Earlier today, acclaimed British artist Jamie Cullum hosted a virtual music lesson, teaching 2,282 remote students to play the carol “In the Bleak Midwinter.” The event not only raised funds for Age UK – a foundation that offers support to the elderly – but also broke the Guinness World Record for the largest music lesson ever held.
Cullum, who just released his first-ever holiday album, The Pianoman at Christmas, was joined by a variety of special guests, including Robbie Williams, Sigrid, and Dodie. The event was held in partnership with Bonza, an artist-led resource for music in schools.
“I am passionate about music education for all and also an evolving student of music myself only having come to the more technical side of music theory in the last couple of years. Even the very simplest things are very new to me,” said Cullum in a statement. “I hope this lesson gave everyone who took part, from the very beginner to the more advanced, something they can take away with them and was fun in the process. I loved putting it together and would love to do more in the future like this.”
Released last month, The Pianoman at Christmas features ten original songs, including “Hang Your Lights,” “So Many Santas,” and “Christmas Never Gets Old.” Produced by Greg Wells (Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Katy Perry), the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where Cullum was accompanied by a 57-piece orchestra.
In a recent interview with American Songwriter, Cullum spoke about the joy of recording a holiday album. “It’s freedom within the limitations of the subject matter, but once you’re in the subject you can write about all the same things you do in other songs, as long as you throw in some snow and mistletoe. It allows you to think wide-screen. If it were a regular album, maybe I would be shy about doing four choruses at the end of this song or having a huge orchestra come in only at the end of a song. But because it’s a Christmas album, why not? It’s like writing a musical; as long as you stay within the storyline, you can do anything you want.”
The Pianoman At Christmas is out now and can be bought here.