Tag Archives: music grades

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.

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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

 

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.

 

Music Grade Success!

It is great when the postman arrives and delivers these.

Music Grades

So today we have a desk of joy for our students taking their drum lessons in High Wycombe with me and, there are also a few for students of the Online Music School who have been studying on their own and a some who have earned these awards through their school using our education site.

All of these music grades have been awarded by The University of West London London College of Music.

Congratulations to them all on their hard work and success!

Case Study: The Arc School

Gigajam at The Arc School

Patrick Jackson is the Head of Music at The Arc School in Nuneaton. The school is an Independent Special School and have been clients of Gigajam since September 2011. It is rated as a good school by Ofsted and this term they are entering their fifth successful year using Gigajam.

Patrick kindly agreed to share his experience of Gigajam and this The Arc School’s story.

About The Arc School

Arc School Church End is an Independent day school based on in rural Warwickshire catering for children and young people who have struggled in mainstream education environments and whose needs were unmet in those settings.

 What problem(s) were you trying to solve?

In an effort to raise pupil attainment across the board, from those who struggle with musical concepts through to gifted and talented pupils, Gigajam was engaged to enable individual access to music as well as being used at a class level.

How did you implement Gigajam

Gigajam was implemented for Year 8s and 9s primarily but has now filtered down to the Year 7s and up to Key Stage 4. The competitive nature of the pupils, coupled with the instant scoring means that while some have little difficulty progressing through the lessons, others will attempt to beat previous scores until they have achieved as high as they feel they can.

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 What specifically attracted you to Gigajam as a solution

The instant scoring of the lessons and the fact the scoring is computerised rather than opinion based means my pupils have no difficulty accepting the score given to them. This in turn makes them more willing to analyse where they went wrong and to learn from their mistakes to attempt to gain a higher pass rate. This also makes progress for each pupil relatively easy to evidence.Analysing

How easy was it to deploy Gigajam in your department?

Deploying Gigajam was straightforward. The software is very accessible so once the pupils have their own login details, the teacher then becomes a facilitator to learning.

How have you been able to measure impact?

The instant scores that the pupils get are saved into the pupils’ own folder and so even multiple attempts at an exercise shows progress. The final score they choose to upload to the Gigajam system is kept on a visual tracker designed to show the pupils how many exercises they have achieved and how many are left until they get to the exam stages. Each pupil will have a personal tracker in the cover of their exercise books also. Currently, the impact is measured in the amount of pupils taking and passing the graded exams offered through Gigajam.

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How have pupils responded to the use of Gigajam?

On the whole, pupils have responded very positively. This generation of pupils are especially computer literate, so the whole Gigajam setup quickly becomes second-nature to them.

Once they see themselves achieving and understanding that this is something that is within their abilities, they generally request more Gigajam time.

What impact has Gigajam had on your approach to teaching?

Gigajam’s main impacts on the pupils’ teaching and learning are the transferable skills that carry over to the main curriculum. Many pupils ability to access music is enhanced through having a better understanding of the building blocks of western music, i.e. chords and scales. As such, Music becomes less intimidating and more enjoyable.

How do you see Gigajam being used to develop your department?

I would like to see as many of my pupils as possible leave school with the highest grades they can achieve in whichever instrument they choose to pursue.

Have there been any unexpected results from using Gigajam?

There have been examples of pupils who have had no prior experiences with music as well as those who had previously struggled with music having their appetite for music increased due to the competitiveness of attempting to beat their own scores.  These are the small steps that lead to the pupils gaining their Debut Grade qualification. This then feeds the success cycle of opening the horizon to further and more challenging graded qualifications.

For more information about Gigajam, then please do not hesitate to contact us:

Brian Greene:

brian.greene@gigajam.com

01494 534880

07976 208859

Our education websites are:

http://education.gigajam.com

http://schools.gigajam.com

Rock and Pop Music Grades through Gigajam

Through our partnership with the London College of Music we are now in the full swing of things with students from far and wide being awarded grades for their progress with their Gigajam courses. Harry is from Princes Risborough School and is studying for his Music GCSE and is developing his performance element with Gigajam. He has received distinctions in his first series of grades, debut, grade1, grade 2 and grade 3 for drums.

Harry is now studying for his grade 4.

Harry Dyer - Distinction.jpg

All of the points acquired can contribute to his school performance. See the table below:

Gigajam Grade NQF Level QCF Credits Cost Ofqual Register
Debut Entry Level 4 £10 601/0304/8
Grade 1 Level 1 9 £11 601/0300/0
Grade 2 Level 1 12 £12 601/0302/4
Grade 3 Level 1 12 £13 601/0303/6
Grade 4 Level 2 15 £14 601/0359/0
Grade 5 Level 2 18 £15 601/0309/7

 

Gigajam’s awards are extremely flexible, affordable and easy to use. The students store all of their work in their protfolios and the system will tell them when they have completed the requirements for the grade. This includes a series of technical exercises, performance pieces and questions. The portfolio is simple to compete and integrated into our Online Music School and can receive MIDI files which are automatically marked and videos, using our seamless YouTube recorder which can be marked by the teacher. The teacher verifies pupils work and submitted for an award. There is no visiting a centre, booking exams or costly and time consuming travel; simply enter when complete. Because all of the work is done online the cost of exams have been reduced dramatically, as you can see from the table, making them genuinely affordable for all.

Learn more about grades with this short video:

For more information on qualifications awarded through The University of West London/London College of Music through Gigajam then you can visit our qualifications page.

Contact us now to join Gigajam e: brian.greene@gigajam.com Education site | Online Music School Music Education Hubs