Updated 05.08.20

Though we are still closed, behind closed doors we are making terrific progress. When we welcome you back to NMA in the not too distant future, we think you will really appreciate what we have have been up to, and why we took this time. NMA is dedicating itslef to producing a safe, happy, and highly educational space for you.

From seperate pianos to more space everwhere, and from completely redrawing the timetable to a sophisticated range of live in-person and online lessons, this represents our most comprehensive overhaul ever. Hope you will enjoy the beautiful new look also - we have put a lot of work into it.

See below for latest blog, now updated several times per month.

#Darrell & Eileen Priestley

News * Fun * Coping Strategies * Recipes!

Practical Matters




22.07.20 – Darrell Priestley

Further thoughts and our preparations for reopening

This is mainly by way of a diary entry, so I will try to keep it brief. In preparation for the return of students and teachers, my wife Eileen and I have been I have recently been going through the NMA building, leaving very little unchanged. Protection is paramount, and prevention of transmission of the virus is the key to this. We are determined that, if there is just one place outside of the home that everyone might feel safe, then this will be it.

To this end, we have been slowly gutting the building, and those of you who know it well might be surprised at the changes. We have been going out of our way to create the space to allow proper physical distancing at all times. In my estimation, ‘1 metre plus’ is inadequate, being predicated on kickstarting the economy rather than ensuring public health, so we are sticking to the greatest extent possible with 2 metre distancing, but with additional measures in place.

Eradicating the virus should be the goal for all of us, and we should believe that this is possible, however difficult it might be in practice. The latest research points to the conclusion that success is going to be based on three things:

  • i) Frequent hand washing
  • ii) Adequate social distancing
  • iii) The correct use of face masks

Research would appear to suggest that, in order to be fully effective in eradicating the virus, around 90% of the population should commit to doing these three things all, or almost all, of the time. Because these behaviours are basically just habits we can learn to adopt, we want to encourage them to the fullest degree, because it seems absolutely right to commit to eradicating this virus, rather than simply learning to live with it. We think this is a small price to pay for a future safe from Covid-19.

There is another aspect to this, though. The better we become, as a whole, at adopting lifestayle changes to counter the spread of the virus, the more we are entitled to expect our government to adopt sensible policies that will make our future safer, and ultimately our economy more rubust and resilient. Plus, in our personal lives, the sooner it will be safe for us to fully resume our normal relationships and do the simple things on which we have always depended, like hugging our friends and families, and kissing our grandchilden.

Leaving Lockdown Limbo




16.07.20 – Darrell Priestley

Why education is now more important than ever.

So, where are we all now? Well, actually it’s hard to say. At best, probably somewhere in-between. En route to normal life, you might say. But we are all still working out what that looks like.

Most of us are simply nostalgic for the reassuring elements of normal life to assert themselves, but many of us have had a chance to reflect, and perhaps we don’t need everything to be quite how it was before after all.

Some things, though, are more concrete. Education, for the young, represents the path to ‘becoming’, of growing into a world of wonderful potential. For older students, meanwhile, education represents renewal, of reaffirming who you are and that you still have something to offer in life. But for everyone, education is vital, at all stages of life.

At this time, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the need to feel strong, independent and capable requires us to be confident, and we can feed that with learning. Many of us will choose at this time to make changes to our lifestyle, to adjust our priorities. That makes this a time of opportunity. Seen positively, this is a great time to assert ourselves, step forward, and learn something new. Learning music is a fantastic response to the pandemic, because of how music makes us feel – enthused, vital, confident and optimistic. Perhaps this will be the difference that makes us ready to face a world that it is still too early to know.