9 April 2022

Latest grade results - Wonderful News! - See Below

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There's so much on offer, from Guitar to Banjo, Piano to Composition, plus online lessons too. Want to learn woodwind? We offer Flute and Saxophone lessons. Fancy Singing or Bass Guitar? No problem, just email or give us a call.

At long last, learn music - there will never be a better better time than right now.

News * Developments * Updates

Introducing the Family Pod





Looking for an indoor activity you can do safely together, including the winter months? The new ‘Family Pod’ keyboard and piano lessons at Northern Music Academy may be just the answer.

Fun, educational, and affordable, our family only groups are super safe, with up to three members of the same household sharing a lesson, with an instrument provided for each in our spacious music studio. The teacher, with 40 years experience, also has their own piano, so no instrument sharing.

As the lessons are mostly headphone based, they can accommodate students at different stages, from around 8 years upwards. Each student has use of their own high quality 88 note weighted digital piano, and lessons can be 30, 60 or 90 minutes, starting from £25.50 for the family. It is possible to incorporate a wide variety of styles, from classic to country, and latin to pop.

Family Pod music lessons are highly flexible, and for instance would allow a beginner and an advanced student to study alongside each other at the same time, while a third family member prepares for grade exams in the same Pod.

If you would like further information, or to discuss how we can tailor lessons to you, please get in touch.

How to Adapt, Survive, Prosper, & Thrive




30.09.20 – Darrell Priestley, co-founder and Academy Principal

Success. Good News – It’s achievable! And it starts with a definition.

In this modern world, we are confronted by challenges, and we find ourselves forced, sometimes reluctantly, to cope with them. And there’s no question that right now, especially, it’s tough, but… With every challenge comes an opportunity. The opportunity for us now, in the era of the pandemic, is to re-evaluate, re-think, and re-callibrate our lives, and what is important to us. What we think of as a successful life might soon be something else, involving not wealth and instant celebrity, but deeper satisfaction that comes from a life well lived, in pursuit of worthy goals, solidly held values and meaningful relationships with others. Out with the private jet, 42 foot yacht and villa in Tuscsany, and in with a deeper appreciation of the moment, clean fresh air and life long friendships.

So, if we are at a point in our lives where adjustments must be made, in order that we can not only adapt and survive, but prosper and thrive, well then – we might as well make them for the better.

Adapt is everyday. We do it all the time. We do it when a friend treats us differently, when we move house, or change school. We do it when we meet someone new, lose a job or get a promotion. Sometimes we do it well. Often, we do it badly. But since it is every day, it’s absolutely a life skill, so for the sake of our sanity it’s going to be so much better if we learn to roll with it. Like many other people, at first I had no idea how I was going to deal with the first wave of the pandemic. I just knew that, by 23rd March 2020, we had to close. That was incredibly hard for my wife and me, because we have always worked in music, and nothing in us wanted to stop. But immediately the adapting process kicked in, as we scrambled to prioritise, and get back to a place where we could feel good about ourselves and, importantly, in control, which meant not only delivering music lessons, but also ensuring that each of the teachers who work with us was in a position to do the same.

Surviving was always going to happen. The key point is that, to begin with, we didn’t have any idea how. Not surviving was unthinkable, so that got us busy working on a way of delivering lessons affordably in a crisis, to those that wanted them. Happily, it also meant starting this regular blog, because I felt most deeply that it was important to stay connected, knowing that people would need support, and as we are a community, there had to be a way for all of us to stay in touch. Delivering the blog for all these months, together with keeping our fellow teachers, all our students and their families informed about progress, has been a major investment in time, but it has done me so much good, because I have felt connected to many of the wonderful people in my life. This has truly been a lifeline, and it’s helped me not only to face the present, but actually look forward to the future.

But how to define prosperity? For me it’s easy, and it does not involve wealth, or second homes. Prosperity is simply about being in a position to keep doing what you like to do, and doing it well. That means the basics, like feeding yourself and your family of course, together with some comforts, which will differ for everyone but for me would include reading, music, and enjoying the outdoors, such as walking, nature, cycling and gardening. But it would also include socialising, so really prosperity requires something like a post Covid world, one where we have the virus under control, whether that includes vaccines, testing, treatments, suppression of transmission or even eradication. That’s the kind of prosperity to which I aspire – one that includes friends and family, and living a somewhat ‘normal’ life.

Finally, thriving would mean reaching a point where we we could reasonably expect to sustain this heady state of prosperity indefinitely. I am an optimist, but also a realist, and here’s the thing: I absolutely expect to prosper and to thrive, according to the definition outlined above. Because it’s do-able; and because I want it enough. Which is great, because for me this means continuing to do what I love, sharing my life with wonderful people, educating others and enriching lives with music. And who wouldn’t look forward to that?

“So how are you finding things, really?”




25.09.20 – Darrell Priestley

Progress is Peachy

No, silly, that’s peachy, not patchy!

How are we finding things? It’s nice of you to ask! A very gentle resumption of in-person lessons began on Monday, with the first teacher and a select few students allowed through the door. Each student was met at the door, and briefed on the new rules and guidance, necessary and expedient, and fairly pain free, apart from all those stairs and more than a few trigger happy fingers holding the intercom button and filling our heads with an incessant buzzing that even now has not completely gone. Don’t worry folks, you’ll get used to it soon enough, especially if we ask you to pull a shift on door duty from time to time:)

All joking apart, it’s been great seeing faces and hearing voices other than our own back inside the building after so long. The plan to control the flow of people at any time is working seamlessly so far, and satisfyingly while anything like M&S style crowds have been happily avoided, there is again the unmistakable feeling that life has returned to the Academy. (It’s been so quiet!)

On Thursday, the first of the new, smaller, actual classes convened, with three students in a headphone lesson. You would have to ask the students how they found it, but from my point of view it went pleasingly well, with every one of the students, all girls as it happened, making noticeable progress. All the better for me was the fact that this happened despite the fact that I had not seen two of the three piano students for six whole months, not even online. So, off to a highly encouraging start, then.

The Academy has returned with a new timetable, and newly reduced days of operation. We now open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, in which time Eileen and I still put in comfortably over a full working week, which having worked crazy hours for years, and absolutely nuts hours during the months approaching reopening, we think should be quite sufficient. We have always had the goal to bring the pleasure of making music to the widest number of people, but there is no denying that the nature of our offering is changing. We now have to satisfy not only local demand, but increasingly also be ready to help those keen to join us who may live further away, and get to visit us less often, and who will be taking at least some of their lessons with us online.

With capacity thus relatively limited, this leaves us under some obligation to make sure that the lesson slots we do have available are taken by those who will most enjoy using them. Obvious things like practicing, (at least sometimes!), and being at the lessons regularly, (either in-person or online), are the things that count for the most. Rest assured though, wherever possible we will always try to accommodate new students who are eager to start and who show a willingness to learn.

As many of you will know, because we don’t make a secret of it, we have been working in this arena for a quite a while. Along the way we have made many friendships, met terrific, warm people, and enjoyed getting to know other families with whom we have so much in common. In many ways, it’s been a thrill ride, though not the scary kind. It’s certainly been a lovely way to spend a working life. We now find ourselves looking forward with genuine enthusiasm to the next stage, and getting acquainted with new friends we have yet to meet, courtesy of music. Lucky us!

So Glad to Be Back




21.09.20 – Darrell Priestley, co-founder and Academy Principal

31 years, 265 days after our first Grand Opening, we are doing it all over again.

This time, it’s a bit more low key. But after six months of seperation from our lovely students, it might tug at the heart strings that little bit more.

Re-Opening Day – the story in numbers:

6 – The number of months we stayed closed since 23rd March 2020.

10 – The maximum extension in feet of the decorator’s pole used to reach the most inaccessible parts of our halls, stairs and landings.

273 – The number of times Eileen ran up the new step ladders.

49 – How many consecutive days Eileen and Darrell have worked without a break in the final stages of preparing the Academy to re-open.

7 – The tally of high quality perspex screens now used at various points around the building.

3 – Local shops supported, where we bought all the decorating materials we used.

114 – The total number of times that steps or ladders were carried up and down the stairs.

21 – The quantity of tins of paint used in redecorating nma this time.

(PS, counting error, the actual number was 24)

6 – Additional Dust Sheets purchased for this decorating job.

25 – Length in feet of the dust sheets used on the stairs.

2 – The maximum number of people present in our building on most days since early May.

10 – Walls that were part or fully replastered.

27 – Paint splats on Darrells watch that refuse to come off

4 – The number of days we now operate each week from 21st September

3 – Quick Gel hand sanitising stations in the building, one in each hall or landing.

85 – How many times Darrell forgot where he had left his paint brush or roller, and had to go up and down stairs looking for it.

34 – And how many times he found it within two feet of where he was when he started looking.

1 – The number of people that can accompany students attending lessons.

2 – Tired but happy Academy founders, almost 32 years on.

Finally, thanks to all of you – we couldn’t have done any of this but for you!

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