by Author JimShepley

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99 Problems and Zoom is 1

So, it's been just over six months since we had to stop our in person activities and last night we got back face-to-face for the first time and we will hopefully be running three nights a week, with online sessions still being offered as an alternative.

When we first went online, we were adamant about getting all our activities online and we learnt while we went. We ensured that we were confident with the fundamental health and safety aspects, but we very much jumped in at the deep end...and we are so glad we did. Maintaining contact with our members was of huge importance to us. We are an inclusive theatre company and work with disabled and non-disabled young people and those that face significant challenges. It was an absolute priority to maintain some form of connection.

Within our activities sits Training Band and Shed Band, a Tuesday night activity which welcomes the younger age group of 7-11 and the 11+ to be members of a band. An incredibly popular activity with the playing levels varying significantly.

We set up our room in three major sections of Drums/Percussion, Keys and Guitar. It is a very hands-on activity and whilst learning the instruments the young people will not only write their own music but will also cover existing songs. A very tangible activity and the most practical one we offer. Many of our participants thrive with accessing sensory work and band delivers fully with this.

With moving activities online (via Zoom) we were very aware of band presenting some challenges.

1) Sound delay

2) Playing as a band impossible

3) Lack of instruments at home

To name a few...

Transferring online was a challenge, but what it did offer us was the opportunity to try something completely new with our young people. An opportunity to develop a new awareness. Out of the Goggled eyed, boxed in confines of Zoom, we adapted and re-shaped and made a comeback, not seen since the Take That reunion with Robbie.

Logic Pro came to the rescue!!!

An obvious safe haven for many of you musos and indeed our practitioners, but not so much for our young protagonists who still believe in "Keeping it Real and Live."

However, with the lack of a live option, we introduced them to the art of production and how anyone, with some knowhow, can write, create and produce their own track.

It was a lovely revelation for us and even though still a challenge, because a beginners guide to LogicPro still has its issues online, it was at least an outlet of sorts.

As mentioned above, we are mixing our sessions with in person and online for as long as we are still able and due to the current restrictions, we have had to temporarily re-shape our offer to a more general creative arts one, with no specific sessions really in place.

To this end, the bands are having to have a bit of a rest in their dressing rooms. Of course they have their riders firmly in place, with the M & M's, Grape Juice and Swans in full flow. Very much like Take That, they will bide their time and without doubt they will once again "Relight Their Fire."

In the meantime, they felt it was only fair to share their vision with you, so sit back, relax, grab an M & M and please enjoy their Lockdown offerings