Louise Jones, 33, from Sunderland, first began playing a keyboard at the tender age of 10. Now, her business, Sweet Symphony, teaches a staggering 240 music students every week. With a reputation for excellence, 41 students from the studio recently took their music exams through the studio and, incredibly, all of them passed.
Louise’s parents worked hard to support their daughter’s passion for music, paying for piano lessons and trading in an old family organ for a second-hand keyboard. Her hours of practice paid off when, at the age of 15, she passed her Grade 8 keyboard exam. She began helping out her music teacher by teaching other pupils as a Saturday job. Her musical talent had been spotted at an early age as her music teacher, who is singer/songwriter Bryan Ferry’s sister, said that she ‘would go far’.
Louise became even more involved in music as she grew older. She began working as a peripatetic music teacher in schools. Sadly, when music education budgets were cut, this work dwindled and she decided to focus on her private tuition.
Louise started her own business, Sweet Symphony, ten years ago after finishing University, teaching only one pupil at her parents’ home. Over the years demand for lessons grew and in 2014 Louise hired a single room in Speculation House in Concord. Having a base for lessons enabled the business to expand rapidly, and in March 2017 Louise took the big decision to take on the entire of Speculation House and build a multi-instrument music studio. Taking on the Washington studio in March was a big step – but one that has paid off already. Sweet Symphony teaches 240 students every week, has eight teachers, six practice rooms and can provide tuition on a wide range of instruments. Tuition is available on the piano, flute, guitar, trumpet, violin and many more instruments.
The studio has just successfully registered as a Trinity College London Exam Board recognised exam centre. This means that students can take their exams at the studio without having to travel further afield. So far, the results have been outstanding with 41 students taking their exams and all 41 passing, giving the studio a 100% pass rate. This is usual for Sweet Symphony’s exam entrants, but is extra special for the fact that it’s the first exam session in their newly-registered exam centre.
The studio teaches children from the age of three and has no upper age limit. All abilities are catered for. One student is even planning to use his new piano skills to seek a career working onboard cruise ships. Louise also previously taught Christian Wermter, a pianist who was recently named as the German Young Musician of the Year.
Louise says, “Music has so much to offer people and being able to pick up an instrument and play something is a wonderful experience. I believe that good music tuition should be available to everyone, not just the wealthiest in society. That’s why it’s my mission to ensure the lessons at Sweet Symphony are both affordable and good value for money. My mum and dad sacrificed a lot to support my love of music and provide me with lessons. Now, I want to give as many people as possible the same opportunity. In fact, my parents are still supporting me now as they both work alongside me at Sweet Symphony helping with the running of the building. It’s never too late to learn an instrument and there really is an instrument out there to suit everyone.”