Yes, that is me pretending I can sing with my hairbrush as my mic. When I got the email about ‘Taking Part in a Virtual Singing Class with Sage Gateshead’ I nearly fell off my chair at the thought of it. Clearly, they’d never heard me sing! If they had, they certainly wouldn’t be contacting me. You see I am no singer but I do love singing. My skill level I like to say is ‘good in a crowd’. No solos for me! Before we go deeper about my singing though let me give you some information about Sage Gateshead.
Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England on the bank of the River Tyne. Many people think it’s in Newcastle and although only a bridge separates it from Newcastle it is actually in Gateshead. The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to the Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.
The global pandemic last year put paid to it’s programme of events and concerts for 2020 like so much across the arts and culture sector nationwide. And, like so many, they had to pivot their business model in order to try and keep going and bring some revenue in. One of the ways they came up with was to move as much as possible online which included singing and music classes.
Moving into 2021 nothing much has changed as the new year was rung in with the North East being in Tier 4 lockdown.
That’s where my opportunity to try out an online singing class came in and to be able to share it with you and maybe encourage you to give it a go like I did. My online singing class took place the week before Christmas. To be honest, I wouldn’t ever have had chance to do anything like this because although I live in the North East, I’m still a bit far away from Gateshead if I was wanting to take part in in person classes. So offering a virtual singing class to me was a perfect way for me to get involved.
The class I chose was ‘Sing the Sound of Music’. When you book you get a link to join the class on the day via Zoom. Yes — Zoom. No one is a stranger to that piece of tech anymore, are they? You don’t need a Zoom account to take part either. You just click on the link they send you and you’re in.
The class is hosted by a musical professional who talks you through the songs you’re going to sing. We even got tips on how to read the music but being able to read music isn’t is a required skill. The words come up on the screen, you’re asked to mute and then when the music starts off you go. You can sing your heart out. Oh my god was I glad I WAS on mute, too. I put my heart and soul into it but what I put in isn’t necessarily what came out, sadly ?
When you know these iconic songs since childhood you THINK you know them but you know nothing really apart from about one or two lines. Those Sound of Music songs are some hard songs to sing let me tell you. Shout out to Julie Andrews here for always making it look and sound easy.
We sang four songs twice through across two hours. Halfway through there was a film quiz. It’s only then I realised that there were some die hard fans attending. Some of the scores were very impressive. We’ll keep quiet about that one. It’s not a competition!
The songs we learned and sang were; Edelweiss, Do Re Mi, The Lonely Goat Herd and The Sound of Music.
I recorded some snippets of myself singing on my phone. When I played them later to Mr B we literally laughed ourselves silly. He thought my yodelling in the Lonely Goat Herd was worthy of making my phone’s ring tone…. NOT!!!!!
I had lots of fun and felt very relaxed even though I did it all on my own. I don’t think I’d have walked into a class in real life on my own. There’s a lot to be said for some things moving online. Especially, as you can now take part from anywhere in the world. I hope things like this continue along with in person events when they can happen safely again.
It’s great value, too. Tickets are only £5.00 or you can book a block of 5 for £22.50.
There’s a full programme of virtual classes right throughout the next couple of months as part of Sage Gateshead’s Make Music Virtual Programme. It would be fab with a group of friends or even I thought a great idea for a corporate event. Let’s face it we’re all going to need more ideas for things to do while we stay at home for the foreseeable future, aren’t we?
As it turns out they didn’t need to hear me sing before they invited me as singing is for everyone to enjoy. I’m proof of that!
If anybody fancies getting involved in a virtual singing class with Sage Gateshead I’m thinking of booking another one … Sing Pop! on January 11th … 80’s power ballads … bring it on!!!! I might have to advise the family to plug their ears that evening ?
Let me know if you book or have tried something online you’ve never had chance to do in person.
Lots of love and stay safe