Tag Archives: Music

Soundhouse Music Alliance and Gigajam

Australian music educators and their schools can receive a free annual licence from to Gigajam VLE when they take up the new Soundhouse Music Alliance offer.

Soundhouse® Music Alliance oversees and promotes multi-media, music making and education for teachers and students. Its contemporary focus engages those interested in modern music-making. Each Soundhouse® enhances the curriculum of a school and provides a learning opportunity that is respected and admired. Soundhouse® facilities are specially equipped classrooms where students and teachers can learn, explore and experiment with their own music-making. Soundhouse® has individual studios equipped with modern multi-media equipment and digital technology enabling experienced and novice musicians to create their own composition or learn from prepared recordings. The Soundhouse® Music Alliance is a Registered Charitable Foundation.

For further details visit Soundhouse Music Alliance @www.soundhouse.org.au


New Facebook and Twitter sharing features from Gigajam – share your progress with friends and family

Sharing and letting people know what you are up to is great fun, so Gigajam Online now enables you to share your latest achievements and your latest progress with friends and family using Twitter and Facebook.
You can share and let people know when you have completed a lesson. If you use Gigajam’s award winning ePortfolio then you can also share your exercise scores and course progress.

Please feel free to start sharing now and let us know if you would like any other sharing features made available. Try Gigajam at www.gigajamonline.com

Best wishes,


Genuinely interactive technology in instrumental tuition is more than e-Learning – it is Real Learning!

“All children should have the chance to learn an instrument” —  Michael Gove


Nobody would disagree with Mr Gove’s aspiration; especially parents and pupils.

The scale of the challenge set by Mr Gove must not be underestimated though, and we have long argued that we need to utilise technology to support our workforce to deal with the issues of scale and reach.

Teaching with technology (interactive technologies)

However, those of us involved in teaching with technology must be clear of what we mean by interactive technology. We must also convince traditionalists that technology produces real outcomes, is not a gimmick and is designed to be used in addition to, not instead of, high quality teachers and teaching.

Technology in musical instrument tuition, in formal education, must be about being part of a system that creates more instrumental opportunities than is currently possible.

So let’s start by being clear and demanding of our vision of elearning in instrumental tuition – it must be real learning.

Real eLearning – Good teaching and learning

For elearning to be real learning, it needs to;

  • incorporate good teaching and learning,
  • use a mix of learning models to support learners of many styles,
  • blend activities to enable skills development to support academic development and musical literacy.

Musical instrument tuition needs to be even more demanding of technology for it to be meaningful and it must be genuinely interactive, so that it can provide formative feedback to the learner and, an opportunity for the teacher to provide personalised assessment to support the learner’s progress.

We, of course,  believe that Gigajam is unique in its offer and well placed, not only, to meet the current demands, but to evolve its services and meet the continual improvement that we demand from our technology in helping raise standards.

Let’s interogate the basis upon which Gigajam was created.

Learning Models

Firstly, Gigajam’s courses and software were developed on strong learning models. The interplay between the curriculum and the software is built upon Bloom’s Taxonomy:


Knowledge – Delivery of high quality information, containing multimedia: Narrated text, Video Clips, Diagrams and Graphics, Glossary, ordered into lessons that can be used by teachers, as detailed lesson plans and absorbed by students when working on their own.

Example.01 Drum lesson One – Multimedia lesson, simulating an instrumental teacher


 Drum Lesson One

 Fig01 Digital Curriculum – Multimedia lessons available online anytime, anywhere

Understanding – Pupils understanding can be supported by delivering the lessons  in a variety of ways;

  • Full narrated lessons, with explanatory text and diagrams, how to videos, and glossary of terms.*
  • Video lesson version only, where students can use imitation and modelling to learn.*
  • TV lesson version, which is more detailed and provides a more ‘whole’ approach, rather than learning chunks. *
  • PDF book lesson for students who prefer to work from a music stand rather than a computer screen.*
*all lesson formats linked to exercises interactive software.
Example.02 Drum lesson One – 4 lesson variations for multiple learning styles






Fig02 Independent learning – Instrument, Digital Curriculum and interactive software

Application – This is where the majority of instrumental learning takes place, with the student being able to repeat an exercise to develop competence. Gigajam’s Xtractor software is, firstly, a play along device, and was designed to simulate playing along with a teacher.

Students can adjust the exercise; making changes to the tempo, the mix of the backing band and also isolate sections of the exercise to loop around, so they can focus on small technical difficulties.

Students can also record and listen back to their performance, as well as save it for future reference and share with teachers and peers for their feedback.

Example.03 Gigajam in action Year 8 lessons (video) Bradley Stoke Community School


Fig03 Xtractor – Gigajam’s award winning interactive play along and recording software
(practice engine)

In terms of learning skills Xtractor is hugely important. Within Bloom’s Taxonomy, application (practice to musicians), is explained more deeply in Reynold’s Model of Developing Skills.

Using Xtractor to practice is the first level of interactivity, as the student interacts with the software to do what real musicians do – practice, practice, practice!  This is very real learning and is essential in becoming competent.

Fig04 Xtractor – Reynold’s Model of developing skills

Developing the ability to be consistent in the performance of the task is the key and this takes repetition. The horizontal line in Reynold’s model represents competence and is consistent with the the popular theory of Progressive Competence

■Unconscious incompetence

■Conscious incompetence

■Conscious competence

■Unconscious competence

Analysis – Gigajam Analyser provides the second level of interactivity, and is highly significant in its impact on outcomes for the learner. It is significant because in the learning process Analyser provides immediate formative feedback to learners. This is almost impossible to do with groups of pupils and when the pupils is away from their teacher.

Specifically, Gigajam Analyser does the following:

1. Provides immediate feedback for the student, which enables the student to form a judgement as to how they are doing and what they need to do to progress. This formative assessment takes the form of:

  • % score that incentivises students to score as well as they can (generally by practising more).
  • Graphically represents whether the students have; played the right note, in time and for the right length.

2. Students can keep all of their performances by uploading directly into their online locker, which contains a dedicated ePortfolio, and enables students to view their progress in two ways.

  • Progression in each exercise.
  • Progression through the course.

  Drum Portfolio SMALL

Fig06 Student’s Online Locker – ePortfolio (assessment for learning) – continual, formative and summative assessment
Example.04 Gigajam in action Year 9 lessons (video) Pleckgate High School


3. Teachers also benefit from the Analyser; as students can capture all of their performances, this provides continual and summative assessment. Teachers can view all of their students work and provide comments to deepen the assessment for learning. The analyser’s ability to score students work means that all of the students work is automatically scored, even to the point where the system can produce lesson completion certificates automatically.

Without technology it is incredibly difficult to provide continual assessment in a music classroom. The analyser, in conjunction with the reporting functionality of the website, means that continual, formative and summative assessment, as well as communication between students and teachers, is  an added service, only possible when using interactive and dynamic technologies.

Synthesis – Gigajam’s curriculum is based on a tried and tested pathway of study written by professional musicians and educators.

Brian Greene

(Director of education and content development Interactive Music School – former Head of Academic Drum Studies – Thames Valley University)

David Young

(Trinity Guildhall Licentiate – Guitar)

Terry Gregory

(University of East London – Institute of Contemporary Music Performance)

The courses written are designed so that students develop their own instrument specific skills, and are complementary with the other instruments in creating a band. Students can play together at the end of each lesson, each grade (lesson 2, 4, 7, 10, 20, 30) and each level.  Additionally, the Rock Orchestra module enables Gigajam rock musicians to perform with an Orchestra, as the songs for level one have been scored for an Orchestra and Rock Band to play together.

06 - Gigajam Classroom Band

Developing students into musicians must incorporate the opportunity for students to come together and develop their live performance, recording and composition skills, so that the tangible music skills they learn, both performance and academic, can be brought together in a series of music making activities.

Example.05 Gigajam in Action – South Manchester CLC (video)

Teenage Kicks – Year 6 students bringing their skills together, downloading lyrics and working a song out wth their teacher which contains skills they have been developing.


Example.06 Guitar, Bass, Keyboard Drums and Theory – course outline



Example.07  Live Performance Workshops


Example.08 Music Classroom of the Future – Learn to Play<Play Live<Record and Compose Music


Evaluation – Once teachers have faciltated the opportunity to synthesis music making, whether at the end of the first session, or the 30 lesson, group evaluation, and peer moderation supports pupils to further evaluate what they need to do to progress. Pupils will then be able to reflect on their individual skills and also the methods and approaches they have taken and make evaluation of how theu can change, or refine the process and their approach.

Blended Learning

At Gigajam we believe that by blending the benefits of good interactive technologies, alongside solid teaching and learning, technology has a significant role to play in upskilling pupils with tangible music making skills. Blending the activities so that students can distill their skills and demonstrate meangingful and lasting progress will support greater participation and raise standards.

Genuinely interactive technology used alongside good teaching and learning is about developing real skills, using real instruments and providing real outcomes.  

Brian Greene


For more information on Gigajam then please contact us:


01494 534880



Gigajam&Yamaha BETT 2010 – Creating Musicians

Music Classroom of the Future - Creating Musicians

Gigajam&Yamaha will be launching their Music Classroom for the Future education solutions during the BETT show at Olympia in January 2010. BETT is the world’s largest ICT in education show and will be visited by over 27,000 delegates involved in education.

Brian Greene, Managing Director of Gigajam said, “Gigajam&Yamaha have shared a vision that all children can have the chance to experience learning a musical instrument over a sustained period. We have been advocating, through the government’s Music Manifesto,that increasing participation requires a technological solution to support and enhance the existing methods of delivering musical instrument tuition.

We believe that 100% participation is possible with Gigajam&Yamaha – music instrument tuition through eLearning – and that the focus now needs to be turned towards young people in secondary education, ensuring that programmes are progressive, sustained and provide continual assessment.”

John Hillier, Commercial Director of  Gigajam said, “This year we are heavily focused on Local Authorities,  Schools and Academies who our looking at transforming learning for the creative arts through the use of technology.”

Gigajam will be joined on stand by Yamaha ‘s much respected Education Manager Bill Martin, together with David Cooper, Director of One Man Band, Gigajam’s appointed Yamaha supplier. To demonstrate Gigajam’s use in UK schools music teachers Ian Wright, Head of Music at Tiverton High School and Sean Ashmore, Head of Music at Pleckgate High School will be visiting the stand to demonstrate their schools’ work.  Both schools are Gigajam Accredited Interactive Music Schools and will be presenting their ideas on harnessing technology and how it has increased participation and engagement in music.

For more information on Gigajam&Yamaha Music Classroom for the Future, then please contact:

Brian Greene |T: 07976 208859 |E: brian.greene@gigajam.com|W:  www.gigajam.com

The Gigajam&Yamaha Creating Musicians stand can be found on the National Gallery, Olympia, London  Wednesday 13th Jan – Saturday 16th Jan. Stand number V20.

Official! More music lessons – to improve memory, intelligence and behaviour

Professor Susan Hallam, of the Institute of Education, University of London, analysed scores of researchers’ studies on the benefits of music to children.

Her report found that learning a musical instrument at school improves children’s behaviour, memory and intelligence. The report was commissioned by the government.

Brian Greene, Managing Director, this week commented on the report, ‘ There is a general acceptance that the activities associated with learning a musical instrument have wide ranging benefits. The specifics and science in this report provide further compelling evicence that this is not just anecdotal. The government, music services and all those associated with music education in the UK, especially the music manifesto,  have worked exceedingly hard to provide more opportunities for pupils at school to access music lessons and a huge step change has been achieved.’

John Hillier, Director of Gigajam continued, ‘This report, yet again, confirms our belief that we need to add a technology assisted instrumental provision to provide the scale of opportunity and participation that we want for all our school students.  The main problems that face the delivery of large scale musical instrument tuition still persist and they are:

I.    Large scale sustained participation in learning a musical instrument is unaffordable under existing structures and,

II.    Even if there were enough money to pay for instrumental teachers there are simply not enough music teachers to deliver the number of traditionally delivered lessons required to give every student a chance to learn a musical instrument.

The government has been very generous recently, but even the current level of generosity will only provide one year of free tuition to primary school children during the currency of the funding . Most music services, who are the principle deliverers of instrumental tuition, are  probably now working close to capacity and more money will not provide a further step change.

What is needed, is for an additional technology assisted structure(s) to be added, alongside, and in addition, to the existing tried and tested structures delivered by music services.  The government has already adopted BECTA’s Harnessing Technology Strategy for teaching and learning, which when used inconjunction with the huge educational technological infrastructure that is available, through our National Education Network, will provide every child, wherever they are in the UK, with access and opportunity to sustained, high quality musical instrument tuition.  Gigajam’s suite of lesson content, curriculum and software, has already been developed with the current technology standards and  would provide students and teachers with:

anytime, anywhere access

independent learning

assessment for learning (formative, summative, continual and terminal assessment, supporting teaching and learning)

personalised learning

progressive and sustained pathways

integration with existing government strategies (music manifesto, musical futures, extended schools, ICTAC)

reach and scale

Gigajam is already being used to provide daily instrumental music lessons for individuals, small groups and whole classes, providing a scale of delivery unaffordable by existing methods. Whole class instruction can and does already take place everyday in Gigajam schools, both primary and secondary and you can see examples online on our Case Study pages.

Introducing Gigajam


Bradley Stoke Community College


For more information for Gigajam’s support of the government’s Music Manifesto, then please contact either:

John Hillier john.hillier@gigajam.com, or Brian Greene brian.greene@gigajam.com


Gigajam YouTube Channel Launched

How Gigajam worksGigajam have recently started using the YouTube Video hosting service to promote instructional vidoes of Gigajam in use and How to Use Gigajam. Please feel free to view the growing video channel at:


Brian Greene, Managing Director said, ‘This is a quick and easy way of sharing information and we have produced the short videos in an informal and simple manner, reflecting the ease with which the web can be used to communicate. We will also be publishing the videos in a number of areas of the web, which will include our own support section, as well as community and social networking areas such as Facebook, Gigajam Group, www.facebook.com and the UK music education community portal, Teaching Music, www.teachingmusic.org.uk

For further information on How to use Gigajam, then please feel free to contact us at:

T: 0800 055 6797

E: support@gigajam.com

W1: www.gigajam.com

W2: http://schools.gigajam.com

W3: www.gigajamonline.com

W4: www.gigajam.tv

Gigajam Autumn 2009 UK Roadshow

SLF2009Gigajam will be out and about across the UK in the autumn, focused on providing local audiences with an opportunity to meet the producers and see Gigajam in action.

SFL 2009 Adrian Carey demonstrating the drums software

The Gigajam Team will be demonstrating the new GigajamVLE service that enables students to learn at school and continue at home. It also provides an integrated ePortfolio to store and automatically mark students’ performances. The system also provides detailed reports for teachers, on students’ progress, to help with continual, formative and summative assessment.

Please feel free to register an account and demo GigajamVLE at www.gigajamonline.com The first lessons for guitar, bass, keyboards and drums are free.

Autumn 2009

The autumn schedule is currently:

3rd and 4th  September 2009

Scottish Association of Music EducatorsStirling University.

18th and 19th  September 2009

National Association of Music Educators – University of York.

23rd and 24th September 2009

Scottish Learning Festival – SECC Glasgow (Stand D30)

3rd and 4th November 2009

Specialist Schools and Academies Trust  Annual Music Conference – Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham

25th and 26th November 2009

Specialist Schools and Acdemies Trust Annual Conference – ICC Birmingham (Stand B20)

Winter/Spring 2010

13th-16th Jaunary 2010,

British Education Teaching with Technology Show (BETT) – Olympia Earls Court, London (Stand V20 National Gallery)

Gigajam are planning to be on hand at The Education Show NEC  and the SSAT Annual Arts Confernce in 2010.

For more information on Gigajam and how we help create more musicians, with our partners, then please contact:

Email Brian Greene or phone 07976 208859. [vCard]

Email John Hillier or phone 07956 466440. [vCard]

Gigajam is an affordable ICT based instrumental tuition programme that provides a scalable solution to teaching and learning the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. If you would like to know more about Gigajam and how it is helping create musicians, then please feel free to get in touch.

Gigajam can provide stand alone, network and Learning Platform VLE solutions for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Local Authorities.

Web http://schools.gigajam.com
Tel 0800 055 6797

Stoke Family Learning – Summer Music Courses

City of Stoke Music Technology Centre

Stoke Music Services are running the following Family Learning music courses through the Summer Holidays. All activities take place at their fantastic new music technology suite in The Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST2 8DD. The suite is filled with great interactive software, modern musical instruments and led by the highly professional music services team.


August 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th 9.30am-12 noon, 1.00pm-3.30pm

Saturday Mornings

August 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd 9.30am-12 noon

Tuesday Evenings

August 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th 7.00pm-9.00pm

Young drummer in Stoke being given the opportunity to learn

For booking information and general enquiries please contact the office on: 01782 233 794 email  CMAPAS@stoke.gov.uk

Gigajam Get Down Under – Australia

Gigajam - Creating Musicians

Gigajam get down under – Australia

Soundhouse Music, Australia has become a Gigajam distributor providing local representation for the first time.

Soundhouse Music are themselves a well established music tuition provider delivering instrumental courses for students, CPD to state schools, as well as running their own music projects within schools. They now offer Gigajam in one of their centres, enriching their offer.

Soundhouse believe passionately in the use of high quality resources and technology which enables them to support more opportunities for students to receive sustained high quality instrumental instruction.

For more information on Soundhouse Music and their work, as well as Gigajam in Australia, please feel free to contact Ken Owen, Manager Soundhouse.com  (Australia).

For more information on Gigajam and how we help create more musicians with our partners then please contact:John Hillier or phone 07956 466440. [vCard]



Gigajam is an affordable ICT based instrumental tuition programme that provides a scalable solution to teaching and learning the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. If you would like to know more about Gigajam and how it is helping create musicians, then please feel free to get in touch.

Gigajam can provide stand alone, network and Learning Platform VLE solutions for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Local Authorities.

Web http://schools.gigajam.com
Tel 0800 055 6797

Brian Greene or phone 07976 208859. [vCard]

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Future School of Finland gets Gigajam

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Gigajam - Creating Musicians

Gigajamming in Future School of Finland

Gigajam has been chosen for the Future School of Finland project in the City of Oulu. This is an exciting project which take a holistic look at education, taking the physical environments, curriculum, and resources as a whole.

The Future School project is transforming education in a similar way to UK initiatives such as BSF, the Music Manifesto and the Harnessing Technology strategy. Although we are playing a small part, we are proud to be involved in such innovation.

More information is available here.


For more information on Gigajam and how we help create more musicians with our partners then please contact:

Email Brian Greene or phone 07976 208859. [vCard]

Email John Hillier or phone 07956 466440. [vCard]

Gigajam is an affordable ICT based instrumental tuition programme that provides a scalable solution to teaching and learning the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. If you would like to know more about Gigajam and how it is helping create musicians, then please feel free to get in touch.

Gigajam can provide stand alone, network and Learning Platform VLE solutions for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Local Authorities.

Web http://schools.gigajam.com
Tel 0800 055 6797