Company launches Hitchin music academy

A NEW educational music academy is hitting the right note by launching the first centre of its kind in the area this month.

The new Academy of Music and Sound, based at the North Hertfordshire College Hitchin campus, offers up the BTECs in contemporary music.

The private company has centres at several other centres in the country, but is the only kind in the area to offer a course equivalent to three-and-a-half A-levels.

It’s currently auditioning and enrolling potential students, who will start the course at the end of this month.

Centre manager Greg Rochford said: “It is not a course to be taken lightly. We don’t train our students to be rock stars, but rather competent, professional and talented musicians.

“It’s very practical, very hands on. Students can go to uni afterwards, go into teaching, or start earning in the real world. There are all sorts of opportunities.

“Everyone who comes in to teach has been or is in the music business. We have had the likes of the Simply Red manager and session musicians who have worked with Kylie Minogue and Take That come in to give talks.

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“We’re hopefully getting Dizzee Rascal coming down this year. It’s that sort of calibre that we have speaking to our students.”

The course, which is half theory, half practical, culminates in a performance at the end of each week, putting to use the skills learnt previously.

The academy is looking to take around 40 students this year, and has got around 25 students so far. But it wants to use its facilities to benefit the wider community too.

“We are trying to establish the centre as a central place for the music scene in Hitchin and Herts,” said Greg.

“We want to encourage people to use our centre. Our students can bring their friends here to practice and rehearse.

“We’ve got in touch with local music companies to create ties with them. We’re already getting out and about.”

The course - which is funded by government - is free to study. Visit www.academyofmusic.ac.uk for more information.

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