Back in June, LOV and The Lincoln Drill Hall hosted an outreach day at Lincoln City Square, where we engaged with young people and told them about an upcoming 6 week beatboxing programme which would start up in the Autumn.
On the 8th September Fretless were first introduced to Mikey Beats, a professional beatboxer who tours the country doing gigs, festivals and workshops. I remember when he introduced himself to the group and gave us a demonstration as the what he can do, I was in awe and also a little nervous. 'There is no way I am going to be able to do anything like that,' I remember thinking, 'I hope Fretless are up to the challenge.'
On our first session Mikey introduced the group to a loop station and showed the group how to use it and how it is great for beatboxing as you can build up a track/song one sound effect at a time. We were taught the basic beat for all beatboxers. This consists of pronouncing the letters 'P,T,K' a similar sound is also created through using 'boots and cats'.
At the next session the group selected and tried to breakdown some famous songs into beatboxing sounds. We worked on 'Drop it like it's Hot.' by Snoop Dog, 'Sweet Dreams' by The Eurythmics and 'Kernkraft 400' by Zombie Nation. Each group member took on a different part of the song, whether it was producing the bass line or humming the melody. It was really wonderful to see the group all beatboxing together and creating music, which sounded fantastic despite only having 2 hours of tuition.
At the third session Mikey helped the group work on some transitions between the three songs, this included each group member taking on a freestyle section in which they are free to show off their newfound skills in anyway they like.. The enthusiasm for beatboxing seemed at it's peak in this session, with the group really engaging and enjoying the sessions. Everyone (including myself) seemed to have improved significantly since the first session.
Our last session we had was introducing a new member to Fretless and getting them up to speed with all we have learnt so far. We also spent some time figuring out what we will do for a final showcase performance at the end of the 6 week programme. The group are going live on the internet on Friday 13th of October with the help of professional videography company The ColourHits Project. The showcase performance will be live streamed through The Lincoln Drill Hall Facebook page at around 5:30pm.
It is safe to say my initial reservations about beatboxing were erroneous. The group have learnt so much in the past few weeks and are sounding fantastic. Fretless have really relished having practical music workshops each week and have gained respect for the art of beatboxing, as well as some skills and techniques that can impress their friends and family in the future. Keep you eyes peeled for the showcase performance, and I am sure you will be as impressed as I am with the efforts of the ever talented Fretless.