The story began in the 1950s with the arrival of my late grandmother from the sunny shores Jamaica. She had responded to the call from the mother country, England. She was the Principal Organist at her local Methodist Church. She taught many of the children from that church and community. As grandchildren, we were used to her own unique style of teaching classical piano. Often, she would be in kitchen cooking but hearing and correcting our mistakes just by listening. This served as an invaluable lesson concerning listening in the context of music. Those were the beginnings of my journey of classically playing the piano.
I then started playing at Church. I soon learnt that the classical method and the free form of the Pentecostal tradition didn’t fuse very well. So, I had to learn to adapt and develop a creative ear for music. This was the another lesson learnt.
The Pentecostal tradition also taught me the importance of connecting with your audience i.e. ‘feeling the music’. It is the foundation of jazz, gospel, blues, soul and popular genres.
With these qualities instilled from a child, I have dreamt of seeing children and young people enjoy having lifelong fun with music.
The impetus for starting the music school occurred when I made the observation that my daughter had a natural aptitude for music but not a very strong love for reading sheet music (which was based on the way that she was initially being taught). It led to a dampening of her enthusiasm, as she was keen to be creative. I noticed that other parents, friends and family members had similar experiences with their children. With the encouragement from my wife, friends, family members, parents, the inspiration of many fantastic music educators, I decided to take the opportunity to provide a music service to the community that is niche, enjoyable and dear to my heart.
However, this step of faith was only made possible by all my music teachers (who were my beginnings) and other keen supporters who shared my dream and the sacrifices required to make it possible. It is therefore not my story, but our story!
Ian Miles - Founder and Director