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FOCUS: From uni flop... to striking Chordz across the islands

FOCUS: From uni flop... to striking Chordz across the islands

Monday 18 April 2022

FOCUS: From uni flop... to striking Chordz across the islands

Monday 18 April 2022

An island music lover has opened up about how an "unsuccessful" university experience led to working in a bar and teaching guitar from his parents lounge... to now running a hugely popular music school across Jersey and Guernsey.

One of the most recent additions to the club of businesses who are growing their markets in both Jersey and Guernsey, is the School of Popular Music (SOPM).

The SOPM built up a large following of students in Guernsey, before acquiring the Chordz music business in Jersey earlier this year. 

Winning the Bailiwick Business Academy, judges were particularly impressed with the way students had the opportunity to learn the instrument of their choice.

They will now be bringing their brand of music teaching to Jersey students too, at a time when the whole sector is trying to recover from the loss of face-to-face teaching during the pandemic. 

Tyler Edmonds, Founder and MD of the School of Popular Music, gave Express a potted history of the business, including his approach to tuition, and his vision for the future...

Where did it all begin?

I had returned from a largely unsuccessful university experience, and was disheartened, I asked anyone and everyone I could think of for a job in teaching but no one was interested.

Its actually through necessity that this all began! This is what drove my vision and I remember thinking that I would always be much more open minded. It seems to have paid off!

Is there further growth left for the SOPM in Guernsey?

That is a very good question! We are approaching having 700 students enrolled with us here in Guernsey.


Pictured: "I founded SOPM back in 2014 at the age of 23. I was working in a bar and teaching guitar from my parents’ lounge.

Ill be honest I never dreamt we would have so many. Its amazing. I think this is largely due to how inspiring the team we have is here. Its contagious and everyone wants to play music when they are around them. 

I still think there is room to grow. How much? Who knows….

How does the music tuition business differ between the islands?

Currently, there are still various differences, however we are making changes all the time.

Our long-term plan is to emulate the Guernsey model as much as possible. We will be rolling out lots of exciting group projects and events in Jersey over the coming months.

What exactly is the new arrangement with Chordz and how will the business operate in Jersey? Will it still be combined with the cafe?

The business is now totally separate from the cafe and Chordz Music School’ will soon become The School of Popular Music Jersey'.

Why do you believe the SOPM model for music tuition works, compared to other methods of delivering it in person?

Myself and the team in Guernsey have spent years investing and developing the model. I believe it works for many reasons, but two words stands out.

'Community' - This aspect was definitely missing before SOPM. The chance to meet and collaborate with other musicians, join vocal groups, workshops and bands.

We offer an array of classes from SOPM Tots (2+) to Music Production and Academy.


Pictured: Tyler Edmonds, Founder and MD of the School of Popular Music

'Opportunity' - The opportunities we offer our students are unrivalled, and this is due to having such a large network through a team of tutors.

We host over ten live events a year, three rock and pop graded exam weeks, and lots more. The experience of playing live is crucial to the development of the student.

How does the personal tuition model compare to online? Does tech offer new opportunities for you?

Yes and no. We definitely look to embrace modern technology. During lockdown we created an online server and had hundreds of students that were able to log in and access remote lessons.

This is a great tool, and alternative, for those that cannot access our studio. However, nothing will ever beat face-to-face!

Are you concerned that as the cost of living rises this year, customers will reconsider items in their budget such as music tuition?

Obviously, these sort of things are a worry, but we managed to get through covid, so this should be a walk in the park!

What are the trends you are seeing in terms of the types of customers coming to you, or the instruments they are wanting to learn?


Pictured: Mr Edmonds says that drumming is a very popular with kids.

Trends change quite regularly. Sometimes we have hordes of drummers coming through the ranks, then it may go quiet.

One thing I am sure we can all agree on, is that we never had enough bass guitarists!

Is your business scalable outside of the Channel Islands?

I certainly think so. We have had this in mind from the early stages of the business.

Where next though?

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