With the last year being so unpredictable, we absolutely LOVE to see an RSL Centre that is simply thriving. Bishopbriggs School of Music are an incredible example of what it means to adapt and overcome, whilst still keeping creativity at the core. So, when we got the chance to speak to them for this blog, we couldn’t be more excited!
From RSL electric and acoustic guitars, to piano (both contemporary and classical!), ukulele, drums, vocals and bass, there’s really nothing that Bishopbriggs can’t do! Read on to discover more about this fantastic school.
So, give us an introduction to Bishopbriggs School of Music! Where did it begin and how is it going?
Bishopbriggs School of Music was started by Peter O’Neil over 25 years ago in the salubrious soundings of a small garden shed, with two students! Through hard work, dedication, the development of his own teaching system, built around his 4 P Cycle of Learning (Passion, Practise, Progression & Performance), both he and his wife Lee now have a school with close to 350 students across 10 musical disciplines in dedicated music school building in Huntershill Village in Bishopbriggs.
What a journey! So what is your current set up like?
In our school building we have 11 teaching rooms with a dedicated vocal and drum room, 5 electric pianos, 1 classical piano and 8 keyboards. We also have 4 dedicated guitar teaching rooms. Since returning after the first lockdown we created a hand wash area at the front door of our school building with a one-way system in operation. Each room has its own demarcated tutor and students’ areas with Perspex shield between each of them. We have also introduced new live screens in each room which vastly improve how we deliver the RSL curriculum. The school is run by Peter and Lee O’Neil with 3 additional members of management, Katee Kross, Ross Barron and Paul Bain. In addition to the teaching rooms we have the main office and the all-important staff room and kitchen.
Sounds like an incredible set up and perfectly adapted for COVID! How did you find the transition to online learning throughout the pandemic?
Peter and Lee saw the issue of lockdown coming and quickly made the decision to close the school and move all students to an online learning platform. With the help of the management team, they developed a plan and introduced the BSM Zoom Plus Experience. The management team developed training videos for students and tutors and adapted the website to accommodate a secure and private connection for the Zoom lessons. We also benefitted from Zoom’s own quick development with improved sound quality and features. In truth, the transition was smooth and having a dedicated manager in Paul to look after the help desk meant that within the first few weeks things were, in the main, running smoothly! We must thank our incredible parents, carers and students for all their input and patience while we adapted to the changes. However, we were one of the only music schools who never missed a week of tuition throughout the pandemic (as far as we are aware!).
To have never missed a week of teaching in the past year is an unbelievable achievement. It sounds like you have a wonderful community around you! So what is coming up in the future for Bishopbriggs?
We are continuing to roll out RSL across all available disciplines and as of August 2021 we will be teaching exclusively RSL at the music school. We totally believe that RSL’s innovative and in-depth teaching syllabus, almost in a symbiotic way, mirrors our own teaching philosophies and, of course, the 4 P Cycle of Learning. In addition, we will be expanding the tutor team and increasing our availability of lessons to keep up with the demand of new students. We also, in association with RSL, have an open day on Saturday 7th August, where prospective new students can come along and check out the school and its facilities. They can also ask questions to the RSL team.
Now we said at the beginning and we’ll say it again. One of the things that inspires US about Bishopbriggs School of Music and its staff and students, is that creativity is always at the forefront of their world. We just HAD to include this little video that was made throughout lockdown. It’s hilarious, creative and a lot of fun.You can check out Bishopbriggs on their website here, as well as Facebook and Instagram! If you’ve enjoyed this blog, do check out last week’s where we spoke to the wonderful Jelia Heru in Indonesia.