Busy summer for Chichester Music Academy

A busy summer beckons for Chichester Music Academy including two events at the Festival of Chichester.

On Sunday, June 22, the Academy will be providing much of the music at the AldingBOOM Festival, organised by The Aldingbourne Trust and L’arche at The Aldingbourne Country Centre, Blackmill Lane, Norton, Chichester (12 noon to 9pm).

Nick Davidson

Nick Davidson

Then on Saturday, July 5, they will be central to the Summer Garden Party at Graylingwell, running from 10am-4pm.

In all, the summer will see the Academy in action at ten events - all part of the growing demand for their services as they celebrate their third anniversary.

Academy founder Nick Davidson said: “At Graylingwell, we have got four hours of live music featuring pupils from the Chichester Music Academy. We have now got nine bands, and we have about 12 singer-songwriters between eight and 18. I think most of them will be appearing.

“We are doing very well. We have 135 pupils who attend the Academy for music lessons every week and for band development.

“We saw that there was a gap in the market, and this is just a real confidence-booster for the children. I feel that the music departments in schools were not necessarily meeting the needs of children wanting to learn contemporary instruments and about being in a band, wanting to learn about song-writing and recording. We feel we really meet that need, and we are active in community events and our own events, whether with individual students or bands.

“From the Academy, they get confidence and experience and an understanding of how the music industry works in terms of working with sound systems and sound checks and on different stages and in different venues.

“We have created an extremely-positive and relaxed environment all geared towards developing your skills whether you are an absolute beginner trying to get off the ground or an accomplished player looking to move to the next level.

“But the other thing we are doing is also to try to push our new adult programme. We now have an adult gig at the Chichester Inn once a term. It’s like an open-mic night, open to singer-songwriters over the age of 18, with no age limit. We provide a friendly audience for them to develop their skills on stage. It’s a relatively new venture for us, to be moving into all ages and all abilities. A lot of people see us as a school for the under-16s, but actually 20 per cent of our pupils are now in their 30s and 40s. Again, it’s about meeting a real need.”

As for further expansion, Nick would like to hit the 150-mark for numbers of students: “We have space available. We have just converted a new teaching room. We have now got five teaching spaces, and we have now got the best selection of tutors - ten of them - that we have ever had, covering all the contemporary instruments as well as an expanding vocal department.”

As for AldingBOOM, there will be nine hours of music in all, with the Chichester Music Academy filling four. The other five hours of music will come from a variety of local bands and singer-songwriters.

“We are definitely in demand. We almost get too much! We have got ten events this summer. We have got Cobstock. We have got Chi-Fest. But it is all great experience for the students to be doing things like that.”

It’s all part of the creativity: “We actively encourage bands to develop their own material to play.”

The Chichester Music Academy is situated in Globe House, close to Chichester railway station. More details on www.chichestermusicacademy.com.