What is Dragon Music?

I’m sure you’ve seen and heard the amazing videos and audio created by musicians around the world to create virtual orchestras, bands and choirs. Professional and leisure time music makers who haven’t been able to meet up to make music have been recording their parts at home, then mixing them together to create the piece!

What about all of you who are learning an instrument though? In normal times, you can join an open orchestra/band – a group where there are lots of different parts of music so you can all play together, no matter how long you’ve been learning your instrument for.

Dragon Music is a mash up of those two things! It’s an open access virtual band (aimed at primary pupils, but open to all). No matter what you play, and what level, we’ll find a part for you.

What kind of music will we be playing?

The first piece we’ll play together will be the Dragon March.

If the first Dragon Music piece is successful then we might try some more! Each piece will be a different style of music, so we can learn about different types of music

We’d love to join in, but have no formal instrumental tuition

Not a problem! There will be piano parts for one hand (five fingers, one position) created using colour notes – a colour per note – so you can follow the colours (or note names) to play along. There will also be simple recorder parts (as well as more complex ones). There will also be percussion parts available that anyone can play, whether on a drum kit or pots and pans!

How will you make sure the part is right for me/my child?

To sign up for Dragon Music, you have to fill in a form which specifies what level they/you are currently at – what instrument and roughly what level. I will then ensure there’s a part available for your standard of playing! (there might be several for each instrument, so, for example, pianists can choose from the available parts as to what they’d like to play). If you’re unsure, you can send an email to dragonmusic@jennipinnock.com with more info, attaching some music they can play so we can get an idea of the level.

Do I need to fill in the form to participate?

You don’t have to fill out the form to participate – all parts will be available in a public Dropbox folder. However, there’ll be a limited number of parts available, and we won’t be able to guarantee there’ll be a perfect part if you haven’t let us know your details beforehand.

Practicing your music

All the parts for the Dragon March will be available online via Dropbox. They can be downloaded and printed. You can practice along with a practice mp3 file, also available via Dropbox, to make sure you stay in time.

Each different part will have its own audio file too, so you can either play along with someone else playing your part or the whole band.

Recording your part

To record your part, you will need:
– The backing track, and headphones to listen to it
– Something to record audio/video on, e.g. a phone, tablet or computer with webcam.

Record your part as audio or video, then send it in to dragonmusic@jennipinnock.com .

What happens to all the parts sent in?

The audio from all the recordings will be stitched together to create the final performance! Audio will be mixed rather than video. If you want to send in videos the audio will be taken off to create the final mix.

Why aren’t you running this with a well known piece of music?

There are huge licensing issues with using copyrighted music. There are also huge access issues -some pieces have far too many notes and just can’t be simplified. By using a custom piece of music the parts can be edited and tweaked to suit participants. Backing tracks can be sent out so musicians can even play along with the full band at home if they’d like!

Who is running Dragon Music?

Any more questions? Send them in to dragonmusic@jennipinnock.com and we’ll try our best to answer them (and put them up here if they’re relevant to everyone).

This project is run by Jenni Pinnock, a composer and music tutor living in Papworth Everard.