We were so excited to have the fabulous family performer Nick Cope join us for our third Lockdown Lives Q&A session, talking us through how his CBBC show came to be and giving some great tips on getting your kids interested in music.
Born into a family of actors, creativity was certainly in the Cope blood (in fact Nick’s son’s DJing offered our own Q&A background soundtrack!) and although all three children are now grown up, Nick chatted to us about what music meant in their household.
From the world of indie rock, where Nick’s former band The Candyskins played alongside the likes of Supergrass throughout the ‘90s, to entertaining families across the UK, Nick offers his words of wisdom on how to make learning an instrument fun and accessible for children at any age. Read on to discover Nick’s top tips, and watch the full interview on Kidadl TV here.
Don’t Lose Faith In What You Love
“I was in a band for a long time and I was very lucky to do that, but when it came to an end it was really hard to find a way to get back into music, because I’d given it my all so to speak. But once I started teaching kids I realised this could be a way of being creative again which is what I was looking for, I just couldn’t find it. And now six albums and thousands of gigs later I’m here and I’ve got a show on the BBC?!”
It’s Okay To Feel Uninspired In Lockdown
“People might think it should be really inspirational time, just sitting around thinking, but it doesn’t really work like that. I’ll work on songs all the time so it’s been good having time to do that, but the best way for me to get inspiration is going into schools and looking at what children are interested in. I’m not quite sure what to sing about being stuck at home!”
Having Fun Is The Most Important Lesson
“Music lessons are really good, but you’ve got to make it really fun, sing songs and learn through fun. Make sure you get a fun teacher and then you’re winning! Like all things you have to practice to get better and if you enjoy it then the practice isn’t torturous, it should be a fun thing where you feel like you’re getting something from it because every single day that you practice you will get better. And if it’s made fun rather than just reading notes off a page, or whatever part of it isn’t fun for you, then just avoid that because it is such a wonderful thing to be able to do.”
Get Creative With Your Instruments
“Use stickers on your guitar so you know where to put your fingers, make cardboard guitars and decorate them so that they become sort of precious things, they become important. That’s one thing we do at the show - hand out cardboard guitars at the end and plastic glasses and the children become like mini-mes! Even just pretend strumming is starting to learn to play the instrument. They’ll start getting ambidextrous - holding it in one hand and strumming it with the other - and that’s a really good start, and it gives them a love for it as well.”
Start With Song And Dance!
“Singing is a wonderful thing to do, it makes everybody happy. That’s why the guitar is a nice thing to do, and the ukulele is as well, because you can sing at the same time. It’s not like the recorder where you can’t really sing-a-long and play at the same time, that wouldn’t be easy! So lots of singing in the house and lots of dancing, moving around to music. Just get them interested.”
And Finally, Fuel Up In The Right Way…
“To set me up for a full day of songwriting, I’ll usually have a banana and then some toast with a little bit of marmalade. Plus lots of cups of tea!”
Laura grew up in London and loved special family trips out to the theatre, Science Museum and all of the city's wonderful parks. She loves travelling, writing, drawing, exploring new art exhibitions and finding the best food and drink spots in the capital! At Kidadl, Laura handles our social media channels and is part of the busy brief writing team, creating the blueprints for the diverse range of articles you'll find across the site. She also dabbles in graphic design pieces for Kidadl's Instagram and writing blog articles full of family fun herself.