6-Week Live Interactive Online Course July 2nd - August 6th, 2023 (All classes also recorded )
For the person who didn’t think they could start anywhere, this is that somewhere…
Have you been longing to play rhythms but felt it might be too much time or effort to try to learn to play skillfully? Or have you tried to learn an instrument by instructors you didn't resonate with and become frustrated? And have you been traveling down a healing path and along the way discovered just how important dedicated time to nourish your inner child is to your well-being?
This summer, we invite you to join us in the comfiest, gentlest (and sometimes goofiest) space with the kindest of instructors: “Teacher Brandon” who will lovingly guide us through through profound play (and as a side effect we may find that we’ve learned a thing or two about how to play rhythms with skill and ease.)
Sometimes the older we get, the harder it is to give ourselves permission to be silly, try new things, and allow ourselves to believe we can have things we’ve believed stories about never being able to have. But as we learn to listen to what the kid inside us really needs, we can learn to honor those long-held desires and generously give ourselves the opportunity to prioritize exploration, self-expression, and creative play.
Seattle-based “Teacher Brandon” Blake is the unconditionally supportive loving presence we’ve all longed for (and didn’t know we were missing in our lives.) As a career educator spending much of his time in the preschool classroom inspiring young children to fall in love with learning, Brandon’s style when instructing adults translates into sparkly, joyous, endlessly patient teaching. He has a superpower for taking complex concepts (like mathematical music theory) and breaking it down to be accessible to anyone - even the most “rhythmically challenged”.
Brandon’s own musical journey began with learning to play the bass guitar at age 12. The rhythmic nature of playing bass developed his rhythmic skills that he later expanded with the study of percussion, leading him on adventures abroad to learn instruments such as the Balinese Gamelan. Yet it was his discovery of the Kalimba Sansula at age 36 that forever changed his musical trajectory: leading him to share big stages with Seattle musicians, and to being championed by acclaimed bass musician Victor Wooten who encouraged him to take his Sansula playing to new heights. Brandon developed super original percussive techniques on the Sansula and devised a way to use magnets to change the tuning of individual notes. Victor encouraged Brandon to write and record a solo album featuring Sanulsa and bass, which was released in 2018: It’s Bonus Time!
An important chapter of Brandon’s story is also how he was deeply impacted by a traumatic brain injury due to a bicycle accident. As part of his recovery, Brandon had to find ways to relearn many things, deal with existential anxiety, and find adaptive ways to live a different post-accident life. While living as a brain-injury survivor has its ongoing challenges, it also has brought unexpected gifts: Brandon often comes up with creative ideas (such as super unique ways of playing instruments!) that no one has thought of before. “Out of the box” thinking doesn’t require trauma to access however - it’s a way of using our minds in creative ways that can be learned, and “Teacher Brandon” is the perfect person to help us open up to the creative spaces within our imagination we may not know were there.
Brandon will bring just the right amount of inspired instruction, gentle loving care, and irreverent rascality to delight you in this fun live course. (We promise: you won’t be bored, and we warn: you may laugh a lot at some of Brandon’s sill antics when he demonstrates his zany approach to playing intuitive instruments.)
Brandon has developed some incredibly original percussive techniques for the instruments you won’t find anywhere else! He figured out you can re-tune the kalimbas and Sansula in real time while playing them by dropping magnets on the metal tines - and he’ll reveal the secrets behind the magic in this course! Brandon will also share with you super innovative ways to play the Koshi and Zaphir chimes - by plucking the tines and drumming on the cylinders, as well as show you percussive techniques for playing monochords not offered in our other monochord trainings.
If you own any of these instruments you’ll learn innovative techniques to play them. If you don’t currently own any of them, you’ll receive an in-depth understanding of the different sound qualities and well-being effects these sound tools may provide, helping you decide which of them might be best for your personal wellness practice.
Best of all: each week, rhythmic patterns will be introduced that you can play on any of our instruments, your own percussion instruments at home, or even if you have no instruments, you can clap, tap, and move your body along, cultivating a collection of supportive rhythms you can use whenever you need them.
Most importantly, we want you to find the joy (and sometimes catharsis) of analog experiences - and how you can easily add so much self-care to your day. This class will offer a range of experiences from simple intuitive playing to varying levels of complexity. You can participate in the interactive live portions to the level you feel comfortable, or simply catch the recordings if you’re shy or if the live class isn’t in a friendly time for you.
The bar for learning a new musical instrument is often too high and intimidating for many people, leaving their wish to play music unfulfilled. Yet playing percussive instruments for enjoyment has proven effects on personal wellness and well-being. Here at We Play Well Together, all our instruments can be played intuitively from the moment you pick them up! And with the right guidance, anyone can learn simple techniques to add musical mindfulness to your daily routine - a practice that can serve you for the rest of your life.
We had a recent participant in Brandon’s online group who “never envisioned in their whole life she would be able to be a musician” only to realize what she’d been telling herself proved totally untrue. She just needed an instrument that was easy to make beautiful intuitive sounds with in which there are “no wrong notes” - but also a supportive community that would encourage her to live out loud by sharing the experience. Two things needed to come together for this to be possible: the right instruments + an über supportive community offering unconditional positive regard to support this emergence.
And when we say, “us”: we don’t mean that abstractly! But rather, our entire little team of awesome humans who work for We Play Well Together will be together live in this class so you’ll get to know all of us too! (Including: Founder/CEO Gabriele Schwibach, Creative & Community Director (+Monochord trainer) Joule L’Adara, Community Administrator (+Sound Practitioner) Minna Sivola, and many of our good friends we’ve gotten to know throughout the past years in our Zoom, Clubhouse, and Facebook meetups. So when you join this live summer group you really will be amongst friends and instantly become one of ours.
This course is for you if:
…there’s a part of you that has longed to play music but you never thought you could (or you tried and got frustrated.)
…you’re on a personal path of self-healing and you already understand that carving out time to nourish your inner child and allow them space to play is not frivolous nor a luxury, but rather that PLAY is as important and essential in our lives as REST. And while playtime alone can revive us, play together with like-minded friends has the power to fully revitalize and recharge us, moving us into flow states in our lives where we can channel our deepest creativity, meaning and purpose.
This course is also for you if:
…you’re a semi or professional sound facilitator offer sound meditation, sound healing, sound baths or creative artists therapies, but you don’t feel fully confident in your abilities to play different rhythms or ren’t sure which rhythmic patterns to utilize in your various sound offerings. This course will take away the intimidation factor and have you ease-fully playing rhythms for wellness you can then offer your clients. While the focus of this course is “Self-Care”, we all know that “Self-Care is Client-Care” and that you need rituals for yourself to be able to be in a balanced place to serve others. In this course, rhythmic percussive playing is broken down into easy steps for you to up-level your sound offerings - and feel great about your percussive skills!
*Important to Know!:
You DON’T need to own any instruments to take the course! You will receive a free instrument upon signing up: a fun Shaker Egg - so that everyone has at least one instrument that’s the same for the group. Every week Brandon will be teaching you new rhythmic patterns on the shaker, that you can apply to any instruments! (Including ones you already own and instruments we don’t sell.)
You don’t need to “collect all the instruments” to be able to make the music you need in your life. For some people owning one special quality instrument can be a total game-changer for how they feel in the world. You will however, learn about all the wellness percussion instruments in our We Play Well Together family. Every person is unique and we’re happy to help you find the musical companions that are meant to be in your life now (and hopefully stay with you on the journey of your life.) Well-loved instruments become part of our chosen family: we are drawn to them through a sense of resonance, and these intimate relationships deepen with the time and care we put into them.
Brandon will be teaching wellness rhythms first on the egg shaker and then demonstrating how to translate those same patterns onto different instrument categories including:
Hanging Chimes (Zaphir & Koshi Chimes)
Kalimbas & Sanulsa (By Hokema Kalimbas)
Wood Tongue-Drums (Tinka Tongs by feeltone)
Metal Tongue-Drums: (Zenko Drums by Metal Sounds)
Handpans: (Spacedrum by Metal Sounds)
Monochords (Monolina & Monolini by feeltone)
We look forward to playing well with you and Teacher Brandon this summer!
Live Course Dates:
FREE INTRO Class Sunday, June 25th - Open to All!
Six 1-Hour class on Sundays July 2nd - August 6th
10-11am PT, 11-12pm MT, 12-1pm CT, 1-2pm ET, 6-7pm UK, 7-8pm EUR
Five 1-Hour Office Hours on Tuesdays June 27th - August 1st
5-6pm PT, 6-7 pm MT, 7-8 pm CT, 8-9 pm ET
(2-3pm Hawaii, 10am-11 am East Australia)
Full Price: $600 (Register by July 2nd)
Early-Bird Price: $450 (Register by June 1)
Watch Brandon Blake in Action in his Music Video below!
Summer School Instruments
- Koshi Chimes
- Zenko Elemental in Koshi tuning
- Monolina and Monolini in G
- Sansula Renaissance
- Silverado Spacedrum 432Hz
- Zaphirs matching the Zenko Elementals