27 April 2017

Rehearsing continues at Spring School in Skopje

 While our bands are working hard on their music, everyone is eagerly awaiting the day of the concert to hear what they are preparing. In the meantime, the staff is making sure that everything goes as planned, and the coaches are doing their best to inspire the bands and help them to inspire each other during the process.

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Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, people on stage and indoor
Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and indoor
Image may contain: 1 person, on stage and playing a musical instrument
Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and indoor

On 26th, everyone took a walk to the restaurant “Marger”, where they had dinner and took some time to relax before going back to work.

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As this week is slowly approaching its end, more exciting news are coming, so keep checking in!

25 April 2017

Beginning with the Spring School in Skopje

Hello, readers!

On 24th of April, our staff and our students hit the road to Skopje again for another week of music and friendship. As always, we were welcomed by the Ambasador Hotel.

Besides Proximity Mine (that first started off last summer), the group includes three new bands: Morana, Minor Chord and Neverland. The staff has organized rehearsal spaces for them, as well as the transport from the hotel to the rehearsals and vice-versa. Our students, even the ones that are new to this project, already feel at home and have started creating new ideas on the first day.

On each rehearsal, there is a band coach to supervise it, including the long-time friend of our Rock School - Ruud Borgers.

As Proximity Mine expands their amazing set-list with new songs, our new bands are giving their best to create something of their own that they will present for the first time at Bravo Café on 29th of April.

 Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and people playing musical instruments
Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and indoor
Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, sitting and indoor

Stay tuned to find out everything about their progress!

15 April 2017

LOOP THAT FOLK - One Man Band Live Composition On Stage (Workshop)

Menic  (Boston USA/Bern Switzerland) is a multi-talented musician who is currently touring the Balkans, and we had an opportunity to meet him at his workshop at the south branch that the students from both branches attended on Friday, 14th of April. Menic plays the violin, guitar, sings, kicks his small kick-drum and performs old irish-american folk songs, sixties rock-blues, rag-time guitar-picking, delta-blues-sliding and writes songs, and he has showed us how to do most of these all at the same time by looping.

The workshop has consisted of two parts: first, the technical part, and then the musical one. Here’s a list of what he showed us during his class:

- His Live-Setup,how he routs the violin, guitar, vocal mic, kick-drum and effects (distortion, tremolo, delay) to the BOSS-Loop Pedal, to get maximum flexibilty while performing.
- How he arranges songs to perform live with looping, while giving the audience a fluent experience of the music; e.g. record the guitar while singing, play the loop back, swap instrument and play a violin solo, then turn back to singing the next verse, all in one song.
- how to practice looping at home

For the most of our students, this was the first time they got to see this technique being performed, and some of them had an opportunity to experience it firsthand at this workshop. The most important thing they’ve learned about looping is the right timing and that it’s not easy achieving it on the first try; it requires patience and practice.

Big thanks to Menic for visiting us and offering our students this new experience that they can surely use in the future!

27 March 2017

What is band coaching? Long-term trainer Ruud Borgers interviewed

As you know, Ruud Borgers has been a big part of our Rock School, be it band coaching, playing live with our teachers and students, or overall advising and sharing his talent and knowledge with all of us throughout the years. Now you have the chance to get to know him even better in the interview below, where he explains how it is to work as a band coach.Image result for ruud borgers
Ruud Borgers by Sander Troelstra (source)

1. Where do you work?
Rockcity Institute, Eindhoven, Netherlands

2. What is your job?
Band coaching teacher

3. What do you enjoy most about your work?
That it is always exciting to see what happens when people start making music together. The interaction, the way they play and sound together, the musical arrangements are what make music interesting to me. What makes the difference between a good band and a not so good band. Actually my field consists of all the things you can’t write down. Everything that goes beyond the facts.

4. What would you like to change about your work?

Nothing really, only… the more talented students are, the more interesting the work, so sometimes I wish some students were more musical.

5. What kind of mentality do you need for your line of work?
Maybe mentality isn’t the right word. I think a better question would be which skills you need to do this. Socially you need to good with people and either be empathic or develop your empathic ability to be able to consider things from someone else’s perspective and understand their musical style. Coaching is a lot easier when people trust you.

Musically you need to be pretty all-round because you need to be able to trigger a whole band to produce a better result. For instance, you should be able to give both a singer and a drummer or guitarist feedback at their own level.

Didactically, you need to be familiar with competency-based education and to keep everyone in the room busy.

6. Why did you choose this work?
I never thought I would be a teacher but when someone asked me it seemed like a good idea. It seemed like a logical thing to do on weekdays since there aren’t too many opportunities for musicians to play on those days.

7. If someone wants to become an entrepreneur, what advice would you have?
Not too much about entrepreneurship because that’s clearly not my strong suite. I never really developed my business side and I don’t want to spend too much of my time on those things, so I work with others who know that side of the work. But maybe one piece of advice: know your limitations! If you are not so good at something, like accounting or promotion, hire someone who is good at that to do that part. We don’t want mediocrity of course!

Training week with Ruud Borgers in photos

Hello, readers!

As it was announced in this post, a training week with Ruud Borgers happened from 20th until 25th of March. Check out the highlights in the photos below!