Category Archives: University

What’s your biggest guitar issue?

ATTENTION GUITAR FRIENDS!

This is a call for submissions!

One aim of my blog is to offer guitar & music-related advice and for the next few posts, I’d like to pass the power in dictating the topic of discussion to YOU. So tell me: what is the is the biggest issue you face in learning the guitar?

I’m happy to examine any relevant queries which have been bugging you. They could be technical (finger tapping, getting the right tone out of an amp), or more vague (who do you feel the best guitarists to listen to when learning Afro-Cuban jazz, etc). You might want to ask about bass guitar, ukulele or band performance/management in general. Feel free!

You can message me here, leave a comment in this post, or drop me a DM/tweet via my Twitter account: @tim_guitarist.

I look forward to hearing from you & talking your queries over the next few weeks!

Tim x

Advertisements

Music & Wellbeing (Part 7): Final thoughts & additional reading

I hope you have enjoyed reading these extracts from my dissertation on the value of music on our overall wellbeing. I wanted to finish off this mini-series with a few final thoughts.

First of all, it goes without saying that a lot more research needs to be conducted in all of the areas I have covered. From music’s impact on the brain to it’s beneficial applications within the education system, we have only begun to scratch the surface of what could be possible. Music’s transformative power needs much more investigation and research than, unfortunately, we seem able to support financially in the country at the present. Having said that, there are a few great organisations out there, most of them charities, which are performing Stirling work even in these most difficult of economic times.

Nordoff-Robbins are the UK’s largest and oldest Music Therapy charity. Most of the MT courses on offer at UK universities are provided in conjunction with them, usually following their methods of practice. Another fantastic charity is Sunbeams. Working in the North-West area (Lake District, Cumbria) with a range of people, including children and adults with severe or multiple physical and mental difficulties, Annie Mawson’s organisation has won great praise and acclaim for it’s community music practice. I wholeheartedly suggest you check these guys out and donate if you can.

All the papers, texts and books I referenced in my mini-series were worth a greater look and I would encourage you to look through my references list at the end of each article, and read as many of the titles as possible. However, of all of these, may I humbly suggest Daniel Levitin’s astounding book on music and neuroscience ‘This Is Your Brain On Music’ and Oliver Sack’s ground-breaking tome ‘Musicophilia’.

As for the practise itself, get out there! Get volunteering! Use your hard-learned musical skills in the community to enrich the lives of those around you, especially those less fortunate, children, the elderly, disabled, ill and the isolated. Music is very much the world’s universal language – let’s use it to the best possible effect.

Seeing Without Knowing (2) / Sacred Spaces

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on here – writing a dissertation will do that unfortunately. The upside is, I will post abridged versions of each chapter from my dissertation (examining the value of music in wellbeing on a mental, pysical and educational level) on here for you to digest and enjoy over the summer.

However, I wished to update you on my Sound Art piece, originally entitled “Seeing Without Knowing”.

For the time being, this project, under its initial outline, has been temporarily shelved. A large amount of its components, namely the absence of the performer, has been retained in the new project. Emerging from the ‘Seeing Without Knowing’ idea came a more specific soundscapes idea.

Using recordings of simply the ECHOES of a room, as per the original brief, the Sacred Spaces project aims to feature recordings / soundscapes from spiritual spaces and buildings throughout the world, across all cultures and religions. The first of these was recorded in Durham Cathedral on a windy and rain-filled night, April 2015. The sounds were reorganised and edited later that month using ProTools software.

You can hear the initial demo for this project here:

http://www.vimeo.com/128493094

Many thanks to Durham Cathedral for allowing us into your Sacred Space for an hour that evening. Also, many thanks to Sunderland University for the loan of microphones and recording equipment. I hope you enjoy what you hear. Please do feel free to let me know what you think!

Tim

New Direction – the joys of being a mature student

All very last minute, but I am now officially a mature student.

I’ve been meaning to return to higher education and ‘top-up’ my foundation degree in Music, and now seemed like the right time. This time next year, I should – hopefully – have a BA in Music.
At present, I am unsure as to weather I will continue on into either a teaching qualification or head down the Masters/academic route. I will of course keep you all updated.

Despite considering this for some time, it was only following a chat with a friend that I originally contacted Sunderland University with a view to applying for next year – I mean, it’s already September, I assumed it was too late for this year! However, they mentioned available places and suggested I speak to the Head of Course. Following a ten minute phone conversation about the modules of the course and my relevant education and working experience I was offered a place.
To ensure the university had everything they needed (presumably for audit/OFSTED reasons) I had to complete the basic application form and take along a copy of my last HE certificate – and that was about it. Now all I need is for the Student Loans Company to get their finger out and send the fees/living expenses over!

So here’s some tips if you’re considering going into (or indeed returning to) higher education –

* Speak to the Universities you are interested in DIRECTLY. Find out as much as you can about the staff, facilities, teaching & assessment methods and of course the course itself. If it seems like a good fit for you, keep the information handy.

* Leave UCAS out of it – they operate best when catering for A-Level students waiting on results for their conditional offers. As a mature student, you only need ONE reference (an employer character reference).

* Wait until Universities are in their ‘clearing’ phase. This is immediately after A-Level results day and they will be very keen to fill up any places they haven’t yet found students for and therefore very attentive and helpful.

* Have everything ready to apply for any student finance. Find out what you are eligible to receive and what you need to provide in order for your application to be processed smoothly & quickly, without referring back to you for extra evidence (usually this is proof you have been self-funded for rent, mortgage, food, bills, car, etc, etc for the last three years). The Student Loans Company are notoriously awkward so make it as easy as possible for them and you!

* Finally, have fun and enjoy broadening your horizons! Don’t be put off by the perceived age difference – on my first day I realised everyone else was a 20 year old going straight onto the course from their HNDs, and hough I’m only 30, I had concerns it would be difficult to get along with a gaggle of younger pups. However I was surprised to see a motivated and mature group of individuals so I’m still very glad I signed up! I did, however, get mistaken for a lecturer as well – pros and cons I suppose!

My blog will continue with updates on my (mature) student life as well as information on my written and live-based project work. Either way, it will find a way into the projects I am currently working on in my own time.

Peace out for now xx