Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Self-development - weekend breaks in Bournemouth, U.K.

Back in the olden days, the words 'self development' conjured up images of thousands of young women doing curious hand and upper arm exercises whilst simultaneously chanting the mantra "I must, I must, I must improve my bust .."

Boys were doubtless to be found doing something similar, only with a Bullworker (remember those?) and something like "I must, I must, I must see my first bust .."

Of course, it's all changed. Self-development can nowadays mean anything from throwing oneself out of an aeroplane for the sake of the Youth Cancer Trust here in Bournemouth, to reading a book about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

A Bournemouth Creative Break falls neatly neatly into the box marked "self-development". Certainly the music workshops we'll be running do; they're based on a technique developed by Dr. Rod Paton of Chichester University, called "Life Music".

The basic premise is this: All human beings are musical, and every sound they make is valuable. There are no 'wrong notes' (and trust me, I've spent years trying to find some.)

A typical LifeMusic session involves a number of people sitting together in a circle with a collection of musical instruments, all of which are instantly playable and require no special technique. So, drums. Bells. Shakers, xylophones, rattles, gongs, chimes. Glockenspiels. Harps and guitars tuned to 'open' chords. Tambourines. Thumb-pianos. Oh, you know what? It's easier to post a picture:

Then all it takes is a little willingness-to-try on the part of those involved, and a few ideas about where we could start from the facilitator, and away we go. Honest, it's that simple. But the effect is far from simple; this kind of creative activity is relaxing and stimulating at the same time. The emphasis is less about what the music sounds like and more about how it feels.

A Bournemouth Creative Break weekend costs just £199.00 (if you take advantage of our early-bird rate) and includes bed, breakfast and either lunch or supper at Bournemouth's most central hotel, plus the chance to take part in three creative workshops designed to get you playing, writing and drawing. It's 'creativity by the sea!'


  1. What an amazing collection of musical instruments in those photos! Some look really fun - and some look like instruments of torture, lol

  2. Ahhh the Life Music looks like fun. It reminds me of one of those kindergarten sessions that they only seemed to hold once in a blue moon, where you got to make a lot of noise with improvised instruments. Sounds fun with adults - is alcohol included :)

  3. Tony - you're spot on there. The whole idea behind the music and the art workshops is to re-create a sense of child-like discovery and confidence. And, oh yes. There'll be alcohol I expect, and good food. The food is one of the major strengths of the hotel we're working in!

    Jeanette - I actually think that the visual impact of the instruments is almost as important as what they sound like! People engage with things on a visual level first, then on an auditory one and finally on a semantic (thoughtful) level. So having nice-looking instruments seems important to me.