Dacorum Borough Council

Introduction

Roger Winfield of Dacorum was looking for a project that would be based at the Berkhampstead Youth club, but could also be sufficiently portable to be taken around to other centres. They are looking to appoint a lead practitioner who will take ownership of the project and lead and direct its use. The project was to be initially based around a single band set up, based on the Gigajam Band Model.

Objectives

Roger wished to determine the feasibility of using Gigajam as an activity to engage the youth across the borough.

Implementation

We brought 4 Dacorum students to Gigajam’s Head Office Study Centre, where we had set up 4 laptops, 4 MIDI Instruments and 1 large screen connected to a teaching laptop.

The students were provided with a brief introduction of what the outcomes of studying with Gigajam were. This was done by showing the 12th TV Show from the Gigajam TV Show series where the Gigajam Band played the Level One piece of music. 

Project leader Brian Greene, then demonstrated the use of the Gigajam lesson content software to familiarize the students with the way they would work through the lessons. One of the students then operated and demonstrated the first exercise so that the other students could all see how the lessons were navigated.

The students were then encouraged to then wok through the lessons and start to develop their skills. They did so with great ease and were confident and competent in the process and also in the actual operation. 

At the end of what was an hour long session we got the students to use some of the skills they had acquired so that they could play a simple four bar vamp together. The aggregate of the skills learned meant that they played the following: 

  • Drummer: Quarter notes on the Bass Drum on beats 1 and 3 and Snare Drum on beats  2 and 4.
  • Guitarist: Two bars of A5 and two bars of G5 using whole notes.
  • Bassist: Two bars of A and two bars of G using quarter notes, fretting on the 4th string
  • Keyboardist: Two bars of A major triad and two bars of G major triad using whole notes.

Impacts and Outcomes

Drummer Jack found the interface and progression very useful and he particularly liked the fact that it took up such a small space. 

Guitarist Ollie really liked the detail of the Guitar lessons and found them really helpful as he plays a bit already and found the explanations really supportive and clear. He also liked the MIDI Guitar as he found it easier to form the chord shapes whilst learning. 

Bassist Russell really enjoyed playing the exercises and being able to watch the videos. We observed that he was the most focused in the lessons and deeply immersed. 

Keyboardist Felix found the analysis helpful as he was able to see some of his inaccuracies in his playing and was keen to perfect the performance by practicing. He scored very high on the analyser and was keen to repeat to get better scores and see his improvements. 

Roger observed that it worked well and went very smoothly with the students enjoying themselves and being very involved. He pointed out the two technical glitches, which were simply resolved and was keen to ensure that small technical problems can be troubleshot easily and quickly. Having a lead practitioner who is confident and competent in the use of the lessons, software and technology will cover that. 

Gigajam Education Director, Adrian Carey, observed that the session went well when the students used the headphones and were not disrupted by the noise their instruments were using. 

This was a successful project with the students learning how to use the lesson content and developing tangible skills by the end of thee session.  

  • The students were engaged and focused and were able to apply themselves with very little instruction.
  • The project achieved the objective of enabling the students to play as a band within the time allotted.
  • The small band model worked very well. The midi instruments were robust, compact and were enjoyed by the students.

From a project implementers point of view we need to ensure that the lead practitioner is trained and that headphones are available. 

Future Developments

Dacorum Borough Council are now reviewing the case study and are looking to implement Gigajam in spring 2006.

Participants

  • Dacorum Borough Council
  • Gigajam Study Centre
  • Students from Dacorum

Phase 1 - Viability Study

Roger Winfield of Dacorum was looking for a project that would be based at the Berkhampstead Youth club, but could also be sufficiently portable to be taken around to other centres. They are looking to appoint a lead practitioner who will take ownership of the project and lead and direct its use.

The project was to be initially based around a single band set up, based on the Gigajam Band Model. This would comprise of:

  1. Site licence for 5 workstations.
  2. Midi Instruments for Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Drums.

Roger Winfield of Dacorum was looking for a project that would be based at the Berkhampstead Youth club, but could also be sufficiently portable to be taken around to other centres. They are looking to appoint a lead practitioner who will take ownership of the project and lead and direct its use.

Scope of project

The project was to be initially based around a single band set up, based on the Gigajam Band Model. This would comprise of: 

  1. Site licence for 5 workstations.
  2. Midi Instruments for Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Drums.

Case Study Project

We brought 4 Dacorum students to Gigajam’s Head Office Study Centre. At the study centre we had set up:

  1. 4 laptops
  2. 4 Midi Instruments
  3. 1 large screen connected to a teaching laptop

Session Format

The students were provided with a brief introduction of what the outcomes of studying with Gigajam were. This was done by showing the 10th TV Show from the Gigajam TV Show series where the Gigajam Band played the Level One piece of music.

Project leader Brian Greene, then demonstrated the use of the Gigajam lesson content software to familiarize the students with the way they would work through the lessons.  One of the students then operated and demonstrated the first exercise so that the other students could all see how the lessons were navigated.

Private Study

The students were then encouraged to then wok through the lessons and start to develop their skills. They did so with great ease and were confident and competent in the process and also in the actual operation.

Playing as a band

At the end of what was an hours session we managed to get the students to use some of the skills they had acquired so that they could play a simple four bar vamp together. The aggregate of the skills learned meant that they played the following:

  1. Drummer: Quarter notes on the Bass Drum and Snare Drum on beats 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 respectively.
  2. Guitarist: Wholes notes playing two bars of A5 and two bars of G5.
  3. Bassist: Quarter Notes playing two bars of A and two bars of G, fretting on the 4th string.
  4. Keyboardist: Whole notes playing two bars of A triad and two bars of G triad.

Student Interviews

Drummer Jack found the interface and progression very useful and he particularly liked the fact that it took up such a small space.

Guitarist Ollie really liked the detail of the Guitar lessons and found them really helpful as he plays a bit already and found the explanations really supportive and clear. He also liked the Midi Guitar as he found it easier to form the chord shapes whilst learning.

Bass player Russell really enjoyed playing the exercises and being able to watch the videos. We observed that he was the most focused in the lessons and deeply immersed.

Keyboardist Felix found the analysis helpful as he was able to see some of his inaccuracies in his playing and was keen to perfect the performance by practicing. He scored very high on the analyzer and was keen to repeat to get better scores and see his improvements.

Project Leaders Interviews

Roger Winfield from Dacorum observed that it worked well and went very smoothly with the students enjoying themselves and being very involved. He pointed out the two technical glitches, which were simply resolved and was keen to ensure that small technical problems can be troubleshot easily and quickly. Having a lead practitioner who is confident and competent in the use of the lessons, software and technology will cover that.

Adrian Carey observed that the session went well when the students used the headphones and were not disrupted by the noise their instruments were using.

Project Leaders Summary

This was a successful project with the students learning how to use the lesson content and developing tangible skills by the end of the session.

  1. The students were engaged and focused and were able to apply themselves with very little instruction.
  2. The project achieved the objective of enabling the students to play as a band within the time allotted.
  3. The small band model worked very well. The midi instruments were robust, compact and were enjoyed by the students.

From a project implementers point of view we need to ensure that the lead practitioner is trained and that headphones are available.