I've been back to the Factory Street Studios in Bradford to see their Rock School in action. Studios are owned and run by Alex and Amy Eden and come from a very brave and ambitious vision. The whole complex is huge and as well as rehearsal rooms and a recording studio they are to be equipped with a very exciting performance space. Alex and Amy see the studios as a lively community space occupied by people who have a passion for music at all levels.
The Rock School is run during the school holidays and is as much about offering fun and friendship as it is about music. The whole atmosphere was one of participation and creativity. The kids had spent the whole week learning to play instruments together – and for some it was the first time. Pressure and excitement were built around an impending live performance at the end of the week.
I was there to make a short promotional piece by getting the reaction of parents and children at the end of the performance. The video would be used to provide evidence of the value of the venture. The parents certainly see this as more than an opportunity to keep their offspring occupied. The ones I spoke to say this as an opportunity to build confidence, learn skills and make friends. One dad believed the songwriting aspects would help his son's performance in English at school.
There's no doubt in my mind that if you can get a community of people together who have a shared passion, great things will happen. They can learn from each other, inspire each other and generally raise the creative bar. I firmly believe that however creative you are, you need people around you to help you move forwards and upwards.
Factory Street is a great idea and goes beyond the functionality of making music. It is being built as a community hub based on the shared love of music. I hope it does well.