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One of Andrew's notable achievements as a keyboard teacher and composer has been the creation of a genuine ensemble format for electronic keyboard players. KEYBAND! has been widely acclaimed, proving popular with students and audiences around the UK and beyond.
The first Keyband! groups were formed while Andrew was the Head of Keyboard for the Milton Keynes Music Service in the 1990s. This led to him forming a Premier Keyband! for the best players, which went on to perform in a number of towns in the UK and in the National Festival of Music for Youth, and in the MKMS Gala Concerts in the Milton Keynes Theatre.
KEYBAND! has been adopted as a model for keyboard ensemble work by many Schools and Local Authority Music Services across the UK. The concepts of Keyband! also particularly informed the development of ensemble music for keyboard players published by the ABRSM as part of its hugely successful Music Medals programme.
Since leaving the MKMS, Andrew has continued to support KEYBAND! and deliver training to other interested teachers and musicians.
In November 2011 Andrew visited Colorado at the invitation of Jodie Jensen. He delivered training sessions for teachers and was a clinician at the Junior Convention of the Colorado Federation of Music Clubs. Subsequently Andrew has visited Colorado a second time in 2013, and helped Jodie with Karen Bartlett set up a new organisation based on his materials. You can read more here: KEYBAND! USA
The original music Andrew composed for the MKMS Premier KEYBAND! is now available for FREE download from this site, and additional new repertoire is being developed exclusively for KEYBAND! USA.
Having been a member of Keyband from the beginning, I know that all of us who were a part of it went away with two things: life experience, and a massive amount of musical ability.
Keyband teaches you collaborative skills that are difficult to learn elsewhere, learning to be a part of a bigger picture and how best to work together as a group to play a piece flawlessly with a big grin on your face. Being with a group of people who enjoy your love of music is also fantastic. We always had a laugh while we learnt new (and re-learnt old) pieces, and I met my best friend through Keyband. It never felt like a lesson, more like a jamming session with a group of friends.
Sitting down with like-minded people also has an effect on how much practise you do; never wanting to be the weak link you feel more inclined to sit down and have one more go at that insane part you’ve been given to learn, and then wondering by the time the next session comes around how you ever thought it was so difficult to play.
It is a life-changing experience that lets you take away good friends and a set of skills that you will use for the rest of your life. If your mind is already set on music being a part of your every-day life, then it will test you in a big way, push your skills to the limits and, occasionally, try your patience! And you will end up a much better musician as a result.
Student, former Keyband leader
I attended Keyband for several years, and it was a highly enjoyably hobby of mine.
The band itself has helped me further my musical education as I managed to build up an extensive knowledge of chords and improvising. When it came to studying music at school, particularly at A-levels, I already had knowledge on the theory behind music.
Keyband also made my progression from the keyboard to the piano a lot easier than just starting piano with no musical understanding.
Being a part of Keyband has also helped my ability to work within an ensemble, which has been particularly useful for my degree at university, as a large proportion of this has been based upon working as an ensemble. As a pianist you don’t get many opportunities to perform in an ensemble, so Keyband was a fantastic way that experience.
Student, former Keyband Leader