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MAGIC BALKAN MUSIC ACADEMY

A place to explore, experience and study Balkan (and around) Gypsy and folk music.

Discover EVENTS, read the BLOG, and gain KNOWLEDGE

book WORKSHOPS for your school or institution

 

Current Activities:

  • Wednesdays: BALKAN MELODY MASTERY online COURSE (see below)

  • JAM SESSION ON- and OFF-line (new date to be announced)

  • Tuesdays: BALKAN VILLAGE BAND Community Ensemble (info here)

  • check the EVENTS page for concerts and more

BALKAN MASTERY Mastery Course

Learn great Balkan tunes and how to play them amazingly.

When? Wednesday evenings, 19:00 – 20:30h BST

Where? Online on ZOOM, limited spaces in-person in Kenton, London HA3

This course explores traditional Balkan and Eastern European music from various regions and traditions. It delves into folk dances, Gypsy tunes, in both even and odd meters, encompassing some famous pieces but primarily focusing on lesser-known tunes. The teaching emphasises understanding the music, its technical aspects, as well as the energy and charisma inherent in it.

Phrasing, articulation, and embellishments are studied in detail, with individual technical exercises practised for different techniques and styles, whilst the fun factor of playing music is taken very seriously. The curriculum is taught through a combination of by-ear learning and sheet music, allowing participants to delve into dynamic phrasing, articulation, ornamentation, tone production, and speed/flexibility. Sheet music in PDF format is distributed before the sessions. Recordings of the Zoom sessions are shared afterwards, allowing participants to review the material taught or engage in self-study if a session has been missed. Additional practice videos or MP3 audio for playing along are distributed throughout the course

DETAILS

Wednesday evenings, 19:00 – 20:30h GMT

The course runs weekly throughout the year, expect school holidays. Booking either annually on a 6-weekly direct debit, or by booking 5-lesson units (more info below)

Location: Online on zoom – limited in-person spaces in London HA3

Participants: players of melodic instruments from intermediate to advanced.

Fee: £60/£45 concessions for one Unit of 5 weeks (half a term, the next unit will start on the 24th April 24, although you can join any time - contact me for adjusted payments).

         

Discounts available when signing up until the end of the academic year, check details on the BOOKING PAGE

 

Booking Page: Click here to read details of payment and sign up for the course.

Read below for extra events, extra discounts and all-inclusive fees.

Watch Information Videos and including small demonstrations.

DETAILED INFORMATION

The Balkan region is known for its rich and diverse musical heritage, which has been influenced by various cultures and traditions over the centuries. I am launching this new course to share the finer things about Balkan music. The correct notes can be played by any musician, but how often do I find myself in tears when listening to a great musician who gets it so wrong, simply because they did not have the opportunity to travel, listen, and learn from native masters? Instead, they might have learned it third-hand or from a piece of sheet music. Western classical music notation cannot fully capture the essence of other types of music, and a metronome can stifle the authentic phrasing of asymmetric Balkan rhythms. I am not a native Balkan music master either, but I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to learn from several of them, and engage in endless, wild jam sessions. In this course, I aim to convey not only the right musical feel but also the fervour and passion for this music.

The weekly course primarily targets melodic instruments. Tunes will be taught by ear, initially using the voice (sheet music will be sent out beforehand), and then practiced on the instrument. Special attention will be devoted to phrasing, articulation, and, of course, the typical charisma of Balkan music to give it that truly magical sound. Whilst I am a violinist and will demonstrate and lead with the violin and voice, the course is suitable for any melodic instrument.

The level is aimed at intermediate to advanced players, although ambitious and diligent lower-intermediate players will also do well.

We will briefly cover accompaniment aspects, including chord progressions, rhythm patterns, and techniques. Dedicated workshops for chordal instruments and percussion will be offered as we progress.

The course will run weekly and continuously, with no regular sessions during usual UK school holidays. Booking will be in advance in 5-session units. Each unit can be booked individually, or you can sign up for an annual booking and pay in 6 instalments distributed over the whole year, receiving a 20% discount on the total course fee. For precise dates and a detailed payment plan please visit the BOOKING page.

INFORMATION VIDEOS

about the general aims and philosophy of the course

how to achieve expressive ornamentation

how the accompaniments relate to the tunes

ADDITIONAL EVENTS

Balkan Academy Jam Session: A music making session, both together online and in person, where course participants and their friends can play the studied material with a full-on group, including rhythm section and vocals. New Dates t.b.announced

Chord Progressions and Accompaniment Special: Special workshop are planned for guitars, accordions, pianos, bass players, and similar instruments, both online and in person. They will delves into the details of chord progressions and accompaniment patterns, including riffs and breaks. It will be co-hosted by an experienced guitarist. Please email to register your interest.

Balkan Percussion Special: A workshop designed for percussionists to study the rhythm patterns and techniques related to the course material. This workshop will be co-hosted by an experienced Balkan percussionist. It is tailored to friends and bandmates of the Balkan Melody Mastery course participants, allowing the pieces to be performed together in your own groups and jam sessions. Please email to register your interest.

Additional Events
Information Videos
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