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Aiming for the top of the charts

Aiming for the top of the charts

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Aiming for the top of the charts

Tuesday 18 December 2018

For those who have ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument but never got round to it, the School of Popular Music, a finalist in The Bailiwick Express Business Academy, might be just the place.

The School of Popular Music offers a service like no other tuition available in the Channel Islands, creator Tyler Edmonds says.

The Guernsey-based school aims to offer its pupils the opportunity to learn the instrument of their choice - guitar, drums, keyboards, voice, bass, ukulele, and many others are all on offer - while meeting fellow enthusiasts to develop every element of playing.

The school is one of four finalists hoping to win a prize worth tens of thousands of pounds in the Business Academy - or perhaps even the support of a major investor. The Academy is supported by Carey Olsen, NatWest International, Sancus, Savils, Start-up Guernsey, Envestors and Jersey Business. 

Tyler Edmonds told Express about his idea before pitch day, when he hopes to hit all the right notes with the judging panel...


Pictured: The idea of the school was developed by Guernsey entrepreneur Tyler when he was just 23.

"We teach from nationally recognised syllabuses and our program is designed to promote confidence and self-esteem. As well as our general lessons, we offer specialised sessions such as band mentoring and session skills and various workshops throughout the year.

"I am 28 years old and established this company when I was 23. I started playing guitar at the age of 13. I was a terrible pupil at school and largely failed my GCSE's (other than an A* in music) and other than my band I had no career lined up. I then scraped through a media studies course at the Guernsey College of Further Education. I started teaching guitar after returning from a brief spell at university. At that time, I felt like I had failed because I couldn’t stick out my course. I approached many tutors locally and asked for jobs but to no avail. I was working part time in a bar and had no real future set out. 

"I decided I had no other choice than to start teaching guitar and luckily this quickly became my main job. I really loved it and my client base quickly grew. It was not long after, while cleaning the pub toilets one morning, that the idea hit me to start SOPM. It now has over 400 students and employs 12 teachers.

"There were lots of solo tutors in the island but not with real vision and drive. It wasn’t exciting and there was never an element of group and band sessions or concerts for students. SOPM has changed that in a huge way and now there is a big social aspect to music on island. The tutors that work for SOPM are all specially selected and guided by our 'positive teaching strategy. It blends attainment and wellbeing equally while also focusing on Growth Mind-set approaches. 


Pictured: The School of Popular Music offers two annual concerts for students to showcase their skills.

"The huge opportunities we offer, including two annual concerts and many more events for our students to perform at. Our programme is designed on a 'skills' or 'performance' basis and we recommend both to all our students. 

"Private lessons focus on their skill set and we work closely with Trinity Rock and Pop meaning our students can get graded playing real songs from real bands! Our Saturday sessions focus on performance and we have 100 of our students coming along and playing together here. 

"This year we won 'The Bill Green Award for ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit' and continue to build on this success by looking further ahead at expanding and crossing the pond to Jersey and even franchising the brand. We have created many successful campaigns including 'Express Yourself' in partnership with Guernsey Mind and Guernsey Arts Commission to highlight the benefits of art for mental health."

In the next stage of the competition, Tyler will have to present his idea to a panel of some of the Channel Islands' top entrepreneurs and investors. Before that, however, Express wants YOU to have a say on which is the best business idea in a poll at the end of the week.

Yesterday, we met Kristin Morris, the brains behind 'Health and Style Club', a “personal trainer, stylist and life coach in one”.

Tomorrow: Meet the creator of EaseeDo, an app for those that aims to simplify tasks for those with learning difficulties...

To learn more about the other Business Academy finalists, read the latest edition of Connect magazine here.

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