Charlie Tottman believes a solution to stress in the workplace lies in the power of music.
After hearing from several of his contemporaries how tired and stressed they were at work, Charlie decided to set up a business offering in-office guitar lessons. So the PlayNow Corporation was born and launches this June, after a short trial in 2016.
Charlie, 30, explained: “I have taught music for years and play professionally in bands, but I wanted to develop something which would help a wider audience to pick up an instrument and enjoy playing.
“So many of my friends were finding work stressful and those who already played guitar found they were struggling to find the time to practise because they were so tired at night. I ran trial sessions with a web designer in Guildford last year and it proved very successful. People found the sessions relaxing and fun and the management were pleased how their employees were much happier to go back to work afterwards.”
Charlie reckons he can get anyone playing something in half an hour and believes group learning is particularly beneficial in a work setting, introducing an element of competitiveness between colleagues. “Team work and leadership emerges during a music session,” he says. “I can usually find someone to take charge of the impromptu band we set up – and very often it’s not the boss!
“Music makes everyone a lot happier. I’ve seen the results”
PlayNow launches with an open day at the G Live arts centre in Guildford, from 10am till 1pm on 17 June. Charlie will be there to give advice on how to set up in-office music lessons and hopes people will turn up to have a go at playing – including those visiting a wellness experience being held at the centre that day.
He has the support of Anderton’s music shop in the city, which he hopes will be providing instruments for his students.
A musician’s life
- Charlie took up the guitar at the age of 15
- He cites as his main musical influence American singer/songwriter Steve Ray Vaughan. He is also inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton in his blues phase, John Mayall and Bruno Mars
- Charlie plays with several bands, including a swing and jive five-piece, with trombone, double bass, drums and vocals
- He studied at the Academy for Contemporary Music in Guildford, still practises every day and is studying for a guitar jazz diploma.