Living on a Prayer with Gigajam

Gigajam is a virtual learning environment which teaches keyboard, guitar, bass and drums. Students have an individual log in and can access the site at home and at school. They need to have an instrument to hand as they work through the tutorials, recording and improving their own efforts. There are 10 lessons for each instrument but these are broken down into many different modules and student can work at their own pace.

Arc school near Nuneaton is an independent specialist school for 35 boys and girls aged 11 to 14 who have complex presentations of socially disadvantaging behaviours and often associated learning difficulties. Patrick Jackson teaches music both in class and on an individual basis.

Some students are keen to try all four instruments while others commit to one very early on. Patrick uses it a lot for the one to one sessions and finds that working with technology as well as having a tutor on hand helps student make rapid progress. This has also facilitated a much deeper understanding of the children’s particular needs.

Originally students wanted to be singers but since Gigajam was introduced, there are more instrumentalists emerging. Many students log on at home and, if parents are willing to take responsibility, the school has an instrument loan scheme, which allows students without instruments to continue practising.
Reece arrived at Arc School at the end of year 6 and in the last 12 months he has worked through 5 lessons of Gigajam and all the associated modules. He has become an avid keyboard player and has been part of a newly formed band in the school. The high point this year was when Reece and the other band members went to a professional recording studio near Coventry to record the Bon Jovi classic ‘Living on a Prayer’.

"They recorded their own parts and learnt how a track is laid down," said Patrick, When I heard the final production, it was brilliant. It just blew me away. We will definitely be using Gigajam again next year."


• It has a therapeutic effect on many learners
• Students can upload their performances to a portfolio and share them with you teachers, family and friends
• Students can work at their own pace
• It can be accessed at home and at school
• It provides regular assessments
• Students have clear evidence of progression
• It can be used as a tool to build and strengthen professional relationships.

You could

• Use Gigajam to supplement peripatetic music teaching
• Use it to help student make quick progress in the early stages of learning an instrument
• Use it for individual learning
• Use Gigajam to help student develop the skills and confidence to form a band

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