisfying because it is hard won. (Playing the guitar is hard!)

So, what do I get out of Gigajam?

 

 

 

 

Progress and Roadmaps

First and foremost, a structure or a roadmap. When I get my Grade 4, I will be very happy – to have the qualification but more importantly to have a set of skills that I can see will let me play more songs. I view the lessons and exercises as a measure of progress.

 

Support

Gigajam provides the support that keeps me moving forward:

  • The videos show me what I should be doing;
  • The Xtractor player provides a backing to keep me in time as if with other musicians – being able to change the tempo and to loop playback helps with practice;
  • Having to video myself playing is instructive and I’m trying to teach myself to listen to what I’ve been playing (do the chords ring out? Am I in time?);
  • Above all, the feedback provided is invaluable – both encouragement and (especially) criticism. Combined with the ability to resubmit exercises and interact with the tutor.

Click to enlarge

While I am learning to play the guitar with Gigajam, I can see the progress I am making. Every exercise completed is one less to do. At the minute, I am probably focusing  on the Gigajam exercises. I am practising almost every day but my focus is on the skill needed to complete the next set of exercises. I expect that when I complete Grade 4, I’ll want a break – if only, to use my new skills on some new songs. What I really ought to do is find some other musicians and play with them but we now split our time between the UK and Spain so it is tricky to commit the time required.

Brian Greene, CEO of Gigajam said ” Dave has been very generous in taking time to share his story with us. He is a Lifetime Member of Gigajam and since he shared this story with us he is about to be awarded his Grade 4 Guitar in Music Performance from the University of West London. Dave completed all 94 exercises in debut to grade 3 and received a distinction level. He is just about to complete his review of the 78 exercises in grade 4.

Dave has used our Youtube video recording and marking facility, so Gigajam tutors watch his video via his e-Portfolio on gigajamonline, provide a feedback and a score based on UWL marking criteria.

If you have enjoyed reading Dave’s story, and are interested in learning to play the guitar with Gigajam then please do get in touch. 

Gigajam Online Music School has guitar lessons, bass lessons, keyboard lessons and drum lessons. www.gigajamonline.com

 

Gigajam@BETT edtech show

Gigajam will be exhibiting and demonstrating at the education technology show BETT next week. Please join us at Excel Exhibition Centre on Stand F 96, Wed 25th – Sat 28th January 2017, 10am – 6pm.

Live demonstrations will be taking place all day, so if you are interested in how you can harness technology to provide more of your students with an opportunity to learn a musical instrument then do come along. We will be showing our online music school and international music grades which are awarded in partnership with University of West London.

Gigajam are proud to be part of UK Government’s Department for International Trade Great British Trail. International delegates on the Humanities tours can come and visit us on Thursday 27th 1.30pm – 3.30pm and on Friday 28th  10.30am -12.30pm.

For more information then please feel free to contact, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Brian Greene

M:+44(0) 7976 208859 E: brian.greene@gigajam.com W: http://education.gigajam.com

 On stand will be :Brian Greene, CEO& Founder | Cat Young, Marketing and Communications Consultant | Alan Greene Business Development Director

Gigajam@Bett Show 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gigajam in Action Witton Park Academy Blackburn

Ethan Whittaker is the subject leader for music at Witton Park Academy an average sized secondary school in Blackburn with just under 1,000 students. He is also the Secondary representative for the Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub.

Ethan Whittaker

Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub has a partnership agreement with Gigajam,  which provides the opportunity for every child in Blackburn with Darwen to have access FREE either through school, through a community organisation or independently. The current licence runs until April 2018 and Witton Park Academy is the lead school.

Ethan kindly shared his experience, thoughts and use of Gigajam by making this short video.

We have been using Gigajam at Witton Park Academy since September 2015. Since then we have seen greater participation in music in extra curriculum activities and in the classroom.

 

We mainly use Gigajam in Key Stage 3 in years 7, 8 and 9 and use it for the performance side. Gigajam has enabled our kids to see where they are at in real time. They have been able to make progress and reflect on what they have done to be able to improve.

 

Pupils work on the keyboard towards their debut grade exam. They upload their work and reflect and improve it after analysing. This gives them something to work towards that includes an achievable target for the end of year.

We have also found that pupils who use Gigajam become more musically aware, being able to adapt to different scenarios and situations.

 

Gigajam is also used for intervention, especially for pupils who find concentrating difficult or who may suffer from behavioural issues. Gigajam gives them a clear focus and something to work towards.These pupils often channel their energy into improving and to become better musicians and individuals which helps them progress and integrate more into the school.

 

In our video we have a year 7 class using Gigajam and I see my role, while the pupils are using Gigajam is to make sure they are using correct instrumental technique and make sure they are doing everything to the best of their ability, by helping them analyse what they have done and how they can improve.

 

We have found that pupils are working better together using Gigajam – communicating and being really supportive of each other. They are helping each other analyse their work, and helping each other in counting the beats and when to play the notes, as well as reminding to use the correct instrumental technique which is really rewarding to see when I am walking round the classroom.

 

Pupils work really hard to get the best possible mark, with the grading system encouraging students to get above 65% is really useful. Pupils do see this as an internal competition trying to beat the pupils immediately around them and others in the class.

 

 

Not having paper, is so much more efficient, all the information from all the exercises are all in one place. The pupils can upload all their exercises up to Gigajam – it is all there, so it makes it simple for everybody.

 

This is the first year of using Gigajam at Witton Park Academy and it is going really, really well, with the pupils responding to it very positively and I couldn’t ask for much more.

 

If you would like more information about our use of Gigajam at Witton Park then please do not hesitate to email me: ewhittaker@wittonpark.org.uk

Download the case study as a Free eBook now

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Gigajam in Action – The Island Free School

The Island Free School is an exciting new secondary school for the Isle of Wight, which was set up by highly experienced teachers, parents and members of the local business community. It is a smaller, more intimate school than the others on the Island, with an excellent staff to pupil ratio.

Island Free School

Indra Riches, Head of Music introduced Gigajam to The Island Free School in 2014.

Indra Riches - The Island Free School

 

David Smith, Music Teacher has been leading on Gigajam this last year and he kindly agreed to share his experience, use of Gigajam, thoughts and observations.

David Smith - The Island Free School

What is the context in which your school operates and why did you feel the need for something like Gigajam?

As a music specialist school we have lots of music lessons on our timetable and our headmaster realises the connection between learning an instrument and the impact on academic improvement in other subjects. Our school is keen for all students to study a musical instrument and Gigajam is used to further engage those who are not so keen on classical based instruments.

Why did you choose to use Gigajam?

Gigajam is the only product on the market of its kind that offers the self-study opportunities for students via an online portal. The exercises and pieces in Gigajam can be learnt on the four different instruments which creates opportunities for students to form ensemble groups with ready made material.

The Island Free School Gigajam Studio 2

How long have you been using Gigajam?

We have been using Gigajam since the Island Free School opened in September 2014.

Can you describe your approach to using Gigajam

We use Gigajam during timetabled lessons and each class receives a half hour Gigajam lesson per week. We also offer Gigajam as an enrichment activity. Our students love the leader board scoring system and they are keen to be on top of the weekly and monthly charts (we’re slowly moving up the all time leader board which is great!).

Which groups of students did you select?

All students receive a half an hour timetabled lesson each week in our Gigajam studio. If students wish to do extra Gigajam they can use one hour a week from their enrichment timetable to do so.

Is Gigajam used from home?

Yes, so Gigajam is used widely in school lessons, during our enrichment hour and students can also access their account from home if they have a computer. Some students upload from home and others practise the exercises/pieces at home and then record their upload when they are back in school.

Island Free School

What technical resources do you have and how available are they to you and your students?

We have 25 students in each class and our music class is kitted out with enough keyboards for one between two. Our Gigajam studio has 11 Keyboards, 9 guitars and 5 drum kits. Students can access this equipment before the school day and during their free time.

 

The Island Free School Gigajam Studio

What observations and thoughts of learners and teachers around the department/schools could you share?

The general consensus is that Gigajam is developing at a fast rate in our school, we have a number of students who have achieved one instrumental grade whilst others have achieved more than one grade in a range of different instruments since using the software. Staff are also encouraged to take part and use Gigajam when they are able to.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plan is to continue to use Gigajam with KS3 and as we start teaching KS4 in the next year we would like to use Gigajam to support those students who may need to boost their keyboard (or guitar, bass & drums) skills through the variety of exercises and pieces that Gigajam has to offer. We are waiting to move into our brand new purpose built school which will feature a purpose built Gigajam studio complete with practice rooms.

 

Music Grades for Schools

This morning we received our largest bag full of certificates from our partnership with the University of West London/London College of Music.

Students from: Witton Park Academy, Blackburn, The Island Free School, Isle of Wight, Arc School, Nuneaton and West Byfleet Junior School Surrey will soon receive these certificates proving their success in learning a musical instrument.

UWLLCM CertificatesCongratulations to all those successful candidates and their teachers who have made learning an instrument possible.

You can read and watch video from case studies from Witton Park Academy and The Island Free School.

 

 

BBC Get Playing Campaign

The BBC have launched the fabulous campaign Get Playing which aims to inspire amateur musicians across the UK and bring them together in a celebration like you’ve never seen before.

They have produced a website for the campaign and are encouraging participation in their terrifically fun Virtual Orchestra project which is fronted by David Baddiel.

Join David Baddiel, learn Bizet’s Toreador Song and play in the Virtual Orchestra.

The BBC say that Whether you currently play an instrument, or haven’t played for years, we want you to get involved and experience the joy of music making

At Gigajam we are pleased to support the campaign and like the BBC we believe that playing music is life-enhancing, community building, and above all, fun.

Gigajam is already linked out from the BBC so please feel free to grab 3 months of free lessons with us. You can learn guitar, bass, keyboard and drums – all four if you want. Our lessons are backed with music grades from the University of West London and London College of Music so you have quality guaranteed.

Just visit here to register freely and start learning today.

Find out more about Get Playing with the BBC here

Always wanted to go to music school? Now you can!

Welcome to a Music School where you learn to play guitar, bass, keyboard and drums all online.

 

Gigajam online is packed with: TV Shows, Videos, Lessons and Play along exercises.
You can learn online, in your own place, in your own time. So, if you’ve always wanted to go to music school – now you can. Choose your instruments and try your free lessons.

 

Sign up for free at Gigajam

 

Why did we start Gigajam?

In this extract from a recent interview with CEO & Founder Brian Greene, he briefly explains why he started Gigajam and was so focused on music in classrooms in the UK.

“I wanted to provide more opportunities for people to learn a musical instrument.”

Gigajam is available in 6 of the 13 Regional Broadband Consortia around the UK including:

  1. London Grid for Learning,
  2. South West Grid for Learning,
  3. E2BN,
  4. WMNet,
  5. Northern Grid and
  6. Scotlands Schools Digital Network – Glow.

Individual Local Authorities also use Gigajam across their schools, and some of these include: The Highland Council, Blackburn with Darwen and Luton MBC. Over 1,000 UK schools use Gigajam on a daily basis through their own licence arrangements.

Our Online Music School for Schools is found at http://gigajamvle.com

For more information about Gigajam and schools, visit  http://education.gigajam.com

 

Spring Pricing 2016 for Gigajam

GigajamLogo2016Landscape03

New pricing details are available now for Gigajam home users.

Before the increase in price to new users comes into effect we are extending our offer to existing registered users for a couple more days whilst the changes are implemented.

The new pricing will be live in a few days, so we are keeping our offer to existing registered users open for a couple of further days. The offer is a Lifetime Membership at just £39.99!

Spring Prices

The new pricing will offer subscriptions at £5.99 per month or £59 per year per instrument for: Guitar, Bass, Keyboard OR Drums

The new Lifetime Membership will be £79 single one off fee per instrument.

For unlimited access to all instruments the subscriptions are £9.99 per month and £99 per year, with a Lifetime Membership offer £249 for: Guitar, Bass, Keyboard AND Drums

Full offer details are here Gigajam Lifetime Offer:

 

Get Gigajam before spring price increase – £39.99 lifetime membership

We’re going to be changing our subscription and membership pricing for new customers this spring. The good news, to thank existing customers for their support, is that your prices are fixed forever if you maintain your ongoing subscription.

If you aren’t already a subscriber then good news for you too, in that we’re keeping our current £39.99 lifetime offer open until midnight Monday.

So until then for a £39.99 one off payment you can have access to all 144 lessons, tutor support, video uploads, MIDI uploads, the whole kit and kaboodle. For. Ever.Gigajam Lifetime

Simply visit http://gigajamonline.com/lifetime to catch this price while you can.