We’re back with another instalment of our Centre Spotlight series, where we shine a light on one of our fantastic centres. We are lucky enough to be connected with so many incredible venues doing such important (and frankly, very cool) work in the music education space.
So it’s on that note that we’d like to introduce you all to Kingfisher Music, a centre based right up in Inverurie, Scotland! These guys have such an awesome space and we couldn’t wait to sit them down and quiz them about all things Kingfisher.
We’re going to crack on with that interview now. Enjoy!
Hey guys! Can you give us a quick introduction to Kingfisher Music? Where did it all begin?
Kingfisher Music was started from Kingfisher Guitars which was just Davis mobile tutoring around Aberdeenshire. We realised that this was giving freedom to families that couldn’t access lessons otherwise due to family restrictions and other commitments or especially students that were more settled in their own environment. We have a young family ourselves and we understand that it can be tricky to attend something without stress! We ran with the ethic that music should be accessible to everyone.
We couldn’t agree more. Accessibility can be a barrier for so many children, so it’s amazing that you saw something you could do about this! Obviously, we’ve just been through a global pandemic. Has your business changed over the last 18 months?
During the coronavirus we decided to advertise for talented musicians to join us and we turned limited - Kingfisher Music was born. We found musicians from all walks of life with many different attributes, not just in the music world, that helped us gain many partnerships, in particular RSL. We employed 3 tutors which quickly grew to 10 and we now have over 150 students across the North East of Scotland. The pandemic actually gave us time to assess what was required to expand and, in that time, we took on premises and set up a hub for our team to work from once allowed.
Coronavirus affected us all in many different ways but it showed us that music is indeed subversive, it can heal, it can distract, it can energize, it touches our souls and can be our solace in dark times.
What has been your experience of online teaching and learning?
Online lessons became invaluable in maintaining our student/tutor relationships. It gave relief to those missing the “normal'' world and those struggling with isolation. It gave an outlet for creativity not just for our students but also for our team.
It wasn’t always easy, we had challenges with connection issues and suitable set ups but they were always able to be solved with some initiative.
In turn it also created a platform to teach from that we still use. We have students that still learn online because they have more focus with it, because they live far from us including Glasgow and even Spain. It also allowed our team to join apprenticeship programmes with Sixth Sense training to develop skills in media, marketing and administration.
Really incredible work guys. So, give us a run-down of your set up!
In our HQ/Hub/Office, we have 12 members of tuition staff and 2 members in our administration team. In our HQ you can buy most accessories and parts, like all of the RSL curriculum books, D’Addario strings, straps, cables and plectrums, Evans drum heads, Promark sticks, Mapex drum kits, a collection of vintage and new guitars, music t shirts, all important hearing protection by ACS Custom and products from Crimson guitars.
We can advise on instruments, and our workshop is here to fix most issues. We also teach about maintenance and care of instruments.
We have recently held events with RSL, D'Addario and Evans and have plans to hold ear care and posture care with ACS customs, a local chiropractor and calisthenics specialist.
Our practice room has just been acoustically treated and is fully kitted out for a range of set ups and contains a recording desk with Focusrite interfaces and Logic.
Our exam setup consists of the practice room being turned into an exam room, and we have a warm up studio available upstairs.
We have a front of house manager who loves to be petted, and given Bonios! Her name is Waffle and she’s a border collie. She will welcome you in and make sure you’re comfortable!
Come visit when you’re nearby! AB51 0HQ, Lethenty Mill.
What's coming up in the future for Kingfisher Music? Have you got any exciting projects coming up?
As well as our mobile tutoring we provide additional services in our holiday workshops which allow students to come and learn together. We’re taking in students to perform as a band and really learn the ins and outs of how a band works. They form these bands and break down a song, and find out what makes the song great, then try to replicate it by recording it themselves! The workshop lasts for a couple of days. We ran it in summer and it went really really well, and we were asked to do another round of it in the holidays. The clients asked and we delivered!
We hold once-a-month “Masterplan” sessions for our students who have graduated up to RSL grade 3. This allows them to learn to be part of a band and also uses the RSL VQ curriculum, beginners and soon to be intermediate guitar classes for adults along with drum circles and ukulele classes. These classes are designed to bring people together and encourage friendships. We have also reached out to local nurseries in the aim to use our space for interactive storytelling and an introduction to music.
Along with that we have entered into the Music and Drama Education Awards and we are currently looking for funding to run larger scale RSL vocational qualification courses. We want to put Scotland on the map for all musicians allowing them access to the same learning as the UK and, ultimately, the rest of the industry.
We will continue to go with Kingfisher mantra - KEEPING PEOPLE IN MUSIC.
Hear, hear! Readers, we hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about Kingfisher Music. They really are fantastic. Check out their website here if you’re interested in finding out how to get involved. You can also take a look at their Facebook and Instagram pages.