“This year is an important milestone for me personally and for the MLC.”—Paul Hose, Founder and CEO of the MLC.
In November 2022 I will have worked professionally in the creative industries for 30 years and today (1st September) we celebrate the 15 year anniversary of the Music Learning Collective (MLC).
My appreciation of music actually began by way of television – I was addicted to the videos Another Brick in the Wall pt. II by Pink Floyd and Flash by Queen c. 1979 – 1980 respectively. I loved the addictive and relentless rhythms! I was five.
Some five years later my Father called me to sit down and “watch this amazing band!” The band was Queen and the event was Live Aid.
Perhaps a coincidence but those memories are extremely vivid as I recall my journey. I can remember watching their performance and being spellbound by the raw quality of their performance and my eyes were fixated on the drummer, Roger Taylor. His kit looked like some kind of spaceship. By September of 1985 I had signed up for drum lessons at the comprehensive school that I began attending.
My music teacher at comprehensive school was extremely enthusiastic; full of energy and encouraged anyone who wanted to play music. Her influence, both directly as a teacher and as a person directly resulted in me beginning to play the drums. However, music lessons at my school in particular during the 1980s seemed to be both underfunded and undervalued – particularly as a career option.
I can remember an after-school meeting for parents at which a Mathematics teacher suggested to my parents that I was wasting my time with my love for music and that I should focus on Computer Science. To which my Father replied; “Can’t you imagine a time in the future when people will use computers to make music?”
This comment was not only an important show of support to me, it was my first real lesson in being both solution-oriented and the importance of being able to think laterally – to see things from other points of view and perhaps, where necessary, to challenge the status quo.
I have no doubt that the teacher had my best interests at heart. Portfolio careers such as the one I pursue today were rare and perhaps he was trying to shelter me from crushing disappointment.
By 2004 I was enjoying a relatively successful career as a sole trading drummer and teacher and it was around this time that I began to reflect on my journey as a learner.
I went on to conclude that as a young person, I wanted to attend a music institution that at that time frankly did not exist in Nottingham. I, therefore, took it upon myself to begin exploring the possibility of opening my own music school; the school I wish that I could have attended as a youngster; a safe place for people of all ages, at which they could learn to play instruments, perform music to friends and family- all in a relaxed, out of school setting; and in 2007 the Music Learning Collective (MLC) opened its doors above a karate dojo in the Hockley area of Nottingham.
A lot has happened in our first 15 years: Many of our students and teachers have gone on to enjoy successful careers within the arts, and others teach music; we survived a financial crash and a pandemic. However, the success stories that can’t go overlooked are attributed to the talents that are Steve McCabe, Laura Spencer and Simon Brown, along with the incredible commitment of our teaching team. Their professionalism and passion have resulted in the MLC becoming a group of organisations that operates with the private, public and third sectors across the Midlands in England, the South of France, and the North of Italy. We have taught people in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, India, UAE, Russia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Brazil and Australia.
Enabling our collective – our community – to develop through a music-centred pathway of their choice in a safe out-of-school setting is at the heart of what we do. We are restless, innovative and disruptive – always wanting to challenge the norm by striving for a standard of excellence – especially in an out-of-school setting, a sector in which the standard of delivery varies beyond belief.
Our passion for what we do is at the cornerstone of our diverse group of companies and everyone, regardless of age, or ability is welcome at the MLC. Look out for further announcements as we celebrate turning 15.