What to Look for in a Music Workshop Leader and other FAQs

Booking a music workshop can be tricky if you aren’t a music expert. Many of us have a vague feeling left over from our own schooldays that music “isn’t our thing,” or we can be confused by the range of options. We want to book a workshop that will deliver an educational, skill-building, fun experience; one which justifies its chunk of the budget and more; but it’s not always easy to feel confident what to expect.

Here at the Music Workshop Company (MWC), all our workshops are led by professional musicians who are experienced workshop leaders, and have the relevant DBS (formerly CRB) checks.Samba

We thought it would be helpful to share our ideas about what to look for in a workshop leader, based on the qualities we seek ourselves. We also wanted to answer a few simple questions about what to expect when booking a workshop with us.

MWC’s Maria explains, “The most important things I look for in a workshop leader are passion and the ability to communicate that to the participants. Most of our projects are just one day, so the workshop leader needs to go in and get all the participants excited about the music and encourage everyone to join in at whatever level they can.”

A really good workshop leader need to be a good musician, able to demonstrate the skills, knowledge and experience to undertake the tasks expected from the workshop participants. A good workshop leader is also a facilitator; someone who can take the talents and energy of any group and help them to build something special, whether through a composition project, a drumming circle or a ceilidh dance workshop. The workshop leader needs excellent communication skills and an ability to inspire. He or she will provide a strong creative input but also nurture and draw out creativity in others. This involves good listening skills and an ability to perceive and work with the strengths, weaknesses and needs of every participant, no matter how big the group. Ultimately, the role of the workshop leader is to encourage everyone participating in the workshop to reach his or her highest potential.

As well as offering experienced workshop leaders to guide you through your project, MWC workshops have several other helpful features. We give flexible choices of topic or subject matter, and we do our best to organise our planning sessions and timetabling around your calendar. We always offer the participants at our workshops the opportunity to perform at the end of the project, and you can photograph and record the workshops in both audio and video formats so you have a record of the experience.

Soham080105 drum kit_1We are often asked about the best way to timetable the day. In primary schools one of the challenges of timetabling is that we are usually based in school hall, which is also used for lunch, so we work around that. We can also organise the day’s schedule to fit around breaks and assemblies.  We run sessions of different lengths depending on what’s suitable for the participants, so shorter sessions for younger people and longer sessions for adults.

Another question we regularly get asked when we are planning a workshop for children or young people, is whether all the participants will be able to join in; whether they will each have an instrument to play. Yes; all of our workshops are fully interactive and every participant is encouraged to have an active role.

So now you know a little more about what to expect from MWC, here are a couple of simple things which we would ask you on booking a workshop to make things a little easier.

Please make sure the school office knows that the workshop leader is coming. It is tough to get off to a good start if your workshop leader is standing in reception looking lost when you want to be getting ready to start the workshop.

It’s also really great if you’ve booked a workshop where we are bringing instruments, if you can arrange for someone to help unload the instruments and get them to the workshop space.

And our workshop leaders are fantastic, experienced musicians, but they really appreciate knowing where they can find the loo and where they can relax and get a cup of tea in the break.

We hope this post has helped answer some of your questions about what to expect from one of our workshops. If you have any further questions or would like to book a workshop, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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