Pop superstar Ed Sheeran has been giving music lessons to Thornton Heath school children during the lockdown via Zoom.
Pupils at Ecclesbourne Primary School have been given one-to-one lessons with the multi award winning singer songwriter who has been teaching them the chords to his successful NO1 hit Perfect.
Ed who is an old friend of director of music at Ecclesbourne Primary School Timothy Spoerer, surprised the Djembe Kings and Jam-Bus music club of 10 and 11-year-old’s when he dropped in on their weekly on line music lesson.
Not only did he play his guitar and sing the lyrics to Perfect but he also sang them a medley of other hits – showing how by using just four chords you can adapt any song.
Ed , who had the most number one singles and albums in the last decade – topping the charts 12 times – also answered a series of questions on how music made him ‘happiest’ but that he had only made it to the top of his industry through persistence and hard work.
He also revealed he was taking a break from music after he had ‘burnt himself out a bit’ following his Divide Album, six collaborations with other artists, and his recent worldwide tour, which was the biggest ever and saw him named the most successful touring musician.
Mr Spoerer is working with Ed on creating an online performance of the hit song ‘Perfect’ with children from across the Pegasus Academy Trust, which has four schools in the Thornton Heath district, including Ecclesbourne.
The children have been set the challenge by Mr Spoerer to send in an entry filming themselves playing or singing along to a backing track of Perfect. The entries will then be amalgamated in to one long video which will feature the popstar.
Mr Spoerer thanked Ed for being an ‘incredible sport’ as he answered questions about his music career during the 50 minute lesson.
Philip asked: “What inspired your singing and your music?”
Ed replied: “I basically wasn’t very smart at school I thought I was an idiot for a very long time. I couldn’t do maths, science and English and I was told to be successful in life you had to do those things.
“I loved playing music, that’s what made me happiest. My dad always said to me ‘if you want to be a musician work really hard at it’.
“I wanted to make music my job but it was a lot of hard work and struggling; essentially the way I got my income ?and paid my bills was by playing covers at weddings.”
Mr Spoerer, met the musician at a pub in Holborn in 2009 when Ed was playing shows all over London and Mr Spoerer supported him on stage playing the Djembe. Mr Spoerer has now taught his Jam Bus musicians to play the same African drum.
Mr Spoerer went on to explain to his class how he used to give Ed a lift to London and remembered asking his dad if he was Ed’s manager? “He laughed at me and said ‘he knows what wants and he goes for it’. That’s what impressed me with Ed when first getting to know him.”
The star who is a long term supporter of the school paid for the Jambus, a Mercedes Citaro bendy bus which was transformed in to a classroom in 2016.
Since then he has been supporting fundraising efforts to buy more instruments for the music department and personally sent a signed guitar valued at £20,000 which was auctioned off.
Another child, Romero asked: What age did you start playing music?
The superstar responded that he started playing aged nine or 10 and writing songs when he was 11 or 12. He said he was ‘really bad’ but wrote loads of songs, playing and performing every single day.
He said that he believed in Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000-Hour Rule”, that the key to achieving world class expertise was practice and that if he put in 10,000 hours by the time he reached 21 he’d be an expert at it.
He said it was ‘tough’ and at times ‘boring’ but added: “When you get there you feel as though you have earned it.”
Kelly asked when are you releasing your next single?
“Not for a while some time next year … I need a year off not doing anything… getting back to normal life,” he replied.
The highlight of the lesson was when Ed took the children through the four chords of his song ‘Perfect’ telling them once you have learned the chord: G, E minor C and D you are ‘good to go’; explaining that most songs are written only using these four chords.
He then showed the ‘shapes’ the children needed to use, while strumming on his guitar and singing the lyrics from his hit tune before switching in to verses from the songs: Standby Me, Unchained Melody, No Woman No Cry and Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Love, showing how easy it was to use these chords adding: “Every song ever has these chords.”
Ending the lesson Mr Spoerer introduces his game “Nominate”where members of the Djembe Kings and Jam-Bus Club play some of their own beats and Ed is asked to give names to some of the tunes.
One young girl asks for help naming her new Djemba? Ed suggested naming it after her favourite crisps, which he said is how he came to name his cat! so she called her drum: Walkers.
Each child is then nominated to perform a silly dance which the others have to copy including the teachers, though Ed was more than happy sit and watch!