My name is Dáire Grant. I am a Transition Year student and I applied to complete my work experience in Fingal Academy of Music in February 2020. I really enjoyed myself. It has been one of the most educational and enjoyable weeks of my life.
I really like giving kids the experience of playing the guitar because it has improved my life drastically and to help kids learn that skill is very rewarding. So my favourite part of the experience was probably helping Sarah and Graham out with the guitar lessons.
I also really enjoyed learning about sound and lighting equipment and getting time to practise and learn how to set it up and use it in a professional environment. I spent lots of time during the week learning how to fix and use FAM's new stage lights (which apparently was an impossible task?!) It was really rewarding to figure it out.
The week was what I expected, but it was also what I didn’t expect.
In my mind, I pictured myself helping out with music lessons and doing some office work but I also got to sit in on multiple meetings that allowed me to learn some seriously important life skills that will come in very helpful.
I also did not expect to be helping out on a building site which was very surprising and enjoyable.
During this week, I really learned a lot about myself. I learned how enjoyable it was to work in music and how rewarding it is to pass your knowledge onto others so they can experience all the good things music can bring your way.
Monday was my first day on work experience. Firstly, Sarah - the Director of Cadence - showed me around a couple of the different buildings where Fingal Academy of Music operate. We then headed over to the Cadence building, where I got to play a few of the different instruments. I also fixed some of the guitars. Then Sarah showed me how things operate in Cadence Music and how everything is done. Next, we went to Malahide Rugby club where the Pre-Music classes were taking place. I helped Rebecca out with the classes before heading next door to Lea and Graham. There, I got access to the social media account of FAM where I posted some photos of the guitar lessons with Graham.
The objective of me taking control of the social media of the Academy was to show people that the students get really involved with the Academy and that everyone has a voice. I started a Student takeover on Instagram and showed people everything I was doing during the week. I think that was very beneficial because it showed everyone at home what was happening during the week. I then helped Graham with the guitar lessons and had great fun. As you can tell, I really travelled all around Fingal on Monday and to numerous different sites, which was enjoyable because I really like to keep moving.
Tuesday was a busy as Monday for me at Fingal Academy of Music. On Tuesday, I met with Michael and he gave me a tour around the house and the office. He also told me about the future plans for the business. They are planning on building a hostel for future enthusiastic music students to stay in while they take part in music courses with the Fingal Academy of Music. After that, Michael set me the impossible task of trying to learn how to use lights and a console that had been a mystery for the past six months. Eventually I figured it out after a long call with customer support. These lights will be really important to the Academy because now they can control the colours and strobe of the lights which will definitely improve and benefit future concerts.
Next, Andy who was working I the building site showed me around and told me what had to be done in order to finish the project on time. Afterwards I headed over to Cadence again and helped out with some guitar lessons. To finish off the day, we tested out the new electric violin and I got to listen to a lovely song by Paul and Sarah.
On Tuesday, I learned that there is a lot going on behind the scenes and there is more to the Academy than just music lessons.
To start off the day, I headed over to Andy at the building site and helped him out by moving some furniture around the site. They are renovating the old nursing home and turning it into a Hostel for the music students, they are also building a little Café in the kitchen area and a nice B&B in the main part of the house. Surprisingly while on the building site I got to go down to the basement which was the first time I have ever even seen a basement in a house in Ireland.
After that, I wrote a rough report on how to use the lights and console. Shortly after, I searched endlessly for rubber bands around Balbriggan, which is much harder than it sounds. Eventually I found a pack of rubber bands in a box of Sellotapes in Costcutter. Then I came back to the office and used the rubber bands to bundle a box of flyers into groups of 30 that were to be handed out to primary schools. The flyers were about a Summer Camp called Sounds Good run by the Academy. It gives kids a chance to learn a new instrument or improve their skill which is great.
To end the day, I went over to Loreto School in Balbriggan and helped Michael out with the school Choir. I also took some photos of the choir for the Academy Instagram page. I really enjoyed myself there even though, apart from Michael, I was the only boy. By looking at the students, I could tell that they really had fun. Michael had them all laughing and getting active.
I learned from this experience that you can’t teach anyone anything by rushing into it, you have to take your time and ease people into it just like Michael did with the choir. When people were laughing, they became more interested and started really improving.
I went with Michael to the Pavilions in Swords to sit in on a meeting regarding The Fingal International Festival of Voices. The meeting was about getting the Fingal Ethnic Group involved with the Festival to include more diversity because the aim of the festival is to connect people from all around the world through music. The meeting was nice and relaxed as it took place in a coffee shop.
Both Michael and the client spoke their mind and, in the end, came to a mutually beneficial conclusion. It was not really what I expected because it was so simple and relaxed.
After that, Michael took me for food and said I could choose where to go so I picked Nandos, and it was delicious. Then we came back to the office and I typed up a nicer and clearer version of how to use the lights and console. This will really help in the future because the steps are simple and easy to understand. So hopefully everyone will be experts at it after they study the document!
When I was finished, I searched and enquired about a new office printer and found the perfect one for the office. To finish the day, I helped Sarah out with a group guitar lesson with 5 first-time guitarists. The lesson really reminded me of my first guitar lesson 10 years ago. The main focus of the lesson was just learning about the guitar itself and the names of the different strings. It reminded me of the little sentence I had in order to remember the strings. Every Bad Girl Deserves An Egg. It was nice knowing that I was there at future guitarists first ever lesson.
On Friday, I wrote this report. I think the main goal of this report is to show people at home everything that has been done on the course over this week and give people an insight on what goes on behind the music lessons in Fingal Academy of Music. As well as that, I sat in on a meeting with everyone on the team regarding the Fingal Festival of Voices. I learned a small bit about what’s happening at the festival but more importantly about how a meeting with several people is run. Everyone at the table said their bit and everyone took notes about what had been said. I even took a small few notes myself. After the meeting I went around with Michael to a few local businesses about funding for the Festival. As you can probably guess people don’t like giving up their money, but we got some nice money to fund the festival that will go a long way and be very important.
So, as you can see, I had a full action-packed week that was lots of fun. The experience in the end was not exactly what I expected but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I learned so much about music this week and I learned that in the future I would like to teach music at some point in my life. I really enjoyed helping out with the lessons and really would like to teach guitar or drum lessons in the future.
It’s a really rewarding experience and its really fun. I also learned that I quite like light engineering. The feeling of satisfaction that I got when I fixed the light was unbeatable and indescribable. Maybe that would be something that I will look into in the future. Finally, I learned that I really can’t social media.
Thank you for reading.
Dáire Grant Adams