When it comes to bringing things a little different to standard teaching into UK schools, one of the very best opportunities to do so is during PPA time. One of the most popular forms of PPA cover is music based cover, if only due to the fact that it is something which everyone can easily connect with. Whether they’re great at music or simply want to give it a go, music is, above all else, great fun and that’s ultimately what PPA cover is all about…bringing something new to pupils whilst letting them enjoy themselves!
For those of you unfamiliar with what PPA time is, back in 2005 it was decided that teachers were to be given a minimum of 10% of their scheduled teaching time as non-classroom time for the purpose of planning, preparation and assessment (PPA). Prior to this, teachers were expected to do all planning and marking in their own time which usually meant long evenings and weekends spent carrying out these type of activities. Whilst 10% of a scheduled teaching week rarely amounts to more than 2.5 hours, it’s at least a start and goes someway to reducing the burden placed on teachers and the expectation to work long hours at home to complete such necessary tasks.
Going back to bringing music into UK schools, PPA time offers the perfect opportunity to do this. Many children don’t get the opportunity to learn an instrument at home for various reasons, however it can do absolute wonders for boosting a child’s confidence and giving them chances to try new things. Whilst PPA cover works in line with the national curriculum, it allows children to experience something new and, as far as we are concerned, music is something which can be enjoyed by absolutely anyone and, above all else, brings some fun to the classroom and a chance to make some noise whilst learning a new skill!
Many external PPA cover agencies (such as Junior Jam) offer a fantastic range of music sessions and, as far as we’re concerned, it offers one of the most flexible yet most enjoyable and beneficial options whilst teachers are carrying out all important marking and planning.
One of the biggest talking points of UK music festivals in recent years hasn’t always been the bands themselves or even the after-hours entertainment but the toilets. We’ve even seen awards launched for the best festival toilets. Like it or not, we all need to spend a penny when we go to a music festival, however one of the unfortunate realities across many major festivals is that they tend to rely too much on portaloos.
Some of you may remember back at Leeds Festival 2002 when the toilets were infamously set on fire on the Sunday night and that’s the realty with portaloos. They’re seen as stinky, unpleasant toilets which no one really wants to go in. As such, it’s often a huge complaint area for festival organisers and many feel the need for the toilets at festivals to be drastically improved.
One way which a number of festivals, including Glastonbury, have tackled the problem of unpleasant toilets is to start to utilise luxury toilets from companies such as Regency Toilets. These luxury toilet blocks are a million miles from that considered to be a portaloo and offer festival guests the chance to pee in peace and luxury. They’re clean, they’re tidy and, most of all, they don’t stink of s**t! For those who have had the opportunity to experience such luxurious toilets at festivals, they’ll know how welcomed these are and why they need to be rolled out across more festival sites over the coming years.
Yes, many festivals are charging extra to use these luxurious loos but who cares? No one wants to dread going to the toilet and 3 or 4 days is a long time to try and avoid them for! With the launch of luxury toilets, guests can finally stop dreading spending a penny and enjoy themselves, knowing they have a clean and nice smelling loo which they can use as and when they need to!
There is no doubt that the most popular form of entertainment at a wedding is a live band. It can transform the day into something that all the guests will remember for a long time in the future and can be a way of really getting the party afterwards in full swing. But how do you ensure the band you book is reliable, professional and talented at the same time?
Personal recommendation sometimes works, but what if your tastes are different from the person recommending. They may have been perfectly happy with their band but how do you know you will be? What appeals to one may not appeal to another.
You could always search online for suitable bands in your area, but whilst it may be possible to listen to a sample of their music, are they reliable? Will they turn up at the correct time? Can they be relied upon to play the type of music you want? On a big occasion such as a wedding it is a bit of a gamble.
A far more reliable way of making a booking would be to use the services of a music agency such as the soon to launch Band Hire. They will have many different bands, solo acts or tribute bands for you to consider and the beauty of it is, they will have been thoroughly checked out first so you can relax and enjoy your big day.
So, once you’ve decided to use an agency, what type of band do you go for? The agency will have a chat with you to establish what kind of music you are thinking of. They’ll then be able to recommend acts that fit your preferences so you’ll end up with the most suitable on the day. Of course, given the age range at the average wedding it won’t be possible to please all the guests, however most people are happy to get into the spirit of things and just enjoy the celebration.
If you’re planning on running an event, regardless of whether it’s a live music event, a speaking event or perhaps a conference, there’s a very good chance you’re going to need a PA system of one type or another. Unfortunately, it’s generally not just a case of hiring any old PA system, however, as you need one capable of coping with the needs and requirements of your event. To try and shed some light on how to go about choosing the right PA for your event, we’ve teamed up with A.T. Music Group who offer PA hire in Essex.
First things first, you need to find a company in your area who offer PA hire. You’ll generally find that, regardless of where you’re based, there’ll be a couple of local companies who offer such services but may offer slightly different services. Ideally, you’ll want to hire a PA which comes complete with an engineer…this way, you’ve got a lot less to worry about and can simply let them handle everything. If you’re a competent engineer, however, there’s money to be saved by doing a dry-hire as opposed to requiring an engineer as well.
Most importantly of all, however, you need to ensure you’re hiring the right size of PA system. You need to make sure that you’re hiring a PA which is suitable for the size of venue which you’re using and the type of event you’re putting on. If you’re putting on a live band, as an example, you’re going to need a PA system which is far more powerful than if you’re only running a spoken word event. Most importantly, however, take the time to speak with your chosen PA hire company as they’ll ultimately know the best system based on your requirements and be able to ensure that the rig which you need is the rig which you need.
An awful lot of thought and preparation goes into organising a wedding. The venue, the flowers, the wedding dress, the photographer; these are all things that you need to get right and all will take up a lot of your time. Of course if you have endless amounts of cash and not much spare time then you could get a wedding planner to do all the hard work for you, but for most people this isn’t an option and they have no choice but to do all the hard work themselves.
When it comes to your wedding entertainment though, it really makes good sense to use the services of a music agency (our suggestion is always to use A.T. Music Agency who offer a wide range of wedding bands in Essex). How many weddings have you been to where the DJ or the band were quite frankly not up to scratch and more suited to a teenagers party than a sophisticated wedding? With a music agency you are going to avoid making mistakes like this as they will have a number of suitable DJs or bands that they can recommend to you. They will be able to talk through your preferences with you and show you an example of the kind of set used on these occasions. Of course pleasing all your guests won’t be easy as you are likely to have a wide age range, but if you go for maybe a covers band then they will be able to play music that most people will enjoy. As an alternative, you could always choose a DJ instead. They will be experienced in playing at wedding celebrations and will know just exactly what will go down best with the guests to get everyone up and dancing.
So, give it some careful consideration. It might cost a bit more than a local unknown band but at least you’ll know your entertainment will be professional, reliable and enjoyable.