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Learn a new skill in 2010 

12 ways to learn a new skill in 2010

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – right? Wrong!

Make the most of 2010 in Swindon
There is no reason why anybody can’t take up something new and learn a new skill – so make 2010 the year when you stopped making excuses, like the old one about being too old to learn it now.

True, it is harder to learn new things when you are older, but it’s not impossible, and, in a way, the extra challenge is part of the fun. It will certainly make the rewards feel better when they come. And they will come.

Whatever you choose to learn – maybe a new language, a musical instrument or something equally rewarding - you don’t have to do it alone. So get yourself an expert tutor and, if possible, learn your new skill as part of a group. That way you’ll inspire and feed off each other.

The best way to approach it is to not just focus on the fact that your new skill will ensure you get more from your free time. You will also be amazed by how much it will boost your confidence – and that confidence will start to build as soon as you start to acquire the skill, long before you master it.  

And it's not just about the new skill you acquire, either. The whole experience can really bolster your outlook, opening up your mind to your inner potential, inspiring you to go on to achieve even more. During the learning process you'll also meet new friends, experience new things and go to new places, which is as good a reason as any for taking the plunge.

So what are you waiting for? There are countless skills you can learn, but here are a selection of some of the ones that are easy to start learning in Swindon…
1 Go back to school

Swindon has not one but two great colleges with superb facilities that are as geared up for part-time courses as well as full-time ones. So you're sure to find a course to suit you among the hundreds on offer in 2010. Note that they both change their range of part-time courses each term, so if you can’t find the one you are looking for, try again next term.

When people think of night school classes, they might think of cookery and car maintenance, but the range of courses available at both Swindon College and New College is mind-boggling. They’re all there – languages, computing skills, arts and crafts, even maths, but there are much more besides. Here is a selection of some of the more unusual courses currently on offer, which you might want to try:

Fashion and Photographic Make-up – a 15-week course at Swindon College
DIY Plastering – a one-day course at Swindon College
Decorative Paint Effects for Home and Furniture – a ten-week course at Swindon College
Longbow Archery for Beginners –a ten-week course at New College
Face Painting – a one-day course in exciting designs at New College
Wine tasting – learn the language and the tricks of the trade at New College (wine included!)
Turkish Belly Dancing for Beginners – a ten-week course at New College
Award in Radio Production – including presenter’s skills at New College
Swindon College
Swindon College
College of higher education based at North Star...
New College Swindon
New College
Modern further education college in Swindon..

2 Get arty

Art is bigger than ever – not only because of the range of different arts now practised, but also because of the materials now readily available. So, if you’re feeling that you’d like to get more arty in 2010, our best advice is: wait! Don’t make any decisions until you’ve checked out the vast array of different techniques, methods and styles you can get involved in. A visit to specialist arts and crafts suppliers will set your creative juices bubbling, so check out Inkspot, Sewcraft, Made By You or Tunleys – or, better still, all four.
Inkspot Swindon
Arts & Crafts Superstore...
Sewcraft Swindon
Specialist local craft shop in Havelock Street...
Made By You Swindon
Made By You
Craft and art supplies in Old Town...

3 Join a growth industry

It’s green, it’s satisfying, it’s economical, it’s healthy, it’s fun, it will help you get fit - and it’s trendy! Growing your own food - in your own garden or by joining the… um, growing number of people who keep allotments – has so many benefits, we can’t understand why you didn’t do it before! If it’s because you’re a novice and it sounds like you need years of experience before you can get sowing, note that we’ve already prepared an extensive guide to getting started, which has been compiled with the help of an expert. The main message is: it's easier than you think, and there are plenty of people around who will only be too pleased to help you along the way.
> Growing your own food in Swindon

4 Get dancing

Hands up all those Strictly Come Dancing fans who are feeling a little bit guilty because they never get up off the settee to have a go themselves. They may be stating the obvious, but if you can get that much enjoyment out of watching people dance, imagine how much you’d get if you could dance as well as those celebrities. Or even better. So there’s no question what new skill Strictly fans should be considering acquiring in 2010, especially when it’s so easy to get started. Salsa dance has quickly become a really popular way of getting fit whilst having fun and learning some sassy skills! Salsa Swindon run dance events throughout the week at a number of venues across the town. For all other types of dance, we've rounded up those offering tuition in other disciplines in our mini guide to Swindon's dance schools.
Salsa Swindon
Salsa Swindon
Now in their 8th year of teaching salsa in Swindon...
> Dance Schools in Swindon

5 Sign up for Arabian nights

If you want to make 2010 the year when you get dancing instead of just watching dance, then don’t think you have to be conventional. You can take the exotic option and learn Arabic dance, right here in Swindon. Loreley Rice also teaches weekly classes in Abingdon, Wantage and Didcot, as well as workshops and summer courses, where you’ll learn various aspects of Egyptian dance – what most people generally call belly dancing. Loreley promises fun, fitness and flexibility from a form of dance that she sums up in two words – exciting and exuberant.
Loreley Rice Swindon
Loreley Rice
Performer and teacher offering a wide range of Arabic dance...

6 Get in pole position

Stop your sniggering because hundreds of local women have found that there is more to pole dancing than… you know what. What’s more, they’ve found it in Swindon, which is home to Polefun, a friendly organisation that was set up by two friends who saw pole dancing as a great way to get fit and boost confidence at the same time. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursday, and if you were wondering where you can buy a pole to practise at home, check out the website for details.
Polefun Swindon
Pole dancing lessons - a fun and exciting way to keep fit!...

7 Taste salsa

If you’re going to take up dance, why not put some zing into it? That’s the philosophy behind Swindon Salsa, a group running regular weekly classes to get people involved in exotic-sounding Cuban and Puerto Rican brands of dance such as merengue, bachata and rueda. Would be dancers can go along to a session and stay all evening to check it out, so there’s no excuses – and the words on the Swindon Salsa website suggest they are used to people staying much longer. “We’re a friendly bunch,” they say, “so if you’re on your own, you’ll soon make friends.” Which is to say you’ll find many more reasons to give it a try than to stay at home and watch dancing on the telly.

8 Glide into 2010

If you’ve ever seen the paragliders and hang gliders soaring over Liddington Hill and thought “I wonder what that’s like,” let us put in touch with the Thames Valley Hang Gliding Club. Whether you choose paragliding or hang gliding, you’ll find they are heavenly skills to have under your belt, and the club has a string of qualified coaches to not only get you airborne (which is good), but also safely back down again (which is even better).
Thames Valley Hang Gliding Club Swindon
Thames Valley Hang Gliding Club
Paragliding club that regularly uses Liddington Hill in Swindon...

9 Be a sport

You might expect martial arts to be included in our sporty section about getting involved in physical activity, but that would be missing the point. Martial arts are certainly sporty and will help get you and keep you fit, but there’s more to it than that. For many people, the discipline and the self-esteem that comes with it is at least as important, and whichever branch of martial arts you choose, you’ll also gain some peace of mind because of the self-defence aspect. But which one to choose? There are many more types of martial art practised locally than you would have found just a few years ago, which is why we’ve put together the most popular options in our mini guide.
> Martial Arts in Swindon

10 Play on!

Of all the things that people say they wished they had done when they were younger, surely learning to play a musical instrument must be top of the list. For many of us, it’s now too late to become a rock star, but there’s still plenty of scope to cash in on the pure pleasure of being able to pick up – or sit down at – a musical instrument and just play. We don’t need to tell you all the benefits, but you may need to be told that it’s never too late to get started or re-started – and it's probably easier than you think. The favourite instrument that peole didn't learn is always the guitar, and if you’re still kicking yourself for not learning earlier, then get in touch with The Guitar School. Alternatively, Holmes Music also offer guitar courses to suit everyone, as well as lessons in other instruments. And whatever instrument you have in mind, Brian Taylor Music at Wootton Bassett are always good for advice, and have an excellent section on their website, listing local teachers. Life is too short for regrets, so make 2010 the year when you finally learn that instrument.
Guitar School Swindon
The Guitar School
Tuition for all instruments, plus guitar sales...
Holmes Music Swindon
Holmes Music
All your musical needs under one roof...
Brian Taylor Music Swindon
Brian Taylor Music
An Aladdins cave of instruments, sheet music and everything musical...

11 Go to the sails

Sailing is not one of the first activities that springs to mind in Swindon, but we aren’t going to let our non-sea-faring heritage get in the way of us, are we? Nor the fact that we’re nowhere near the sea. If you’ve never given sailing a go, then you might not know that one of the best inland sailing clubs in the country is on our doorsteps, at Lechlade. The Bowmoor Sailing Club have Come and Try sessions they hold three times a year are ideal, or there are the spring and summer Introduction to Sailing days – for only £50. Or aim higher – for courses in handling various craft, from spinnakers to power boats.

12 Join the club

We think the key to learning a new skill is getting expert help. It’s always best to tackle something new by utilising somebody else’s knowledge and experience to point you in the right direction and save you time. So check out our extensive guide to clubs and societies in Swindon. You’ll find an array of different organisations on the list, but they all have one thing in common: they are all made up of people who will not only help you learn the new skill you’ve set your heart on in 2010, but will be more than pleased to do it.
Make the most of 2010
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