As part of our Music Charity Interview series, we caught up with Paul from Music for All to find out more about the charity and their up-coming ‘Learn to Play Day’.
Paul: Music for All was created in 1996 and we’re a UK wide charity – we are musicians, we all work in the music industry during the day and we all work for the charity on a voluntary basis. We wanted to put something back into the community. We know there are more people who want to make music than do – for a variety of reasons – they are too busy, or think they’re too old, or not musical, or can’t afford it. So, it was basically set up to help people who couldn’t afford to buy an instrument or take lessons. Any money we raise goes straight back to music in the community
Paul: All around the world, there is research on the effect that music has on society. Children who take music tend to do better at school. Music socialises people, it brings them together, it is one of the ultimate relaxants, it gets the brain operating on all sorts of levels that other activities don’t. There’s a lot of research from all around the world on the power of music.
It helps people become better human beings in our view.
Paul: This is its eighth year – it started as a way to address the situation that people want to play but can’t.
We started at one shop in Market Harborough – then went to a theatre nearby – we filled it full of teachers and invited people to come and play an instrument. We were staggered by the diversity of people who came to try – by age, race, religion. People were loving trying, because they’d never had the chance before.
It just worked, and it grew into this national Learn to Play event – we got a lot of music shops involved – community music projects, schools, and recording studios. It’s become a weekend where we say just come and try an instrument.
Paul: There’s just about 100 and they cover most of the UK. We will give 10000 free music lessons over the weekend. It’s just a great day. Lots of people end up taking up music after as well, which is good.
Paul: The general public are extraordinarily generous – and they make donations to our Charity, Music for All. Often, they are people with an interest in music, the music industry is generous, as is the public lending instruments and our US equivalent the NAMM Foundation has given us a donation for the last seven years. There is no Government money.
Paul: Some events become flagship events and in Cambridge, Millers Music have an event with over 300 people signed up to attend a harmonica event. Yamaha in Soho have a big event, Absolute Music in Poole have a big event – they had 2500 people turn up one year, PMT have 15 shops involved. So, there’s lots of activity around the country.
Paul: I have an eclectic taste in music, so I listen to a breadth of genres. What tops my list totally depends on the mood I’m in. It could be anything. Progressive rock, perfect pop, indie, celtic, orchestral, opera. So, it’s more likely I’m making my own playlist.
Paul: I’m not the words biggest grime / hip-hop fan but … I like just about everything!
Records or CDs? MP3s
Downloads or Streaming? I Buy CDs from charity shops, put the music on my computer and give them back to the charity shops.
Albums or Singles? I was a 70’s teenager and it was a thrill to get the latest gatefold album, so I’ll always listen to an album in its entirety.
Host or Listener? Host
Headphones or Speakers? Headphones for my lunchtime walk, docking station at home, CD on loud in the car.
Singer, Guitarist, or Drummer? I’m a bass guitarist and backing vocalist.
To participate in the Learn to Play day, find more information here.
If you’d like to get involved with supporting the charity, go to Music for all here.
Are you a music lover who loves curating your own playlists? Share them with friends and followers on BlueJay and listen together! Download the app and join our community of music lovers: