Arts Council England
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Practice-a-thon makes perfect

Music stars Russell Watson, Gary Barlow and Jamie Cullum & Dani Harmer join campaign to make more music and raise money for children with cancer


Music stars including Russell Watson, Gary Barlow and Jamie Cullum, along with rising star Dani Harmer (aka Tracy Beaker) are urging everyone to pick up a musical instrument and play their part in raising money for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

They’re supporting a unique partnership between Arts Council England and CLIC Sargents Pratice-a-thon Music (PATM) campaign which encourages people of all ages and abilities to get sponsored to practice their musical instruments to help raise money for children and young people with cancer.

PATM has teamed up with Arts Council England’s ‘Take it away’ scheme, which provides interest free loans for the purchase of musical instruments and tuition. Whether participants choose to practise for one week or a whole year, the important thing is to make more music, have fun and raise money for a great cause in the process.

At today’s launch, Russell Watson said:

“Making music has given me a focus, enormous enjoyment and has got me through some very dark times. I’m best known as a singer and consider the voice to be an instrument that requires plenty of practice, but I think it’s fair to say that having tried to play guitar, that will certainly require a lot more practice for me! Roll on Practice-a-thon! I’m playing my part and I’m delighted to be raising money for children with cancer in the process.”

For extra inspiration, participants have access to a series of exclusive online tutorials of hit songs including Take That’s ‘Back for Good’, Motown classic ‘Heard it Through The Grapevine’, Snow Patrol’s hit single ‘Run’ or, for the rockers, Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ (arguably featuring the greatest guitar riff of all time) and legendary Oasis hit ‘Wonderwall.’

Using unique ‘multiplayer’ software, these classic tunes have been cleverly arranged to strip down separate parts for a variety of instruments and are suitable for musicians and vocalists of all abilities. The tutorials provide a unique and simple approach to learning and, better still, participants can play as part of a group to get the full effect. By signing up to PATM between September 2009 and March 2010, participants can access the tutorials free of charge from the Show Me How To Play website.

Gary Barlow said:

"I was ten when I started to play piano, I played it by ear to start with for the first couple of years... It's a very easy song 'Back for Good' as there are only four or five chords in it. Practice makes perfect - definitely!"

Mary-Alice Stack of Arts Council England said:

“More than 25,000 people have already used the Take it away scheme to buy a musical instrument, so we know that there are a huge number of people out there who want to get involved in learning and playing music. We hope Practice-a-thon will inspire them to pick up their instruments and practise, play or perform for a great cause.”

Sign up now at and play your part in raising money for children with cancer.

We hope Practice-a-thon will inspire them to pick up their instruments and practise, play or perform for a great cause.”

Sign up now at and play your part in raising money for children with cancer.

For further information, please contact:

Lisa Faichney or Nadine Bibi at LD Communications

T: 020 7439 7222



Notes to Editors:

CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the children’s cancer charity. Every day 10 families are told that their child has cancer. Diagnosis often comes as a shock. Treatment usually starts straightaway and can last up to three years. As the children cancer’s charity, CLIC Sargent is there… with clinical, practical and emotional support, every step of the way.

CLIC Sargent was formed in 2005 after a successful merger between Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood (CLIC) and Sargent Cancer Care for Children. Sargent Cancer Care for Children was founded in 1968 in memory of the famous composer, organist and conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent, who died a year earlier from pancreatic cancer.

Arts Council England
Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, the Arts Council will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government, and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery, to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. For more information visit

Practice-a-thon Music
Practice-a-thon Music is a fundraising initiative established in 2002 by Sargent Cancer Care for Children with the aim of raising money through music. The initiative has so far raised over half a million pounds for the charity (now known as CLIC Sargent).

Note to Sub Editors: Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.

Take it away
Take it away is an Arts Council England initiative that offers an interest free loan (0% APR) of between £100 and £2000 for people to buy musical instruments, supporting musical equipment and tuition, through a network of 265 participating retailers across England.

The loan is repayable in 10 parts, made up of a minimum 10 per cent deposit and nine monthly instalments. The scheme is open to all UK residents over the age of 18 (subject to status).

Take it away was launched in July 2007, and to date over 25,000 customers have used the scheme for the purchase of over £15million worth of musical instruments and associated equipment.

The scheme is operated by ArtCo Trading Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Arts Council England. For more information visit

Show Me How To Play
The tracks have been produced by Show Me How To Play, a company that specialises in online music tuition with the use of their unique ‘multiplayer’ software. This teaches individual instruments in four windows on a screen, allowing you to solo/mute particular instruments and plays along with a whole band. It is also a great tool for large group teaching. Players will also be able to download the tab/score for the music as well as learning by watching the tracks played online. The tracks cover a wide range of musical styles and instruments (as well as voice), and are accessible to beginners as well as more advanced musician.

For more information visit

For more information (media only) please contact:
Nick Adams
Arts Council England, National Office
Media Relations
t:0207 973 5549

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