Celebrate 40 years with Boss at Cause & Effects, free concerts and workshops at House of Vans

Boss are celebrating their 40th anniversary in style with a ten-day exhibition held at House of Vans in London. Running from 9th -17th September, the Cause & Effects exhibition is a unique celebration that will offer discerning guitarists a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience forty years of guitar innovations. If you happen to be near London at any point during that period this would be well worth a visit. House of Vans is one of central London’s most creative and eclectic venues, having hosted performances from Metallica, Foo Fighters, Bring Me The Horizon, Public Enemy and many more. Visitors will encounter...

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Celebrating 40 years of Boss guitar pedals!

Every so often something comes along that makes you stop and think for a moment. For those of us that love music, and the technologies that underpin popular music in particular, the contribution that Boss has made is hugely significant. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, earlier this year Boss released their legendary DS1 as the DS1A, and now they have released a three pedal set of the OD-1, the SP-1 and the PH-1 in a limited edition of 1500 pieces worldwide. The set includes the three Boss compact pedal models. Each set is made in Japan and comes in...

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Steinway masterclasses for 2017-18

We are delighted to help promote the new series of Steinway masterclasses as part of our new partnership with Steinway & Sons. Sponsored by Steinway & Sons, a second series of free piano Masterclasses hosted by a ‘Steinway Artist’ include: A free masterclass with a ‘Steinway Artist’ for your student(s); Five additional spaces available per school for students and staff to attend the masterclass; ‘Steinway Hall of Fame’ a guided tour hosted by a Steinway & Sons technician; A guided tour of Steinway & Sons showrooms, restoration and service departments; The chance to play Steinway Concert Grands hired by BBC...

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UCan Play – An Associate in Supply to Education for Steinway & Sons

      UCan Play – An Associate in Supply to Education for Steinway & Sons. UCan Play is delighted to be appointed as an associate of Steinway & Sons, helping the education and performance community across the UK secure any piano from the full range of pianos available at Steinway & Sons. In addition to helping you secure pianos from the Steinway, Boston and Essex ranges, UCan Play can also advise schools on the All Steinway School programme. This programme demonstrates a commitment by Steinway to support schools to provide students with the very best equipment possible for...

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Congratulations to Tokio Myers for his piano and SPD-SX performance that won Britain’s Got Talent

Congratulation’s to Tokio Myers on his amazing performance that won the Britain’s Got Talent final. His beautiful piano playing was accompanied by his stunning use of a pair or Roland’s SPD-SX percussion pads, from which he triggered pre-prepared samples and other drum sounds. He demonstrated on one of the world’s biggest stages how acoustic and digital technologies can be blended together in a coherent and musical way. Congratulations to him and our best wishes for his future career. If you want an SPD-SX and you are a teacher or student working within an educational institution in the UK, we can...

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Roland’s GO:MIXER will help you capture your students’ work quickly and easily

Roland’s GO:MIXER is a compact and powerful audio mixer for your phone. It makes it easy to perform, mix audio and record video simultaneously. Using the GO:MIXER, you can capture a pristine stereo soundtrack via microphones, musical instruments, or other media players, and mix them all together whilst using your phone’s camera to record the video. Instead of relying on your phone’s noisy mono mic or recording external audio tracks that you have to sync later in a video editor, you can now record high-quality audio in one quick and easy step. We can see a range of exciting opportunities for assessment...

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Music Education Hub funding secure for a further 3 years

In a rare piece of good news for music education, Nick Gibb has confirmed that the arrangements for music education hubs and the services they provide to their local schools and other partners are to be funded in the same way for the next three years. This gives music education hubs a degree of short term security which should be welcomed by all. Nick Gibb’s full letter to Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England (the funding agency for music education hubs) can be viewed...

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Music education in rural areas in jeopardy, but we have worked hard to find answers

In a new report launched today, youth music development charity NYMAZ spells out how digital technology could revolutionise the way schools provide music tuition. But it warns that poor broadband in rural areas is limiting young people’s access to equal life opportunities. “We’re adding our voice to the growing campaign for better broadband in the countryside”, explains Heidi Johnson, director of NYMAZ. “ Children in rural areas are missing out because it can be too expensive and time-consuming to provide them with a well-rounded music education offer. We have worked with schools across England to identify a high-quality, cost-effective...

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Do you want to learn the piano? We’ve got some free advice for you …

Learning the piano is great fun! It is something that you can do at any age. It is never too late! Each week in the UCan Studios, we welcome students from 4 to 74 each week for lessons and provide them with a mix of technique and exercise, classical and popular music. The key focus is on helping them learn to play the music that they enjoy listening too. We are often asked about what type of piano is best to purchase. We are able to give a range of advice and, through our links to company’s such as...

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Many congratulations on twenty years of innovation – the Roland V-Drums

Congratulations to Roland on the twentieth anniversary of their V-Drums. Digital percussion has come a long way in twenty years and Roland continue to lead the field in innovation, design and musical expressiveness. Whether it be the entry level TD1K, or the top of the range TD50KV, there is something of high quality for every young drummer in today’s V-Drum range. This feature on the Roland website charts the developments in this field over the last twenty years,  beginning with the TD10 (the first electronic drum kit to feature mesh head pads) and culminating in the launch of the...

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Funding Music Education in Your School

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, schools are braced for a tough financial time over the next few years. In addition to changes in the law that will mean they will have to contribute more to national insurance and pension costs for their staff, headteachers of larger schools are also having to implement the Government’s new apprenticeship scheme at their own cost too. Additionally, the new ‘fair funding’ consultation has revealed significant cuts to many schools on top of a reduction in school spending from the Department for Education. All of this has resulted in many headteachers asking serious...

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We are off to the Music & Drama Education Expo! Will you be there?

We are off to the Music and Drama Education Expo this week at Olympia! Will you be there? If so, do come and say hello to Jason (on Thursday) or Josh (on Friday) who will be located on the Roland/UCan Play stand in the centre of the exhibition (helpfully near the food and drinks!). We have three main focuses to our work this year. Firstly, we have worked hard with Roland to create four education packages that meet a range of common music education activities: group keyboard/piano work, looping, live streaming and DJing. Full details of each package can be found...

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Roland are ‘Go, Go, Go’ with their new products …

Following their fantastic 909 day, there has been a considerable discussion here at UCan Play around what the new product ranges for 2017 might include. As readers of our blog will remember, Jonathan and Jason had a great day out in Swansea with Roland but no clues were given (despite our questions) about what future directions the company might be pursuing. So, it was great to begin to hear news this week about a brand new range of Roland products entitled ‘Go’. There are three items to begin with, the Go:Piano, Go:Keys and Go:Mixer. Each product looks as though...

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This school is set to loose £151k next year

Times are tough for schools at the moment. The Government’s new formula for school funding has caused serious concerns for many headteachers. Today, I received a letter from one of my children’s schools (a local secondary which became an academy in 2013) outlining how the specific changes to the funding formula will result in a decrease of £151,000 in next year’s budget. Across the whole of Cheshire East, there is an average cut in funding of £87 per pupil under the proposed changes. This would result in Cheshire East becoming the worst funded Local Authority in England. This is bad...

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Musical Futures’ new resources and training programme

UCan Play is proud to be associated with Musical Futures as their approved and authorised retail partner. As we are sure you are aware, Musical Futures is an approach to music teaching and learning that is underpinned by pedagogies developed from informal learning and non-formal teaching approaches to classroom music. Musical Futures are now providing premium resources alongside our comprehensive programme of open and in-house training events.  Please note that these resources are meant as a starting point for curriculum planning; Musical Futures approaches can be lifted and applied to any content as well as adapted to suit the needs of...

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Not a New Year’s resolution, but a continuing resolution …

Happy new year to all our readers and partners! We hope you have had a good Christmas break and that you feel reinvigorated to face the challenges of 2017. Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Here at UCan Play we’d prefer to resolve to continue to provide an array of high quality services to education locally, within Cheshire, nationally and internationally. When we are asked about our work, we focus our response on a number of key themes. These include: Providing impartial and independence advice and support to schools, colleges, universities and other organisations working within the music...

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Ayo Oyerinde on his favourite Roland keyboards (and working with Jessie J & Rebecca Fergusson)

Roland UK have completed two great videos with the legendary keyboard session musician Ayo Oyerinde. In them, he discusses the foundation of his keyboard rig, the Roland RD800, and also gives us a brilliant lesson in how to use the hybrid digital/analogue JD-XA in live and studio environments. He highlights the importance of the sound inspiring the vocalists that he works with – including Jessie J and Rebecca Ferguson. “An artist like Jessie J or Rebecca, who have big voices, they really get inspired when they hear a sound like that coming out of the keyboards. It helps Jessie...

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An opportunity for young, talented musicians in Cheshire East

We are delighted to support the work of the Love Music Trust, the lead partner of the music education hub in Cheshire East. Alongside of our sponsorship of their percussion ensemble, we are also involved supporting a number of their partner ensembles such as the Lions Youth Brass Band. The Love Music Trust does amazing work supporting the development of young musical talent from pre-school all the way through to undergraduate study. As part of this, the Love Music Trust is coordinating a ‘Gifted and Talented’ programme in conjunction with the Royal Northern Collage of Music. This programme is ideally...

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UCan Play, Roland UK and the Musical Futures’ MLR2016

We enjoyed an excellent day at Musical Futures’ Music Learning Revolution event yesterday at the Royal Northern College of Music. We chose to work with longest partner Roland UK and exhibited their new DJ-808, a composite piece of technology that includes 4 virtual decks, a drum machine and vocal processor. Delegates enjoyed trying out their DJ skills under the expert supervision of Josh Savage (UCan Play), Richard Patt (Roland), Dan Taman (Roland) and Mac Tongia (Serato). Helpfully, our stand was set up right opposite the coffee and food, thereby ensuring a steady stream of customers once the event got going. Before … and...

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Are you ready for the Revolution?

UCan Play are proud to be the retail partner for Musical Futures. We provide a range of packages of equipment for Musical Futures at preferential prices for schools. Further details can be found here. We support their work and their programmes in other ways too and, therefore, we are really excited about the Music Learning Revolution event that comes to the Royal Northern College of Music on the 18th October. We’ll be there as an exhibitor and we’ll be showcasing the amazing new DJ-808 from Roland UK on our stand. We are really pleased to have booked the only DJ-808...

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