Tuesday, March 15, 2011

British recording studio opens its doors to disabled people who want to make music

From the Swindon Advertiser in the UK:

A professional recording studio is throwing open its doors to people with disabilities who want to learn to play an instrument and record their own CD.

Amber Studios, in Stratton Road, is run by Andy Watts, who today launches his new 10-week course aimed at people with any form of physical disability, those with learning difficulties or mental health issues.

“I can get anyone to play a simple tune on the bass guitar in 10 minutes,” said Andy.

“Music is therapeutic and for me it is the buzz of seeing their faces change when they realise they can do it. They beam up at me.”

Andy and his friends built the studio as a professional enterprise three years ago and now he has adapted it with additions such as a ramp and disabled toilets all ready for the new venture.

The musician plans to offer a 10-week course of three-hour sessions and during that time the budding musicians will learn to play instruments, write and sing their own song and then record it.

The studio has linked up with Swindon 105.5 community radio to give airplay to the CD when it is completed and Andy is planning to get his new musicians to perform live in the Famous Ale House, in Rodbourne.

“I want them to have that special feeling when they get up and play live,” said Andy.

“It is the feelgood factor when they go beyond what they think they can do.”

The instruments the group will be able to learn to play are drums, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards, bongos and percussion instruments.

“For the time being I will have to play lead guitar for them because that does take a little while longer to learn,” said Andy.

If anyone has any unwanted instruments lying unused around the house Andy would be grateful if they donated them to the group so he can adapt them to individuals with varying disabilities.

To help fund the project the musician is also hoping to organise jam sessions once a week at the Famous Ale House, but for this he needs a set of drums, bass amp and electric guitar.

The music course for the disabled costs £15 per session.