Dave is very accustomed to providing a range of workshops that are designed to meet the requirements of the client (school, funding body etc). Click the links below for further information about the wide range of workshops offered.
Since 1992 when Dave Nelson became the Musical Director of Cragg Vale Gamelan, a percussion orchestra based in West Yorkshire, he has delivered hundreds of workshops which have made considerable use of Javanese Gamelan instruments. These are tuned percussion such as metallophones and gongs, which are extremely easy to play, even for complete beginners. They sound amazing and very different to conventional Western instruments, yet are tuned to a major scale allowing other instruments to be used in conjunction with them.
Dave has used them with participants of all ages ranging from nursery children to senior citizens, and in a wide array of locations from schools and community centres to concert halls and folk festivals. Participants have also included music degree students, special needs groups, rock musicians and absolute musical beginners of all ages, as well as the complete spectrum of young people in schools and colleges.
The Gamelan instruments facilitate the main purposes of Dave's workshops: to create music in an ensemble setting quickly and effectively, and from there to develop musicianship (listening, observing, teamwork etc moving towards improvisation and/or composition skills) in each participant. Not surprisingly, long-term Gamelan projects have proved extremely useful for students working towards music GCSE and A Level exams.
Notable Gamelan-based projects:
Many of Dave's other workshops and projects draw on aspects of his Gamelan work, but use completely different instruments. In fact he is happy to work with what ever instruments are available (in a school for example), or that participants can bring along. This can sometimes lead to some fairly novel and exciting combinations!
His eclectic approach has also worked well in more conventional line-ups such as with the Elastic Band: a 3-year project devised and run by Dave at Sowerby Bridge High School (funded by YYM), for up to 25 teenage guitarists, drummers, keyboard players and singers (see picture right ). Dave has provided similar projects (with differing line-ups) for Musical Futures and for RACA (Raising Attainment in the Creative Arts) at high schools in Leeds.
Dave also sings, and plays guitar, bass and percussion in addition to keyboards. He is usually able to bring such instruments (also African drums and Latin hand percussion) to workshops to complement whatever is already there. There is no pre-ordained musical style as that tends to evolve during the creative process.
Participants playing in workshop ensembles can quickly develop the ability to listen to more than their own part, to respond creatively to what is going on around them and to observe and react to visual cues and instructions. Whilst participants may have differing musical skills, all are encouraged to take the opportunity to find their creative talents through composition and improvisation within the group.
Above all the aim is always to make each session stimulating, rewarding and most of all, lots of fun!
These are usually workshops for smaller groups, although if participants are able to break out into smaller groups to work together, the total group (which would come together for warm-ups, discussions, sharing of ideas and possibly for a performance) can be quite large.
Dave is happy to work with groups of any age and ability, in a whole range of musical genres and using any combinations of instruments (and voices).
Workshops will cover (as necessary) lyric writing, understanding melody, harmony and rhythm, song arrangements and orchestration. If the purpose of a writing/composition workshop is that it should lead to a performance or recording of the outcome, then rehearsal and performance (or recording) skills can be included.
How long do workshops last?
What age group and ability do you work with?
How many people can you work with?
How much does it cost?
Other workshops: £200 per day (£125 per half day) plus travel costs
Workshops in conjunction with other facilitators/art forms: dance/drama/film etc — prices on request.
How far are you prepared to travel?
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What is a typical workshop day like?