Ear Academy, Newburgh, Fife, KY14 6DP

Mixed Instrument Workshops

General information

relevant to all Ear Academy workshops
Bring only your instrument & your ears...
(& your MP3 player / CDs & a digital recorder perhaps...)
booking pageTo most workshops, Dave will no doubt bring:
Guitar Head Playing music with others is simply on a different plane to playing alone. It's where things start to make sense & an uncontrollable grin may fix itself to your face. In this series of specialised workshops you'll be playing alongside bass player & fiddlers, sax players & drummers. All classes are all designed to develop your listening skills. Listening properly is the key to great musicianship.
If you're a bedroom musician, there's a workshop here for you!

Who should book?

There's no barrier regarding instrument, age, or ability on most workshops. Where there is that will be stated on the workshop page. Very competent musicians will be a joy for everyone to play with. They will be the ones to lead things with others playing shorter simpler section & harmonies. Sometimes they may have to be patient & go at a speed comfortable for everyone. Complete beginners who don't know one end of their instrument from the other are welcome to come, but you may not play very much, or on some workshops, even at all. That doesn't necessarily mean you won't get a lot out of the workshop.

Standard: Generally, if you can play a clean steady scale of D on lead instruments or at least 3 chords on chordal instruments, (D, A, G) you'll be fine.

  • Accordion
  • Keyboards
  • Viola / violin,
  • Cello
  • Banjo (4 String)
  • Guitars
  • Bass
  • Mandolin
  • Ukulele
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxes
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Kit Drums
  • Bodhran
  • Percussion

Dave will bring a selection of his own instruments listed above.
This is mainly for him to demonstrate on but at his discretion you may be invited to play one of them.

But you are expected to bring your own instrument
Ear Academy's raison d'être is to create musicians others want to play with. That means listening properly, being sympathetic to your fellow musicians & helping those less able & less confident than yourself. Please leave your ego at home.
Dave with Corra

Size of workshop

Workshops are organic & may be large or small. The more people who come to your workshop the bigger the sound & warmer the magical musical bond with those around you. You'll learn lots from other students too, although the less time you may get to play & the less time your tutor will have to guide you individually.

The music we play is very flexible on most workshops & will be student lead. An on-line duke box is used but do bring your MP3 players in case of technical hitches! Please bring recording devices, audio or video. Smart phones are ideal. If you use an audio clip to remember what we did, instead of taking paper notes, you'll be using & reinforcing the listening skills you will have developed at the workshop. Do take notes at the class though, if you feel that helps you.

Dave with Soulacoaster
Dave Ford on sax with Dajo

Beginners of around a year or so, are just right. More experience is just a bonus. You may be out of your comfort zone some of the time, but we have all been there & we will all be trying to give you time, space & confidence. You'll enjoy the magical feeling of group playing probably more than anyone else.


It's great to have an open book, where even your tutor doesn't know exactly what instruments or standards are going to turn up. However, just incase we get a room full of bass players (could be lovely of course…) depending on your instrument, it may be necessary for you to play less than you might wish & if you're flexible enough to try something else, (bass or drums, keyboards usually) you'll score serious Ear Academy points.

Dave of trumpet
Dave Ford on Bass


If there is no bass player, a guitarist happy to go onto bass, will get more points! All the best bass player understand guitar as well. Again – if you're completely new to bass. You're lines will reflect this. A bass will be available. If there are more than one bass player, we may have to rota who plays, or get one to play something else, like drums… don't worry – it won't be anything you can't handle. Often though, you'll be able to play all together.


Bagpipes: Hmmm, difficult, please bring small pipes & your chanter! (& a few whistles if you play them).

If you're Electric, you'll be fine if you're prepared to turn down from 11 to 1 & point your amp at your own ears, not everyone else's. If you're Brass, it can mean playing with a mute. Drums – playing with restraint & dampening. It can often mean not playing at all. Contrast & silence are 2 of the most underused but powerful weapons in the armoury of any ensemble. Some members of the orchestra spend a lot of time counting instead of playing.

Dave Ford with Soul Inferno around 2006

Bass machine Head
`Instruments are not currently provided by Ear Academy, although there will usually be a drum kit, bass, guitar / keyboard provided for instruction which you may be able to use. Please let us know if you think you'd benefit from having any of the above & we'll make sure it's there.
Parking is best on Whitecraig Road just behind the Steeple. There's a wee alley which takes you straight to the Steeple front door.

mob: 07970 744986
landline: 01337 842434

Weavers Hall, Bank Close, Newburgh
KY14 6EG