A page for grown-ups

Teachers' Packs

We'll be expanding the number of these songs available as teachers' packs. These will be *.zip files available for download. Each pack contains MP3s of performances and backing tracks, music sheets for singers, recorders, violins (or any melody instruments), piano, guitar chords, various percussion instruments. There will also be a sheet of follow up ideas and, where possible, an illustrated guide for actions.

Free Offer

As an introductory offer to teachers, we're offering the first of these packs completely free for a short period. Click on the 'Free Download' link below to register with us. We'll send you a link to download the pack, and keep you informed as new packs become available. Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! ~ Free Download (Teacher's pack)


Q. At what age should my child start to play an instrument?

A. If your child has been exposed to music from birth, she’ll tell you when they want to play an instrument and which one fires her imagination. Mozart began playing the piano at three years of age. I have a friend who started to play the violin in his late teens and an uncle who took up the bagpipes in his forties. There are no hard and fast rules. Enthusiasm is key!

Q. Is a ukulele a good instrument for a child to learn?

A. The ukulele is an ideal instrument for a young child. It’s small, cheap and is a good stepping stone to other stringed instruments. There are four strings which are soft to press down and are tuned like a guitar (but with the bottom two strings missing).

Q. My little boy would like a banjo for his 5th birthday. He doesn't need a real one, do you have any advice where I could find a children’s banjo, ideally on-line? We live in Glasgow.

A. You would be better to get your son a proper instrument. Toy instruments are never really playable and might frustrate your son and risk putting him off playing for the future. A ukulele would be a much better buy - a real one can start from as little as £15 and would be a really good introduction to stringed instruments for him - small, with very soft strings for little fingers, and very cheap to buy. Our quartet all started playing as children on ukuleles and have gone on to play other stringed instruments including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bass, in fact Richard Collins is now one of the country's top banjo players. Bear in mind too that there a lot of people playing the ukulele these days for fun so you may well be able to find someone locally willing to show him how to tune it and how to play a simple tune. Check with his school - some schools now teach the ukulele.

Q. My daughter’s struggling to tune her guitar. I’m tone deaf so unfortunately I can’t help her.

A. Buying some pitch pipes would be the traditional way, but you need to be able to hear whether a note is sharp (too high) or flat (too low). These days, a digital tuner is ideal and not too expensive. It is sensitive to the vibrations in the instrument and allows you to see whether it's in tune or not. Visit any good music shop or for a good on-line retailer try The Music Room. (01274 852020).

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