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About Nick W
Most recently Nick has been accepted onto the Royal Northern College of Music’s Performance PhD program where he is studying advanced aspects of the electric bass. Prior to this Nick graduated with an MA in popular music performance also from the RNCM and a BA(Hons) in Jazz Studies from Leeds College of Music. Nick’s musical experience in performance has been varied and substantial. He has worked professionally since graduating in 2008 in original touring bands in festivals across Europe, theatre productions, studio sessions, cruise ships and hotels across the world. He has also recently released his first album of original material blending jazz with folk and Latin music.
Nick has maintained teaching throughout his professional performance career whenever possible. His experience learning in music education institutions means he has developed his own unique approach to teaching the elements of music which is contrary to common teaching methods. You can expect to explore the creativity of playing music in a fun, non-judgemental and open manner. Learning by drilling unmusical scales and exercises is not his style. Nick’s passion for music comes through in his lessons. His positive, friendly, organic and flexible approach ensures you will leave with a feeling of accomplishment. Whether you have worked on technique, improvisation, composition, theory, tone, phrasing, articulation, melody or rhythm; you will have made Music!
Teaching in Electric Bass / Double Bass - beginners to advanced.
Nick teaches from the belief that music is a language and can be taught in a similar way to how we learn languages as children. By curious exploration, context and attempting to express something we don’t yet have the language for. Once a problem or area to study has been found, an approach to solving or learning the material is created through musical context. Once you have this, you will explore the questions and problems together. Nick tends to make his students play and make music for a large majority of the lesson. The music can often speak for itself and answer many of the questions students have. The music we listen to informs our learning in a strong way. You will be given a lot of new music to listen too, and you will most likely be given specific tasks to practice and/or complete in your own time before the next lesson. Regular practice in-between lessons is exceptionally important to get the most out of your lessons with Nick. Practice habits and techniques are covered within lessons.
Music Theory (any Instrument)
Understanding the mechanics of how music is put together and functions can be a very useful tool to understanding your instrument and how to express your ideas through it. However, such a dense topic can easily be overwhelming, making negotiating what is relevant or useful to you difficult to find. Nick’s in-depth knowledge of theory can help you to understand this vast subject at a practical and/or comprehensive manner.
Theory can be studied for specific examinations, instrument specific or just for the fun of the theory!
Composition / Arranging & Improvisation (any instrument)
This approach can also be studied at varying levels of complexity depending on your ambitions and requirements. Improvisation can be an intimidating word in music. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. You improvise all the time when you speak, the principles are the same. You can learn how to construct and grow your own personal musical vocabulary and how to use it in actual playing situations with other musicians. Learn common tricks and tips for songwriting and constructing music in various styles. Arranging is the skill of organising your music so it conveys what it is meant to. This can include instrumentation and notation as well as more abstract terms such as texture and feeling; also more advanced and specific techniques such as chord voicings, horn & string writing or contrapuntal concepts. Arranging answers the typical question of: How do I organise the music to express this feeling?
The goal of each of these subjects is to give you the tools to say what you want to say through your music.
Nick specialises in jazz and Latin music but also teaches in other popular music styles including funk, pop, blues, rock and folk.
In your first lesson with Nick you can expect to play and jam, a lot! Also discussing your musical interests and ambitions. You can expect to discuss your learning desires and together develop a plan for your future lessons. You can also expect to be given a lot of new information and material to work on, and be left with a strong sense of enthusiasm and inspiration!
If you are a beginner coming for a first lesson please make sure you bring your instrument! And any music books/material you have been working on, if any. Feel free to bring along any CDs, mp3s of music you like or would like to learn. Most importantly, bring a sense of what you would like to accomplish, and any questions about your current musical situation - such as: sticking points, postural tension, music theory, creativity problems, practice techniques, recommended listenings, etc If you wish to bring a note book or manuscript paper to make your own notes that is fine. You may be given notes/diagrams to take away with you however, it is usually more effective to create your own notes and is encouraged.