Arts Council England, Yorkshire

Stars in their drives

  • 6th Dec 2007

British rock stars give free music lessons to budding bedroom musicians. Some of the biggest names in the music industry have teamed up to provide free tuition to aspiring musicians.

Arts Council England’s ‘Take it away’ scheme and online tutorial site ‘Now Play It’ have joined forces to produce an exclusive DVD, featuring music lessons from KT Tunstall, Dave Rowntree from Blur, Michele Stodart from The Magic Numbers and Tim Wanstall from Athlete.

Launched today, the DVD is available to the first 10,000 people to sign up at

Dave Rowntree, drummer with Blur – whose song ‘Coffee and TV’ features on the DVD, said: ‘This free sampler gives new players the chance to learn some of their favourite songs. Instruments and music tuition can be expensive – especially for young people – so it’s fantastic to be involved and help the budding rock stars of tomorrow.’

Take it away gives people the chance to apply for a loan of up to £2,000 towards buying any kind of musical instrument, and pay it back in nine monthly instalments, completely interest free. Already, £1.5m worth of new instruments have been sold since the scheme launched in the summer.

Andrew Herbert, Music Officer at Arts Council England, Yorkshire, said: ‘The Take it away scheme is ideal for complete beginners, so it’s great to be able to create a starter pack with Now Play It and some of the biggest names in British music today. We hope that the partnership will not only help more people buy an instrument, but also give them the support and inspiration they need to take the first steps in learning to play it.’

Now Play It is a unique video service that features well-known pop and rock musicians leading step-by-step video tutorials on how to play their songs. The award-winning site sees a number of household names guiding aspiring musicians of all abilities through songs from ‘Parklife’ to ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’.

Ant Cauchi, Founder of Now Play It, said: ‘Now Play It has been developed to provide an instant and engaging way of learning for budding musicians. The free sampler will help thousands of people learn the songs they love with added bonus material that offers advice on everything from chord progression and musical technique to the best equipment to use.’

MySpaceTV is also supporting the launch. James Fabricant, Director of Entertainment and Head of Video, MySpace Europe said: “This initiative fits right into the MySpace ethos of creativity and self-expression. By supporting this DVD, we hope we can help inspire the next MySpace star.”

For more information about the Take it away scheme and to find retailers in your area, visit

For further information on Now Play It visit

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Alice Mayor / Matthew Fletcher-Jones
0207 467 9247 / 0207 467 9211
or email

Notes for editors:

  1. To obtain a free copy of the DVD please visit, whilst stocks last.

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

    The loan is repayable in 10 parts, made up of a minimum 10 per cent deposit and nine monthly instalments.

  3. The Take it away scheme is operated by ArtCo Trading Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Arts Council England) in conjunction with the Musical Instrument Finance Company (MIFCO). The scheme is being promoted by Arts Council England in partnership with the Music Industries Association (MIA).

  4. Arts Council England works to get great art to more people in more places. We develop and promote the arts across England, acting as an independent body at arm’s length from government. Between 2006 and 2008, we will invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and the National Lottery in supporting the arts. This is the bedrock of support for the arts in England. We believe that the arts have the power to change lives and communities, and to create opportunities for people throughout the country.

    For 2006 to 2008, Arts Council England has six priorities:
    1. Taking part in the arts

    2. Children and young people

    3. The creative economy

    4. Vibrant communities

    5. Internationalism

    6. Celebrating diversity

  5. Now Play It was established in 2006 and is the world’s very first online music tutorial service connecting aspiring musicians with real award winning hit recording artists. The service exists digitally with a combination of media partnership currently being confirmed for physical product. Based in London, Now Play It has a skilled team of over 20 individuals overseeing development, production and digital marketing.

  6. MySpaceTV is supporting the promotion of the DVD. For more information please see

the words Take it away in blue as a logo
Take it away