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Mel Biggs Live at The Folk – Session Survival Skills Workshop

Gloucester Civic Trust
The Folk of Gloucester 99-103 Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG

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A rare chance for folk music players of all levels to learn how to play better together in sessions.
“When new to playing in groups, it can be really daunting even getting the instrument out of the bag let alone starting or joining in with a tune! I’m going to run a ‘deconstructed session’ with a small selection of tunes, which I believe give a fairly good overall representation of the types of tunes we come across in most ‘English’ sessions. It will give us a chance to stop and chat about the gripes we face in sessions and have a safe space to try out some new approaches that you can take away and try out in your local ‘wild’ session.”
This workshop is for anyone interested in English folk music, folk dance or trying out playing in groups for the first time.
Beginner/improver friendly but all experience levels welcome (not suitable for absolute beginners).
Participants do not need to read music notation, and no previous folk music experience is required, but a basic knowledge of music (scales, chords, time signatures) will help. This workshop is for all folk melody instruments and melodeons tuned in D/G with a minimum of 2-rows and 8-basses.
Mel Biggs is a musician, performer and melodeon teacher based in Derbyshire, England. Renowned the world over for her perceptive, patient and mindful manner in teaching groups and individuals, Mel is a leading light in the world of melodeon teaching; both on and off-line.
Having been teaching since 2009, Mel has an ever-expanding toolkit of techniques at her disposal which she adapts to every new teaching scenario. You can expect a bespoke blend of learning-by-ear, call and response playing, analogies, visualisations and pattern recognition, tune deconstruction and notation in moderation.
Mel is a consummate performer, vocalist and accompanist, racking up a wealth of experience in trio Moirai, playing for the vibrant Harlequin Morris, and most recently as an actor-musician in the 2022-23 UK & Canada tour of Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical.
In her professional career, Mel has risen from the EFDSS Aspire program with Andy Cutting to form Moirai with Jo Freya and Sarah Matthews.Together they created 3 albums and toured the UK and Europe, culminating in their self-penned show Framed: The Alice Wheeldon Story telling a true story of a Derbyshire woman.
Mel has been involved in several recurrent Arts Council England funded projects. These include Jo Freya’s Komposit Young Composers (with Annie Whitehead, Judith Weir CBE and Chris Woods), and cross-cultural theatre shows such as Priya Sundar’s Morris:Natyam, and Kate Flatt and Adriano Adewale’s The Oss & The Ox.
She has performed on some of the biggest UK festival stages including Sidmouth, Musicport, Shrewsbury, Dartmoor, Whitby Folk Week, Broadstairs, and street theatre festivals Imagine Watford and Out There Arts.