The Music Workshop Company Blog 

Each month the Music Workshop Company publishes two blogs. One blog, written by the MWC team addresses a key issue in Music Education or gives information about a particular genre or period of music. The other blog is written by a guest writer, highlighting good practice or key events in Music Education. We hope you enjoy reading the blogs. 
 
To contribute as a guest writer please email Maria@music-workshop.co.uk 
Experimenting with Rhythms Using the Spoons – with Percussionist Jo May 
 
Jo May loves to play percussion. And she loves to teach it too. As a professional percussionist, she has learned to perform on a huge range of orchestral instruments. Here she teaches some creative techniques for music-making using a humble pair of spoons. 
 
Jo recorded a series of 5 mini videos for Music Workshop Company all about playing the spoons. If you missed the first two, check out her introduction to the spoons, and the first “proper” lesson. Now it’s time to learn how to play using some more complicated rhythms and techniques. 
 
Let’s get creative! 
 
Image by Monika Grabkow, Unsplash 
It’s been a difficult year all round for arts organisations with many having to close their doors, everyone grappling with moving online and a growing need for funding and support.  
 
Amongst that, we’re pleased to bring a success story to this week’s blog as we return to Trestle Theatre Company, who featured in 2017, to celebrate their 40th Birthday. 
 
Whether you are staying at home or going away over the summer, here are some ideas for musical activities to help develop your listening skills. These activities can be done alone or with family or friends and are suitable for all ages and abilities. 
 
Listening is a key skill in music but is also important in a wider context - listening to a friend who wants to talk, listening to instructions from a teacher, listening to the sounds around us. Sometimes we just listen with no response, sometimes a response is automatic or is needed. 
 
Listening is also used in Mindfulness, a popular therapeutic practice derived from elements of Buddhism. Mindfulness can be used to reduce depression, stress and anxiety. Listening activities can help to relax you and bring about a sense of calm. 
 
 
Image: Jackson Simmer, Unsplash 
In an extremely troubling move that will further sideline arts education in England, the Government has confirmed that it will be cutting the teaching grant (T-grant) for Higher Education arts by a devastating 50% this coming academic year.  
 
This is despite the results of the Government’s own consultation in which 95% respondents strongly disagreed with the cut, strong opposition across the creative industries and education, and a petition from the Public Campaign for the Arts which has generated more than 166,000 signatures. 
The last 15 months have been difficult for musicians, with many losing their usual income streams, unable to perform, unable to engage with others through live music, whether as performer or teacher. 
 
As the live music scene, both in the professional and amateur realms, gradually re-opens, we reflect on our love of live music. 
 
Image: Eric Nopanen, Unsplash 
This is the second and final part of our blog which celebrates Canadian artists in recognition of Canada Day.  
 
We celebrate the work of popular artists Celine Dion, k-os and Grimes, as well as up and coming new artists. 
 
 
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