Interacting With Other Users

I was absolutely delighted that one user responded to the “Welcome” post saying “It’s really exciting to “hook-up” with other folks who are enabling all kinds of individuals to make music.” This is what I hope so much to facilitate through this blog and what I tried to initiate through the Full Pitcher Forums.

Ours is a large website and it occurs to me that many of you may have missed the links to the forums, which cover areas of interest identified by subscribers to the newsletter which this blog replaces. so, I have created a permanent page on the blog, “Discussions“, which explains the rationale behind the forums with a link to each one.

I hope, of course, that many more people will participate by commenting on posts, here on the blog, and on other people’s comments. When you post a comment here, your email address is not published but your comment is public. If you wish to communicate more widely with other users, you can do this by subscribing to the forums, where members can opt to send and receive private messages from other subscribers, in addition to posting publicly. There is also a ‘live-chat’  facility (limited to 3 subscribers at any one time).

I look forward to some lively discussions!

Family Music-Making With Our Resources

Activities shared by the whole family are the stuff of precious memories. And creative activities, in particular, are a potent way to build a strong family, or group, identity.

Computers have often been blamed for causing fragmentation in family life and encouraging children to spend long periods in isolation. But computers don’t have to be isolating. Today, there are many interactive applications that can simultaneously engage the interest of users with very different levels of knowledge and skill. Our GridPlay Level 1 software is a good example. This is not intended to be used by a solitary child, focused on the computer but as a shared activity in the home, playgroup or classroom, as we explain in “Using GridPlay with Young or Disabled Children

On this site, we make suggestions for using our online music scores as the focus of activities shared by groups of mixed age and ability. One, of many examples, is the arrangement, ‘One Man Went to Mow’, on the Summer Music page. In this, the written parts are for experienced instrumentalists. However, the very simple tune of the song can be substituted for any of these parts. It is an easy song to sing and there are suggestions for involving a very young, or disabled child. There are similar family-fun pages for Spring, Autumn and  Christmas seasons. See: Miscellaneous Scores.

Most of our music is flexibly arranged, with optional parts suitable for beginners and for the basic instruments most likely to be available.Experienced players and beginners can each contribute at their own level. Parents may be surprised at the amount of practice their children will put in on music used in this manner!

Suggestions are often made about ‘how to improvise with this piece’. Sometimes a lot of mystique surrounds the improvisation of music and people often think it requires lots of skills they couldn’t hope to have! In truth, it is a very natural thing to do. We do it all the time in various aspects of our daily lives and music is, really no different. It has been said that all we need to improvise is ‘the courage to move from one note to the next’. What better way is there to develop the confidence and self-trust, necessary to explore,  than learning to improvise in the accepting and sharing environment of the family circle?

Families with disabled members should be aware of our custom arrange & print service. We are very happy to supply custom-arranged prints to meet the needs of would-be musicians with disabilities that prevent the playing of conventional instruments, or who must play them in unconventional ways.

We want our family resources to be accessible for all so, if you need something different, please ask.

Improvisation Resources for the Classroom

Good news for the creative classroom! From the end of September the Get Creative! teachers’ notes, providing lots of activities based on music included in our Easy Ensembles series, are available as free PDF downloads.

The activities are presented in the notes in a way we felt would be most useful for teachers at key stages 2 and 3. However, we have used both the ensembles and the activities across a wide age range. No doubt instrumental teachers and would-be improvisers will see how they might be adapted to their own situations.

The pieces are:
Anon: The Carnival of Venice
Anon: Portsmouth
Handel: Minuet II from Music for the Royal Fireworks
Schubert: A German Dance

You will find them at: