UCan Play’s installation for Putney High School

UCan Play have worked with PreSonus for the last four years, helping them develop educational applications for their full range of live sound and studio technologies. In 2015 we worked with Michael Popper Associations and ITC Concepts to build a new performing arts centre at Putney High School, an independent girls’ school. Working with Andy Noble, our consultant, and director of partner company Piranha AV, we designed and installed a live sound and projection system boasting a state of the art PreSonus PA system including StudioLive digital mixers, Sennheiser wireless microphone systems, live streaming technology provided by Roland, screens...

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UCan Play and Musical Futures forge a new partnership to support music education

UCan Play is the retail partner for the innovative music education organisation Musical Futures. Our partnership will help support the work of Musical Futures and ensure that teachers receive high quality and impartial advice about the musical equipment they use within their programmes. UCan Play and Musical Futures have many things in common. Firstly, both organisations were formed around the same time (2005) and are both not for profit companies limited by guarantee, with charitable aims at their core. This means that we have no shareholders and no dividend payments are made to directors. UCan Play’s profits are fed back into the company to...

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OKGO and the Korg Volca Sample

OK Go album Hungry Ghosts was enjoyed by many of us towards the end of 2014. Korg released a version of their amazing Volca to help you explore their music further. This limited-edition of the Volca Sample is emblazoned with OK Go art and loaded with clips the band used to make the aforementioned release. There are over 100 different sounds total that are all available for use. This version of the Volca Sample features the same multi-touch keyboard, 16-step sequencer and can run on six AA batteries for mobile music making. It’s part of the larger Volca line that includes the Volca...

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Rebuilding that Queen sound with the Korg Kronos

For those of you with musical tastes that extend back before One Direction were even imagined (or conceived!), Queen were rocking stadia around the world. On the recent tribute tour, Spike Edney, their keyboard player, used the Korg Kronos throughout the whole gig. In this video interview, he demonstrates the various functionality of the Kronos including the vocoder, splits, German and Japanese piano samples and other features that allow him to recreate that classic Queen sound: All of Korg’s amazing products are available from ourselves here at UCan Play. Further details available...

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The Korg Kronos at the heart of One Direction’s live sound

Here’s an interesting interview with Jon Shone, the Musical Director of One Direction. His work on their world tour is built around two Korg Kronos synths. In this interview he explores how they have allowed him to build sounds that work within the stadia that he performs within each night. All of Korg’s amazing products are available from ourselves here at UCan Play. Further details...

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The beauty behind Roland’s Kiyola KF-10 Digital Piano

Out of all Roland’s products released at NAMM 2016 (here’s a quick overview in case you missed it!), their Kiyola KF-10 digital piano really shone out for us. It really is a thing of beauty: It’s physical and design aesthetic is matched by the technology that it contains within and, like all Roland pianos, its sonic identity is peerless too. The piano is the product of a collaboration between Roland and the artisan craftsmanship of Japanese furniture specialists Karimoku. Each piano is handcrafted in Japan using all-natural, ethically sourced solid wood. The result is slim, stylish, and individual, revealing unique grain patterns through...

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Spandau Ballet’s Drummer John Keeble on hybrid kits

In this exclusive video interview, filmed behind the scenes on the band’s current tour, Roland interview original drummer John Keeble talks about how he’s using Roland’s gear as part of the live shows. John has been Spandau Ballet’s heartbeat since 1981’s Journeys To Glory album, and in modern times, he’s using a hybrid acoustic/digital kit to give his adventurous drum parts added flair and flexibility. Here, John explains how his old-school shells are augmented by Roland’s RT-30 Acoustic Drum Triggers, with his snare and kick hits triggering “beefed-up” sounds from a Roland TM-2 Trigger Module. “It just gives you fantastic versatility,” he...

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10 top tips to improve your musical production skills

We’ve long been fans of Roland’s How To guides. The latest one explores ten simple ways that you can improve your skills of musical production without breaking the bank. 1: Use improvised materials to control the acoustics of your home recording studio. If your vocal or instrument recordings round roomy and boxy, the problem almost certainly lies with the room, not with the recording equipment. While full-scale acoustic treatment is expensive, you can make a vast improvement by hanging up blankets, sleeping bags or duvets around the area you’re using to record or mix in to dry up the...

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UCan Play is working all over the UK with instrumental teachers – from Northumberland to the Isles of Scilly!

Those of you who are regular visitors to this site will remember that last year UCan Play worked with NYMAZ, North Yorkshire Music Service and the University of Hull to explore and implement a technical solution to hep instrumental music teachers teach their instruments online. This was trialled through our work with primary schools in geographically isolated parts of North Yorkshire. During the summer, the partnership applied for further funding from the Arts Council to explore this approach more widely in other parts of the UK. This work began in October and is beginning to reach its peak. We are...

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Roland’s new product range for 2016

Roland’s new product range for 2016 contains some beautiful, and perhaps even iconic, new products. For our principle customer base, educators and students, there are some really exciting new items and one that is, at least to our knowledge, unique! Starting with the pianos, we love the look of the new FP-30, featured here in this performance by singer songwriter Tom Crouch: The piano has a loads of functions that will be perfectly suited to educational settings, including bluetooth wireless connectivity to apps such as Garageband, and is priced at the same point as Roland’s F20 which has sold brilliant...

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Roland’s new V-1HD HD video switcher

Roland have announced the release of their new V-1HD HD video switcher. This compact and powerful piece of technology allows you to connect and switch video cameras, smart phones, computers, tablets, Blu-ray players and other HDMI video sources with a simple push of a button or slide of the T-Fader. It supports professional compositing effects such as picture-in-picture and keying allowing for graphic insets, titling or even “green screen”, ideal for news broadcast or corporate training productions. Within educational settings, we anticipate that the V-1HD will be highly popular for schools and colleges that are wanting to improve their...

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An amazing offer on the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo Studio!

PreSonus have announced an amazing offer on their AudioBox products in the run up to Christmas this year. All products have seen their prices slashed for the next few weeks only! Here at UCan Play, we have been particularly impressed with the offer for the AudioBox iTwo Studio. This all in one recording solutions provides everything that you need to get started and make high quality digital audio recordings with your computer. It is an ideal kit for schools who are looking for solutions for PC labs, for the budding podcaster, or anyone else for that matter wanting an...

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Our Day at the Music Learning Revolution

In this post, Jonathan Savage, MD of UCan Play, reflects on his day at Musical Futures’ Music Learning Revolution.  Musical Futures know how to put on an event! Our day at The Brewery yesterday, just next to the Barbican in London, was fantastic for so many reasons: a great location, free coffee, lovely food, excellent organisation, stimulating content. We really enjoyed exhibiting our products and services. Numerous productive conversations were had and demonstrations were done both in seminars and on the stand. Our huge thanks to Geraldine, Joseph, Josh and our friends at Bose for their support throughout the...

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Sandbach Then & Now

Sandbach Then & Now is a new community project being run by UCan Play, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund with additional funding from UCan Play. During 2016, school children, and then the general public, will be able to explore the heritage of Sandbach associated with the First World War through a geocache trail and linked virtual resources. The trail and resources will allow users to appreciate more fully the contribution that Sandbach, its people, places and buildings, made to the First World War. Following their experience of the trail, workshops will be held in...

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Josh Savage explores Roland’s RC-505

Over the summer, we invited Josh Savage, a jazz drummer and percussionist studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, to explore Roland’s first desktop looper – the RC-505. You can watch the results of his explorations here, with four new pieces that show the potential of the RC-505 for classroom activities including the use of keyboards, found sounds and vocal techniques. These materials formed the content of presentation given by Josh Savage and Jonathan Savage, MD of UCan Play, at Musical Futures’ Music Learning Revolution at The Brewery in London on the 23rd October...

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Life on Shuffle

UCan Play is keen supporter of the Love Music Trust; MD, Jonathan Savage, volunteers as the Chair of Trustees. This film shows some great work going on in Crewe through a collaboration the fabulous Love Music Trust, Brighter Sound and Cheshire East. Life on Shuffle saw staff working with young people to help them produce a range of original music. Funding for the project came from Youth Music. Congratulations to all involved on what was a tremendous project....

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Dissolve JazzLab

UCan Play is proud to be supported Jazz UK’s Dissolve JazzLab’s new programme of improvisation workshops in Coventry and Bournemouth. This exciting new programme aims to reach out to young people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, particularly those who are disadvantaged, and bring enjoyment and well-being through the disciplines and freedoms jazz improvisation can provide. Working with Coventry Performing Arts Service and SoundStorm in Bournemouth, Jazz UK staff will explore improvisation using a wide range of instruments and musical traditions, including folk, Asian and western ‘jazz’, in large and small ensemble formats. The leaders for the project are drawn from...

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New models of business development in education and the arts

Our work with NYMAZ is featured in a video on new models of business development published by NESTA UK today: The final report of NYMAZ’s Connect:Resound project was published last week. UCan Play provided the technical solution, support and consultancy for the project with research being undertaken by academics from the University of Hull. Further information about the new business models that this, and other innovation projects that NESTA have invested in, can be found here. This week, we have been fielding many phone calls and enquiries from other music education organisations wanting to explore similar options for a blended approach...

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Talking Music Education #2

Talking Music Education (#talkingmusiced) is a new series of videos from UCan Play. In Talking Music Education, Jonathan Savage, Managing Director of UCan Play, interviews leading figures in music education, discussing a range of topics of current interest. Each interviewee is also asked about the music they enjoy and to recommend a piece of literature that has helped them develop their own understanding about music education. This month’s episode is an interview with Mike Challis, a sound artist, maker and educator. Mike and Jonathan, MD of UCan Play, both taught together at Debenham High School in Suffolk during the 1990s. In this interview,...

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Connect:Resound Final Report published

We are delighted that the full report on the Connect:Resound project has been published today. You can read it here: The report makes a strong case for using internet technology to deliver aspects of music education in schools. Following a trial in primary schools across North Yorkshire, the Connect: Resound pilot project has identified a high-quality, online method of delivering instrumental tuition to children living in rurally isolated areas, whilst also enabling significant cost savings for the local Music Education Hubs: “It’s an incredible step forward for music education. Music teachers in rural areas could spend far less time...

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