Skills Lab: Creative Communities, Day 2 – Online workshop skills

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Skills Lab: Creative Communities is a series of 6 workshops delivering industry-led training for musicians who want to develop their creative music leadership skills. We launched the programme in December 2020, and last week (10th Feb 2021) marked the second day of the series (Online workshop skills).

The workshop, which took place online, was led by Abimaro Gunnell (singer-songwriter), Gawain Hewitt (artist and composer) and Paul Cree (poet, rapper and storyteller). In the morning, Abimaro and Gawain led a workshop using BandLab – a free platform for musicians to create music and collaborate with others. In the afternoon, Paul led a session focusing on lyric-writing techniques and tools. The day ended with an open discussion about the role of technology in creative music making.

We were so impressed with participants’ creativity, openness, and willingness to push themselves out of their comfort zone. It was lovely to see just how much the attendees gained from the day, and how their confidence grew. We were incredibly touched by the feedback we received:

“Just thank you! This has opened me up to new possibilities and dreams I’ve had in my heart but never had the courage to pursue.”

“Amazing people leading the sessions, all flowed really well and <had> a lovely energy.”

“Beautifully led sessions. Obviously experienced at online teaching, all was very smooth. Leaders worked well together.”


Some of our participants wrote blog posts, sharing their impressions of the day:

Danielle’s experiences:

The day began with Abimaro asking us how we felt about collaboratively making music online. Responses ranged from nervous to overwhelmed to curious. I was one of the people who felt curious. I have written music with someone while on a video call, but this Spitalfields workshop really opened my eyes to what is possible online! 

Gawain gave us a very practical walkthrough of BandLab – online music software that allows users to remotely collaborate on a project. I had no idea it existed and felt like I had just discovered gold! Gawain had us dive straight in and collaborate on a project in small groups. I really enjoyed exploring this software while also improving my skills and confidence when it came to collaborating with other musicians. I could definitely see myself using BandLab if I were to host online music making sessions. Gawain’s tutorial gave me a great example of how easy it would be to teach others how to use the software.  

In the afternoon, Paul led us through a writing workshop where we used various writing prompts to create short pieces that could be added to our BandLab project. I am interested in hosting songwriting sessions someday, but was always unsure of how to do so, because songwriting is something I typically do solo with a not-so-straightforward process! Paul’s writing prompts were simple yet effective in sparking developed ideas, so I will definitely be keeping them in my toolbox of workshop ideas.  

I started the day curious about what the online space had to offer when it came to music making, and was very pleased with what I discovered. The day was practical, fun and empowering.

Chloe’s impressions:

This was a really eye-opening day which made me feel much more positive about online collaboration. I’ve found it very difficult over the past year to find successful ways to engage and play with other musicians, but our crash course in BandLab made it all seem a lot more possible! I’d never even heard of it before but it’s such a great resource to now know about. In a time where technology is more present than ever, it feels really important to develop skills in this area and I’m now feeling inspired to try my hand at music technology which I didn’t think was my thing.

Lots of different ideas from Paul too to help come up with lyrics in a manageable way- this was difficult at first but with lots of different themes to try out I was able to find something that worked for me.

I found the discussion at the end really useful too and it gave me much more of an idea of how to use the things we learnt in different settings with different age groups. Really looking forward to exploring everything we did today further – a big thank you to Abimaro, Gawain and Paul for a really inspiring day! 


To find out more about Skills Lab: Creative Communities, read our blog post here.

To find out more about upcoming workshops, and book your place see ‘Related Events and Media’ linked below.

We are hugely grateful for the support of Help Musicians UK, the Scops Arts Trust, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and The Cultural Recovery Fund to help cover the costs of these courses, thereby ensuring accessible pricing for musicians in these challenging times.