This is a sponsored article on behalf of City Lit.
A new year is looming and if you feel like you could have done more with the year just passed, perhaps 2015 is your time to try something different.
City Lit is London’s biggest provider of adult part-time courses and offers an incredible variety of choices to anyone wishing to pursue their passions and get clued up on anything from bookbinding to jewellery-making, astronomy to creative writing, the history of London to street dance.
We recently spoke to a selection of random Londoners on the street and asked them what they had always wanted to learn. Answers ranged from fashion to programming supremacy (!), but there were three areas of interest that appeared more than any others: languages, art and music.
Today we'll be focussing on the arty and musical offerings from City Lit (we covered languages earlier this week). For the full range do visit their website, but here are our picks.
One person we met wanted to learn more about her particular passion, sculpture. Luckily there's plenty on this subject, with specific courses in wood, stone and wax carving, metal and styrofoam sculpture, working with found materials, clay and plaster modelling, origami, plus an introduction to sculpture for anyone wanting a more general overview of the art form.
Painting was another popular answer and, unsurprisingly, there is much to choose from. There are introduction courses, skill improvement courses, and the ability to hone specific techniques on specialist courses such as watercolour, painting from photography, handmade Christmas cards and wrapping paper (a new skill for next year!), oil painting, painting from plants and flowers, and how to produce abstract work.
Londoners are a creative bunch. But we’re also thrifty, and learning a craft can not only be creatively satisfying but also rather practical. At City Lit, crafty courses can be found on basketry, bookbinding, calligraphy, ceramics, mosaics and jewellery-making.
Useful not just for those looking to break into the fashion industry, but also anyone with an interest in designing or making their own clothes (or just being able to successfully sew that pesky button back on!), City Lit’s fashion courses cover how to design and create clothing, style guides, accessory construction techniques, pattern cutting, crocheting, stitching, knitting, screen printing, and the all-important: how to use a sewing machine.
Guitar, piano and saxophone all came up when we asked you what you’d always wanted to learn. Perhaps it’s no surprise that learning a musical instrument features so highly — after all, that sketchy rendition on the keyboard of My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion isn’t really impressing anybody. As well as the popular trio above, Londoners can also sign up to master the clarinet, recorder, flute, violin, viola, cello, harmonica, drums, ukulele, steel drums, bass guitar, keyboard and, of course, an instrument all of us already own — our singing voices.
But there’s more to mastering music than just the ability to play an instrument. Songwriting, composing, reading/writing music, analysis, theory, rhythm and musical notation all play a big part in musical spheres and City Lit offer courses in them all to help budding musicians get up to scratch. There’s even a class in how to lead and direct a singing ensemble, for all you would-be choir masters.
City Lit has a dedicated music production and technology studio, equipped with 10 separate workstations so each person gets the access they need. Learn more about compression, experimental techniques, a variety of software masterclasses, audio synthesis and making your own backing tracks. We also like the idea of a London sound walk around how to record oral histories.
If you’ve already got the necessary skills, but not the knowledge on how to get yourself out there on the scene, then a professional development course may help. There are classes on how to promote your music online, how to deal with performance anxiety, how to record yourself playing live, and how to make money in the industry (very important).
So if you’ve always thought about getting stuck into the saxophone, or mastering mosaic-making, then what are you waiting for? Check out City Lit and the 2015 courses they have on offer here.