Frequently Asked Questions
Is there parking available?
Please see our page on parking.
Do I need to bring my instrument with me?
Unless you are a pianist you need to bring your instrument with you. This includes drum kits and amplifiers for any instrument that needs amplifying. Singers are advised to bring their own mic and mic lead if possible, but this is not essential. PA systems will be provided for singing classes, workshops, jam sessions and evening concerts. If you are travelling from overseas we may be able to arrange the hire of an amplifier via an external company, but please make sure you arrange this with us beforehand. Do not turn up and expect an amp to be provided as we may not be able to do this.
Do I need to bring a music stand?
No, the host venue is a fully equipped music conservatoire and has plenty of music stands available.
What else should I bring?
You will be provided with all the necessary sheet music by your tutor for your small band/combo sessions and performances. However, all instrumentalists will find it useful to bring "real" books as well as some manuscript paper, a pencil and an eraser for jam sessions and impromptu get-togethers. Singers will also find it extremely useful to bring along band parts for songs they sing which are not in "real" book keys. Ideally this should be a lead sheet, but could just be a chord chart, which is written out in all 3 or the required transpositions. That is... Concert Pitch and both Bb and Eb transpositions of which ever key you wish to perform the song in. Please see the "Singers" page for some free samples.
Which "Real" book should I bring?
Purely in the interest of everyone having the same real books with them, and therefore making jamming together easier, and for no other reason, we recommend that, if you are bringing a real book with you, you should bring one or both of the following real books in your appropriate key...
The New Real Book vol 1
The Real Book vol 1
It is not compulsory to bring a Real Book. You could bring some lead sheets of tunes that you want to play in all 3 keys (Concert, Bb, Eb) and hand the parts out at the jam sessions.
Can we leave our instruments on site overnight?
Yes. We will arrange a locked room to keep instruments in overnight to avoid the necessity of carrying it to and from the accommodation. However, instruments are left at your own risk. It is highly recommended that participants arrange insurance for their musical instruments and personal property in case of loss or damage. It is regretted that neither the organisers or the venue can accept responsibility for any loss or damage to personal property.
Is the course open to under 18s?
Yes, we are pleased to offer places to under 18s. However, any under 16s will have to be accompanied by a guardian. Please see our page entitled "Under 18s Policy".
Does the course include individual instrumental lessons?
No. Our course is based on ensemble music-making and as such we try to provide activities which aren't so easily available to people all year round.
I'm only a beginner. Will I be able to come?
The ethos of the course, established over many years, is one of learning in a supportive environment. We have students of all ages and abilities and try to cater for their needs by grouping like-minded people together so that the more experienced players can be stretched and the less experienced players can be nurtured and encouraged in a comfortable setting. Having said that, in order to get the most from the experience, you should be able to play a chromatic scale over the written range of your instrument and know your major and minor scales. But the most important requirement is enthusiasm and the will to give it a go!
I've never improvised before. Will this be a problem?
Not at all. We aim to provide and suggest lots of techniques for getting started. You don't need to feel intimidated. We are here to help.
Can we pick our small band tutor?
The tutors are assigned by us to bands in which we try to group participants of a similar level. We spend a lot of time trying to accommodate everybody and do our best to make it work for all concerned. If you are very keen to have some contact with a particular tutor the afternoon option sessions are the perfect opportunity for this.
Why can't I pay by credit card?
Unfortunately, we do not have the facility to accept visa credit or debit payments. However, we do have 3 methods of payment which you can use. Please see the "Prices & Payments" page for full details.
Can we bring the dog with us?
Regrettably, dogs are not allowed unless of course, they are a registered guide dog.
Can we camp in the park?
Camping in Bute Park is not permitted.
Are towels provided?
Towels are not provided at the halls of residence.