Blanch Music for the past decade has been offering music lessons and instruments in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. With a wide variety of lessons in violin, ukulele, vocals, bodhran, drums, guitar, and piano from trained and professional teachers, the students have always had the best-tailored experience and the opportunity to do recognised examinations such as Rockschool as well as Royal Irish Academy of Music (R.I.A.M), ABRSM, RGT, Trinity and more. This week we spoke with John Lynch, who is the director at Blanch Music, BestMusic.ie and BestBooks.ie we spoke about the effects the pandemic has had on Blanch Music as well as what the future holds.
Like many establishments, Blanch Music faced its difficulties during the pandemic, even losing 50% of its students overnight when the first lockdown was announced. This did not deter the teachers “the lockdown was put in place on the 12th of March and by March 13th, the teachers were having their next lessons online via Zoom” John explains, “the staff were absolutely amazing, they went above and beyond for the students, they have a natural charisma that just flows online”. By the second lockdown, they had invested a lot to improve their online lessons, such as cameras, audio interfaces, microphones, and it paid off, even starting to gain students from Cork, UK, America, and even Thailand. As schools will be fully open for all students as of April 12th, Blanch Music can reopen for in-person lessons, however, they will continue to do online lessons as this is now highly requested.
The school usually hosts an end-of-year Christmas show in the Draiocht, which has proved to be a great success in the past even raising €7000 one year for St Francis Hospice, a charity close to the owner’s heart. However, they do still want to continue this tradition and hope to carry out an online virtual fundraiser instead this year, if there is no change in circumstances.
As the Rockschool examinations are deemed academic, these can be carried out in person or online, whichever suits the students best. The Royal Irish Academy of Music does have to be done remotely, this can be quite difficult for students who do not have a keyboard or piano at home, however, John added “the students are all amazing with everything they’ve put up with in the past year, they all just continue on not even phased”. John finished up by saying that; “It is rewarding to continue on with lessons as even if it is only for an hour once a week, it is a great outlet for all the students”.