Image Quality – it’s not your connection

Dear all,
Right at the bottom of this post you’ll find 3 access links for our virtual sessions next week. Same rules as last week. Let us know if you’re watching from far away so we can give you a shout out. If there’s a birthday we need to cover please let us know about that as well. If you contact us before 9am on the day in question, we’ll do our best to get everything done. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for all the positive feedback from last Thursday’s debut virtual Music Makers. Having viewed things back, I was very concerned about the image quality during the first half. Luckily I have a friend who is one of the heads of programming for Red Hat (Europe) – the guys who run the Linux operating systems that are used by businesses globally. The problems we had aren’t to do with what we’re producing at this end, and they’re not to do with the internet connection at your end. I’ll try and explain this clearly but briefly: Everyone globally is on the internet. Rather than drop people’s connections, every server – in our case Google/YouTube, are cutting band width to try and keep everything running. Hence good audio but bad picture in the first half. When things improved in the second half we just randomly got allocated more band width. This is a set of variables beyond our control. (It’s not the case at all that more people necessarily mean worse picture – you might get allocated more band width if more people are watching). The long and short of it is that in the present circumstances there’s nothing we can do about it, and everyone is in the same boat. We keep going and doing our best.
Payment details are listed below, but please note two things: 1) Please don’t pay until you’ve completed the session you joined. 2) Paypal payments: please DO NOT tick the box “paying for goods or a service”. This is in effect an insurance when you’re buying something to be delivered. In our case you’ve just watched/received the goods you’re paying for so you don’t need to insure against their “non-delivery”. When you tick that box I lose a 5th of the £3 you’ve paid me. Thanks in advance.
Payment: As many of you are aware, as a freelance musician, I lost most of my income a couple of weeks ago. I’ve worked my socks off to get my teaching online, and now to launch Virtual Music Makers. We’ve run successfully on the principle of trusting people for over seven years now, and I intend to do the same with these virtual sessions.

Please wait until we’ve successfully completed the session before paying. I would ask for a minimum contribution of £3 for these sessions. Preferably via PayPal to the following account:

Paypal.me/OwenLittle

Alternatively please pay via Bacs into my account:

Mr O J Little
Sort Code 56 00 23
Account no. 46974156
(Natwest)

Please do note the following – this is important to me: If you are self-employed and suffering similarly catastrophic loss of income as most freelance musicians, please don’t feel obliged to pay for these sessions.

If you are on a block booking for regular sessions and you want to use them for the virtual sessions, please contact me and let me know each time you attend and I’ll keep a record of things.

Monday 6th April at 10am

Wednesday 8th April at 10am

Friday 10th April at 10am

Owen’s Little Music Makers Online Debut

Here’s the link to the first ever virtual Music Makers session, live streaming at 10am tomorrow, Thursday 2nd April 2020.

https://youtu.be/WVU9SIT0wbU

Things to note. The online world is a minefield from a safe-guarding point of view. YouTube streaming is the most safeguarding-compliant option I’ve been able to identify. Unfortunately, as we have to state that our live stream is aimed at a child audience, we cannot have a live chat feature running. So, if there’s any birthdays or other shout outs we need to get done tomorrow, please let me know no later than 9am tomorrow. We’ll do what we can. Similarly, if you’re going to join us from anywhere other than Manchester, please drop us a line to let us know where you are.

Feedback please. We’ve worked very hard to try and get the best product we can together. (If you haven’t got several squillion pounds to throw at the problem, turning your average living room into a broadcast studio isn’t that easy!) We need to know that what we’re doing is ok.

Payment: As many of you are aware, as a freelance musician, I ceased to be employed a couple of weeks ago. I’ve worked my socks off to get my teaching online, and now to launch Virtual Music Makers. We’ve run successfully on the principle of trusting people for over seven years now, and I intend to do the same with these virtual sessions.

Please wait until we’ve successfully completed the session before paying. I would ask for a minimum contribution of £3 for these sessions. Preferably via PayPal to the following account:

Paypal.me/OwenLittle

Alternatively please pay via BACS into my account:

Mr O J Little
Sort Code 56 00 23
Account no. 46974156
(Natwest)

Please do note the following – this is important to me: If you are self-employed and suffering a similarly catastrophic loss of income as most freelance musicians, please don’t feel obliged to pay for these sessions.

If you are on a block booking for regular sessions and you want to use them for the virtual sessions, please contact me and let me know each time you attend and I’ll keep a record of things.

I think that’s everything for now. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Cheers
Owen

Owen Little Music goes fully online … soon!

As I’m sure you’re all finding, it’s taking a while to get the head space clear for anything other than just figuring out the weird new landscape we’ve all been thrown into.
Virtual sessions for Owen’s Little Music Makers: we’re not quite there yet – I spent this afternoon taking part in a webinar for free-lance musicians. I’m pretty certain we’re going ahead with virtual Music Makers sessions via Zoom. I’ve got to trial the tech, double check safeguarding issues, and figure out a few other things. All being well I’m hopeful we might be up and running at some point next week. I’ll write further when I’ve finalised everything.
Individual tuition (violin, viola, piano): this is slightly less complicated. After some more testing I’m confident I should be able to offer lessons via Zoom.
Take care, keep safe and well, and I hope to see you all online before too long.
Yours
Owen

Signing off for holibobs

Dear all,
A big thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Summer Mondays series and helped to make it a success. This is the good, slightly weird email/post that I get to write once a year. No session dates. No cunning plan on my part to try and tempt you all along. This is the one where I get to run away for a bit!
The Summer Mondays sessions are finished for another year – apologies in advance to anyone who rocks up next week. We’re now taking a break until the week of Monday 9th September 2019. This will be the last thing I’ll send out for at least a couple of weeks.
I hope you’ve all had a good summer so far, and that you enjoy the rest of it.
That’s it for now, would the last one out please turn off the lights? See you all on the other side in a few week’s time.
Cheers
Owen

Am I about to “lose my shirt”?

Dear all,
Please don’t worry, despite the heat I don’t mean that in any kind of literal sense!
First things first, we finished our offering for the 2018/19 academic year last week, so there are no more Wednesday and Thursday sessions until September. But fear not, Summer Mondays are here. Please find the relevant details below. The title for this post refers to the fact that putting on the Summer Monday series incurs a whole different level of costs to our normal sessions, so your support – and sharing of this post/series of sessions/bringing your friends along – would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.

Summer Mondays:
The dates for Summer Mondays are as follows:
when: 9.30 to 10.30 & 10.45 to 11.45 Monday 22nd & 29th July, Monday 5th & 12th August.
where: Main Theatre, The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre, Manchester Road, Chorlton. M21 9JG (In the grounds of the Methodist Church)

buggy park: most normally Studio 2 – where our sessions are normally held – the buggy parking will be clearly signed anyway.

age range: for children from 0 to 5 years (older siblings at your discretion)

The most frequently asked question relates to the last bit. You’re very welcome to bring older siblings along. As long as they’re happy to join in with things we should be absolutely fine. The only thing I’d add would be to say that Summer Mondays are much more expensive to put on than normal sessions, so please be prepared to pay as normal – £5 for first child, £2.50 for each sibling – for all kids you bring.

I hope to see people who are around at some point over the next few weeks.
Cheers
Owen

Beer Festival and Summer Mondays

Dear all,

First things first, sorry, we’re not all off to a Beer Festival, although if you come along on Thursday you might get quite heady on gorgeous aromas! So, NB Thursday people, it’s the Beer Festival next weekend so we’ll be using the main Church on Thursday – enter the site via the pedestrian gate by the crossroads. If you drive in, park in St John’s car park across the road or on the street. I’ll get everything clearly sign-posted on the day.
The Music Makers sessions for next week will be as follows:
Monday 8th July 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Wednesday 10th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Thursday 11th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in the Main Church at St Clement’s

Summer Mondays are back!

There are two weeks of normal term time sessions left to go. After this we’ll be running our now famous/infamous Summer Monday Sessions. (If you’re new around here, people complained that everything just “stopped” when we get to the summer holidays. Summer Mondays are our response to this, held on four consecutive Mondays at the start of the holidays).
The details for this year are as follows:

    • times: 9.30 to 10.30 then 10.45 to 11.45
    • dates: Mondays 22nd & 29th July, 5th & 12th August
    • where: Main Theatre, The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre, Manchester Road, Chorlton. M21 9JG (In the grounds of the Methodist Church)

Age range: for children from 0 to 5 years (older siblings at your discretion)

I hope that all makes some sense and that you can get along at some point this week.
Cheers
Owen

February half term 2019 (and lost property!)

Dear all,
Having fought our way through many challenging sets of weather conditions, it appears we’ve made it to spring half term relatively unscathed. A big thank you for the continued support of all our regulars, and a very warm welcome to all newcomers.
We’re now taking a week off and will be back in action as of Monday 25th February 2019, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all again then.
I don’t know what’s going on but it seems like lots of stuff is getting left behind at the moment. One set of penguin slippers – I know who owns these. Another potty from Thursday second session – possibly the same people as before? (If so, it must surely be the case that toilet training is almost complete, otherwise there’s no way the potty would be left forgotten around the place!). And finally, a rather nice small blue knitted hoody – no idea who this belongs to.
Have a great half term everybody – see you in a week.
Cheers
Owen

Music Makers – what a week!

Dear all,
Firstly, a big thank you to those who made it out last Wednesday and Thursday. In the snow on Wednesday it took me an hour and ten minutes to get over to Chorlton from Stretford, including a particularly frustrating 15 minute stop-start – mostly stop! – crawl from opposite St Clement’s to turn right into Manchester Road and park. The amount of ice around on Thursday was in some ways more challenging for people with buggies trying to get to the sessions. Famous last words but hopefully that’s the end of those problems for this winter. (I hope fate’s not watching me write that!!).
The Music Makers sessions for next week will be as follows:
Monday 4th February 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Wednesday 6th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Thursday 7th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in the Lower Hall of the main church, at St Clement’s.
I hope to see you all along at some point next week.
Cheers
Owen

Two weeks to go!

Dear all,
Just thought it was worth mentioning that we only have two weeks of sessions left to go before we break for Christmas. (Past experience has shown that it’s a complete write-off to go anywhere near that last week before Xmas).
So
Barring popular two year old demand in January (it usually takes a few weeks before young people stop requesting their favourite Christmas ditties), there’s six sessions left to get yourselves down and fill your boots with all things Reindeer, Jingly, Frosty and Yo Ho Ho.
The Music Makers sessions for next week will be as follows:
Monday 3rd December 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Wednesday 5th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
Thursday 6th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in the Lower Hall in St Clement’s Church. Please note we are moving from the Youth Centre into the Church itself now!
I look forward to seeing you all over the next couple of weeks.
Cheers
Owen

Welcome to the new year (and some changes)

Dear All,
First things first, I hope everyone had a decent summer. We’re starting our term time offering again tomorrow.
The Music Makers sessions for this week will be as follows:

  • Monday 10th September 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
  • Wednesday 12th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in Studio 2 at The Edge
  • Thursday 13th 9.30 to 10.30, and 10.45 to 11.45, both in the Youth Centre at St Clement’s

(For anyone who was new over the summer the term time sessions are smaller, one carpet instead of two, The Edge sessions are down stairs in studio 2, St Clement’s sessions are in the white building behind St C’s adjacent to the car park).

Changes to Pricing Structures:

As those of you who have been around for ages will know, I’m very keen to offer good value. Our prices haven’t shifted for over two years now. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and use the start of a new academic year to change both our prices and payment options. (It is my hope – although the whole Brexit situation makes things very hard to predict – that following on from this, our prices can remain static for a further sustained period).
The new pay on the door prices for this year will be:

  • £5 for the first child
  • £2.50 for additional siblings

We always offer a pay on the door option at all our sessions.
As of now we’re ditching the Termly subscriptions option, and switching to a discounted Block Booking System which will work as follows.
Each Block Booking is valid for six months. You pay in advance for ten sessions at a price of £42 for one child, £63 for two, £84 for three etc. This price offers a 16% discount compared with the on the door price.
When you do a block booking you can use your ten sessions at any Music Makers session, you’re not tied to a particular day or time. Also the ten sessions can be at any point in a six month period, (this usually means that you’ve got about 20 weeks of sessions to aim at, with 6 six individual sessions available in most weeks).

I hope that all makes some sense, I’ll have Block booking forms available as of Monday. I’m very much looking forward to seeing you all again.

Cheers
Owen