Piano Academy Funded - so how will it work?

We all know and love the Herne Hill piano. So much so that when we ran a crowdfunding campaign to replace the old tired model, your AMAZING generosity helped us to reach our target (and more) in just a few days. Following on from that we thought “how can we use this money to make an even bigger difference”? And that’s when the idea for the the world's first People's Piano Academy came from. Behind it is the principle that will bring the life-changing chance for young people in the area to learn music, regardless of ability to pay. And so we started crowdfunding again!

The great news is that we have now raised over £3,000, which is enough to launch the academy and start to change a few lives through music.

We wanted to say a huge thank to all of you who have given and for spreading the word.

But how will it work?

Here's the plan:

  • Regular, ring-fenced 'Academy Hours' at the Herne Hill People's Piano - where children can sit and learn with a teacher, or can practice on their own, at regular slots. 
  • A team of entrepreneurial local pianists, offering affordable beginner lessons to local children- the lessons will be provided at well below market rates by local secondary school students who can already play the piano well - these academy teachers will benefit from regular paid work, CV points, and support from our team of experienced coaches; whilst beginner-level academy students will benefit from access to heavily discounted lessons
  • A pool of scholarship students, receiving beginner lessons for free - in addition, 'Academy Scholarship Students' will be carefully selected by local schools, to receive their lessons completely free.   These places will be funded from a share of the cut-price academy lesson fee, as well as from stand-alone fund-raising campaigns.  
  • We're aiming for a financially self-sustaining academy, that lasts beyond the resources of any discrete fund-raising campaign.  We're currently finalising the nitty gritty, but here's a working example: if a Sixth Former teaches three 20 minute lessons at £5 each, the academy receives 3x£5 = £15 in an hour.  This enables three local children to receive a 20 minute lesson for £5 each, (compared to a market rate of ~£35/hour).  The Sixth Former keeps 60% of the fee, so receives an hourly income of 3x£3 = £9; the academy, keeps the other 40% (£6), which funds two free lessons for Academy Scholarship Students who have been selected to receive free tuition.
  • Lessons will be held in the Herne Hill Practice Academy - while 'Academy Hour' at the People's Piano will allow children to learn and practice on an informal basis, we know it's a bit of a public venue for regular lessons.  So we've partnered with a local business who will host a second 'practice piano' in a quieter setting.
  • All teachers, volunteers and project team members will be fully DBS/CRB checked, and all relevant risk assessments and insurance requirements will be in place to keep everyone happy and healthy.

Everyone's a winner:

We think we've built a winning and innovative, model which brings:

  • Regular employment and CV points to local young pianists, whilst giving them an exciting chance to put their musical talents to good use and take their first steps into teaching
  • Heavily discounted beginner piano lessons for local children
  • Free beginner piano lessons to carefully selected Academy Schoarship Students
  • A model that is self-sustaining for the long term
  • A model that doesn't stigmatise children who receive free tuition - everyone's invited to be part of the Academy and Scholarship places will be sought after
  • The chance for local parents and carers to try beginner lessons for their children in a convenient, central Herne Hill location, without having to commit to regular, more costly private tuition
  • Access to a community library of piano learning materials - ranging from 'teach yourself piano' resources, to 'chord of the week' hand placements painted above the piano for all to practice
  • The opportunity to take our much-loved Street Piano to its full potential and create a  community academy that dissolves social barriers to music tuition

Please get in touch if you would like to get in touch with the project. We are looking for people to help across the board, so you don’t have to be a veritable Jules Holland! Get in touch (info@hernehillforum.org.uk) if you are interested in helping to plan, teach or participate.