Blow & Blast !

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Blow & Blast Workshops

Blow and Blast 'easy' workshops aim to provide the 'entry-level' experience of playing in a group context that is seldom available to adults.  Our programme also includes 'improver' and 'intermediate' ensembles, helping mature learners to develop the skills that will allow them to participate in community bands and orchestras with confidence.

Enjoy the social side of working with others, attempt new challenges and develop the skills that are specific to the ensemble situation.  Places are limited, to ensure that everyone can receive help if they require it.  Each workshop is an individual session, so there is no need to commit to regular attendance.

If in doubt about which workshop would be best for you, contact us with some information about your instrument, standard and any previous ensemble experience.  We will do our best to advise appropriately.

Our workshops for early 2020 include:

Easy Events

If you have a very limited range of notes, lack confidence reading music, haven't played in a group before and/or can't guarantee that your instrument will produce a reliable sound (or any sound at all!), then one of our easy-level workshops will be just the thing for you!

Our music consists of a mixture of light classical, traditional and original pieces, specifically designed to strengthen sight-reading skills and build confidence.  Learn some of the techniques and terminology used in ensemble, band and orchestral contexts while having fun making music with others.

Find out more about easy workshops

Improver/Intermediate Events

Blow & Blast offers a range of workshops for adult learners and 'returners' who are looking to extend or refresh their skills in a friendly, not-too-demanding environment.  A rough guide to standards is as follows:

IMPROVER - Ideal for those who are comfortably underway on their instrument, sight-reading basic note and rhythm patterns confidently and perhaps playing at around Grade 2 - 4 level.  This is an opportunity to acquire or extend ensemble skills in a friendly, supportive environment.

The improver group may also be suitable for players who are fairly new to their woodwind instrument but already read music fluently.

INTERMEDIATE - Added to our programme by popular request - for those who are too good for the improvers' group but not yet expert!  You should be reasonably familiar with the working range of the instrument and comfortable about sight-reading in a variety of not-too-intimidating key and time signatures.

Repertoire consists of a mixture of classical, traditional and original pieces, designed to:

  • strengthen sight-reading skills and build confidence

  • increase awareness of intonation, phrasing and balance

  • increase awareness of the role of your part within the ensemble

  • produce a satisfying musical result

Find out more about Improver/Intermediate workshops

Easy-level Workshops - more info

Never played in a group before?  You'll find that you are able to make music with other people in no time at all, guided by award-winning tutors who specialise in working with adults.  Group sizes are small, ensuring you'll receive individual attention and be given plenty of support.  Each workshop functions as a free-standing event, so there is no need to commit to regular attendance unless you choose!

Our easy-level workshops are as follows:

  • Easy Woodwind (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon only)
  • Happy Honkers (saxophones, brass, clarinets)
  • Easy All at C Mini-Orchestra (flute, oboe, bassoon, bowed strings)

These all take place at Birnam Arts Centre, Station Road, Birnam, PH8 0DS

You will need your own instrument (string players should be capable of tuning this themselves) and should be able to play at least a few notes!

To ensure that we have appropriate music available, it is important that you book in advance, letting us know your instrument and some details of your approximate standard and previous ensemble experience (if any).

Please visit our dates/venues page for dates, times, prices, etc.

Improver/Intermediate Workshops - more info

For any of the events listed below, you will need your own instrument (string players shold be capable of tuning this themselves).

Parts are specially arranged to suit the confidence and ability level of participants, so it is important that you book in advance, letting us know your instrument (key, clef, etc) and a little about your approximate standard and previous musical experience.

IMPROVER/INTERMEDIATE WOODWIND - Flute, Oboe, Clarinet or Bassoon only

A mixed-ability workshop available in Callander (approximately once a month on a Saturday morning) or Birnam (approximately once every six weeks or so on a Sunday morning).

Dates/Venues/Times

SAXOPHONES/BRASS - Saxophones, Brass (band) instruments

A mixed-ability workshop for improver/intermediate players on saxophone or brass instruments.  Ideal for those who are comfortably underway, perhaps playing at around Grade 2 - 4 level or above, who are looking to acquire or extend ensemble skills in a friendly, supportive environment.

Saxophone/Brass workshops take place in Callander (roughtly once every two months on a Saturday morning) and Crieff (most months, on a Wednesday evening).

Dates/Venues/Times

BLOW AND BLAST BAND - Woodwind, Saxophones, Brass

A fun play-along for wind/brass band instruments, catering for a mixture of standards.  To enjoy band, we would recommend a standard of Grade 2 or above.  However, relative beginners who already read music fluently, so can manage an easy part without support, can also participate.

The Blow & Blast band was originally conceived as a sort of 'mini-band', to extend the playing experience of participants from our woodwind ensemble workshops.  It is also ideal for those seeking an occasional fun play-along to help keep them in practice.

Please note - this is definitely not a standard/conventional concert band!!

Dates/Venues/Times

ALL AT C MINI-ORCHESTRA - C woodwind, bowed strings

A mini-orchestra equivalent of the Blow & Blast band, for players of instruments pitched in C - flute, oboe, bassoon and bowed strings.  Recorder players may also be accepted - please contact us to enquire. 

Parts are specially arranged to suit the confidence and ability level of participants, so it is important that you book in advance, letting us know your instrument and a little about your approximate standard and previous musical experience.  To enjoy All at C, we would recommend a playing standard of at least Grade 2, with some previous ensemble experience.

The All at C Mini-Orchestra takes place in Birnam on occasional Saturday mornings or Thursday afternoons; also in Crieff on occasional Friday afternoons.

Dates/Venues/Times

INTERMEDIATE WOODWIND - flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon only

The standard of this group varies between venues.  The Perth and weekend Birnam Intermediate Woodwind sessions tend to demand a playing ability of around Grade 5+, confident sight-reading and a quite a lot of previous ensemble experience.  Birnam mid-week Intermediate workshops and the Improvers/Intermediate group in Callander tend to be a little less demanding!

Blow & Blast Intermediate Woodwind workshops take place at Perth Concert Hall (approximately once a month on Saturday afternoons), Birnam Arts Centre (approximately once a month on Sunday afternoons and occasional Thursday mornings).

Dates/Venues/Times

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