Friday, 22 May 2020

From Blackheath to California: moving courses on-line as a result of lockdown has expanded Blackheath Conservatoire's audience to a global one

Blackheath Conservatoire (Photo Alexander Nicolaou www.alexandernicolaou.com )
Blackheath Conservatoire (with Blackheath Halls next door)
(Photo Alexander Nicolaou)
With the rigours of lockdown, didactic arts institutions have had to re-invent themselves so that teaching can continue on-line. In the case of Blackheath Conservatoire, its art, music and drama courses aimed at students of all ages and abilities, have not only been taking place on-line but this has resulted in a significant widening of the audience for classes. Based at London's oldest purpose-built arts centre, Blackheath Conservatoire (founded in 1881, with the present building dating from 1896) used to have around 2000 people a week attending classes, from toddlers to pensioners (there is no audition or entry level requirement, just a desire to learn).

Blackheath Conservatoire logo
Now, post-lock down the conservatoire is offering interactive Zoom classes and on-demand YouTube ‘box sets’ for courses ranging from ukulele for 5-year-olds, to watercolour and drama courses for adults. And going on-line has widened the audience for courses from just those people within commuting distance of Blackheath, so that now there are sign-ups from as far away as Scotland and California.

The conservatoire is best known for its early years music classes that plant the seeds for a lifelong musical journey, the online courses include music sessions for tiny tots, ukulele tuition for three-year-olds and above, and individual instrument lessons for children and adults. But during lockdown, parents are finding that the courses are ideal for those coping with home-schooling, and for those interested in acquiring a new skill.

To encourage uptake of its online courses, special offers will be rolled out on social media, including a Course of the Day offer every day on Facebook, free taster lessons for younger children on Facebook and YouTube during half-term, and exclusive course discounts for their e-newsletter subscribers. Extra tutors will be taken on to support the demand, helping to sustain artists and musicians who have been hit by the loss of work with the closure of venues and orchestras. And the Conservatoire’s roster of summer courses for adults and children of all ages opens for booking in June.

Full details from the Blackheath Conservatoire website, details of the remote-learning courses.

 

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