Could your child be the next Adele or Gary Barlow?
Hestercombe House is set to become a centre of musical training excellence thanks to a council asset transfer.
Somerset County Council confirmed on Monday that Hestercombe House will now be run by Hestercombe Gardens Trust.
This transfer has made way for the London-based Guildhall School of Music & Drama, in association with the Somerset Music Education HUB, to establish the facility as a regional centre of excellence in musical training for children up to the age of 18. It will attract musicians from across the county and beyond.
This is a great opportunity for committed young musicians who are dedicated to pursuing a career in the industry.
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Alumni benefitting from Guildhall's expert training have gone on to a wide range of careers both in music and drama, and a selection of household names include Dido, Mylene Klass, Alison Balsom, Sir James Galway, Sir George Martin, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Alistair McGowan and Ewan McGregor.
The Somerset Music Education HUB is one of the Arts Council England's nationwide network of 122 Music Education HUBs that will play a key role in ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience a high quality music education.
The HUBs will ensure that all children have access to instrumental learning through whole class instrumental teaching; that all children sing and have ensemble opportunities; that clear progression routes are available to all young people; that they have access to an instrument loan service and access to large scale and high quality musical experiences.
Talented children emerging from the whole class instrumental scheme or those currently working with private teachers, could be invited to audition for places at the Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians in a programme of weekly training comprising individual and group instrumental lessons, ensemble work, singing and musicianship classes run by Guildhall.
Regardless of their ultimate direction, students find that Guildhall's tuition provides them with valuable life skills and the means to develop their individual talents to the full.
I had the benefit of musical education at the school and also at its junior department and it's wonderful to know that distance will no longer be a barrier to this generation of young Somerset musicians.
My experience included being conducted by Pierre Boulez, playing in orchestral, wind and brass ensembles with highly-talented musicians whose faces now pepper all the major professional orchestras and, alas, unknowingly at the time, rubbing shoulders with the charming Damian Lewis who was apparently studying there at the same time.