A brand new music school is opening at the Heart of the Country Shopping Village headed by talented twins Stephen and David Partridge – and you could win a year’s worth of music lessons
A love of music has been part of Stephen and David Partridge’s lives for as long as they can remember. So it’s no wonder that the duo should have gone on to make a career from sharing their passion and talent for piano and violin.
The brothers, who studied at the prestigious Birmingham Conservatoire, started teaching aged just 14, and opened their first music school at Mitchells Centre in Sutton Coldfield in 2015. Now, with more than 200 pupils on their books, the 24-year-olds are just opening a second school at Heart of the Country Shopping Village, near Lichfield.
The Partridge Brothers Music Centre is an expert resource for all things music. As well as high quality music lessons for all ages and all abilities, they provide a large selection of sheet music, accessories and instruments and provide a space for music workshops, concerts, music groups and more.
David and Stephen’s parents weren’t musical but the brothers were fascinated from a young age, watching the BBC Proms at when they were just four or five years old.
“My first musical memory is watching the BBC Proms,” says David. “I had a loose tooth that needed to come out and my mother had tied a piece of cotton around it and she was holding it and, because I really wanted to watch the Proms I yanked my head over and the tooth pulled out.”
At seven, a school letter inviting them to learn to play the violin was the start of their musical journey.
“Being twins we did most things together and we said yes, and pretty much immediately decided we wanted to be musicians,” explains David. “From then, everything was geared towards us studying music and becoming professional musicians.
As music scholars at Aldridge School, Stephen and David were fast-tracked through their music GCSE and A Level, before winning places at Birmingham Conservatoire to study their BMus (hons), with a focus on violin.
“While at the Conservatoire we were already dreaming of starting a music school because we wanted to teach people and to help others to provide high quality music lessons,” says David. “We also realised that the musician lifestyle – which is mostly travelling around the country and doing a lot of hard work in a cutthroat industry which is very stressful and doesn’t earn you much money – wasn’t for us.
“I’d always thought I was going to be a musician but the reality was that we both much preferred teaching.”
So even before the brothers finished their degrees they found a vacant unit at Mitchells Centre in Sutton Coldfield, and their dream of opening a music school became a reality.
“The last six month of my degree were the most stressful because there was a major project which was a concerto and conducting and a 10,000 write-up, at the same time as opening the music school,” says David.
Partridge Brothers takes pupils aged from just two-and-a-half right through to pensioners and beyond. As well as Stephen and David, who teach piano and violin, the school has tutors in a wide variety of instruments from piano and violin to guitar, ukulele, clarinet, saxophone and more. Tutor Lauren Storey specialises in teaching toddlers and children with additional needs.
“We feel that the difference between our music school and a lot of others is that our tutors all have a degree in the instrument they’re teaching and will teach to the highest level, rather than having youngsters with little or no teaching experience,” explains David.
With lessons at Mitchells already full, the brothers were thinking of expanding their business when the opportunity at Heart of the Country arose.
“We fell upon this unit quite by accident when it popped up as available on Facebook,” says Stephen.
“We’re full at Mitchells so we needed more space and were looking to expand the business, but equally it allows us to do more things here. We’re going to have workshops, film screenings, concerts, theory classes – it’s a much bigger space.”
The new music school has six rooms for one-to-one lessons as well as a dedicated concert space with seating for 50 people where the school will hold regular events. The first concert, which takes place on Saturday, March 15, is A Night at the Musicals – an evening of musical favourites performed by up and coming singers. The programme will include music from golden oldies, newsies and everything in between, accompanied by Stephen on piano.
“We already have concerts with our students at least once a term, and now having this bigger space means we can have more concerts,” says Stephen.
“In the summer we’re also hoping to have a ‘buskers’ corner’ here at Heart of the Country with our pupils playing outside. That way, people visiting the centre will get access to music they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise get, and it might entice them to want to learn.
“We also put together ensembles of pupils. We’ve got a quartet and we want to put together some other groups such as a guitar group. Our aim is to eventually have an orchestra here and we’d love to set up a choir too.”
As well as putting pupils through their music grades, Stephen and David offer pre-grade one medals aimed at complete beginners and their youngest pupils. In the future they also hope to offer music GCSEs and BTECs as Stephen has his Postgraduate Certificate in Education which means he is qualified to teach these.
“My favourite part of teaching is when you start with a complete beginner and take them through to advanced stage, or if you teach someone who used to play when they were younger and you help them pick it back up and go through the higher grades to pre-conservatoire level,” says David.
“Then you can even enjoy playing music with them. We have pupils go out and join high level amateur orchestras and they’ll come back with the music they’re playing which is wonderful.
“We also get people who never aim to be that good, they just want to be able to play a few carols at Christmas, but it’s great to be able to help people achieve what they want and they can just do it for fun.”
For more information visit www.partridgebrothers.com or call Partridge Brothers Music Centre at Heart of the Country on 07963 894282.
J’AIME has teamed up with Partridge Brothers Music Centre to offer readers the chance to win a year’s worth of piano or violin lessons. Our winner will have one lesson per week for the 42 weeks of the music school’s term. Children must be at least four years old to qualify for the competition prize lessons.
For your chance to win this fabulous prize, simply answer the following question: Name one of the instruments taught and played by Stephen and David.
Send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Partridge Brothers competition as the email subject. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday, March 30, and our winner will be notified by Wednesday, April 4. No cash alternative is available. Terms and conditions apply. Visit http://www.jaimemagazine.com for further details.