It's that time of year again! After 2013's Songs For Syria project and last year's Winter Wonderland album, we've been firing up Cubase and hitting social media to promote this year's TUNEICEF 2015 charity album.
So, if you're not familiar with the idea, let me give you the gist of it:
The basic idea is that each student writes a song, we record it here at the studio with bass and keyboard parts added by my bass and keyboard students, with drums and vocals added by guest artists where necessary. Along the way, students learn how to use all the theory and technique they've accumulated in a practical context – layering up guitar parts, composing solos, learning about arrangements, harmony and so forth – and then end up with an actual tangible accomplishment they can point to. It's also a good indicator of progress – listening to students tracks from the last two years and comparing them to this year's, it's great to hear how much they've improved.
Last year we expanded the idea to include local (and not so local) guest artists giving us a huge range of styles – probably the only album in history to feature a track with guest vocals from former Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane frontman Blaze Bayley alongside a track sung by a seven year old girl! Lots of great music, lots of talent on display – lots of work gone into it but lots of fun got out of it.
The album launched online courtesy of Bandcamp, with a night of live music with performances from students, guest artists and finished up with Dave The Rock Band's set of crowd pleasers, raising well over £100 for UNICEF – not a bad evening!
Special thanks must go to (among others):
My Dave The Rock Band comrade-in-arms, Matt Chubb for many, many great vocals, along with a huge amount of promotion and organisation work.
Elisabeth Barker-Carley from Dreaming In Colour Productions for organising the launch party
Tony Wadsworth and BBC Radio Leicester for having us on his show and helping plug the project, Steve Ward for some excellent drums, DaveThe Rock Band, Charlotte Bond for some great lyrics and vocal performances, The Bench That Rocked, Jonezy, Matt Humphries and each and every one of my students for creating something really special!
So what have we learned for this year?
Shorter name! “Winter Wonderland Charity Album” is all well and good, but on Twitter you're limited to 140 characters – that's half of them gone in the name!
Timeframe – this year, we've left plenty of time, tracks are already coming together with guest vocal and drum performances. I'm encouraging students where possible to experiment with other interests – there are several tracks where the same student has written the song, tracked up the guitars, the bass, and the keyboard parts.
Social media – This year we have a website, a Facebook page, a Twitteraccount and a hashtag #TUNEICEF... hopefully, between all these outlets and what elements of the conventional media we can harness (as well as the clout of UNICEF themselves) we can really generate some interest.
So, here's the deal – we don't need to crowdfund or get a Kickstarter or anything like that. We don't have overheads. 100% of the proceeds go to UNICEF – a charity that knows what it's doing, and sadly there are no shortage of crises around the world where this money can make a difference.
We don't need donations
We need you.
We need you to share the Facebook page, retweet the Tweets, tell people about this cool little project you've stumbled across online, and then when launch day comes (December 18th) bnrowse your way to our Bandcamp page and shell out £5 for what will be an album crammed with great tunes and unlike anything else you're likely to come across. One thing I've learned is how much raw musical talent these kids possess, and quite apart from the fundraising angle, I want to give them a chance to be heard.
Aren't you just a bit curious to hear this? #TUNEICEF