From a childhood dream, Aimee Doherty has turned her passion into a business, and is soon to open Ballymoney’s newest ‘School of Music and Performing Arts’ this October.
From a young age Aimee began taking piano and singing lessons, crediting her ‘fantastic’ tutor with helping to mould & create her love for music and the arts, a love which would not only become a job, but a passion.
Not content with just being taught music, later Aimee would go on to be the teacher, beginning at just 16-years-old, she passed on the same knowledge and passion to other that her tutor had given to her.
“I truly believe that everyone no matter what age or background can benefit from the Performing Arts and Music tuition.”
Already knowing what her chosen path was to be, her next step to realising her dream would be studying Music Technology at Queens University, but unfortunately this was to be cut short as Aimee explains: “I started to take kids for piano and singing lessons at 16 years of age and then studied Music Technology at Queens but unfortunately I had to leave this course in 2015 as I developed an anxiety disorder and wasn’t able to continue.”
Not to be deterred and despite her anxiety disorder, Aimee would overcame adversity to launch her first – but certainly not her last – business venture, and ‘Aimee Doherty Music’ was born.
Recognising a need for children to have more access to preforming arts and the opportunities they bring, ‘Take To The Stage’ was created by Aimee to fill that void.
“Since 2016 we have produced a range of variety showcases and performed Musicals such as Hairspray, JR, The Wizard of Oz and MusicVille.”
Aimee when on to proudly talk about the success of her students: “I have entered students in for more than 200 examinations across 5 different exam boards in Classical singing, Musical Theatre, Piano, Rock and Pop with a 100% pass rate.
Four years later and Aimee is still reaching for the stars, having established herself as an accomplished musician being booked to appear at various events and venues, whilst having gained an ALMC in classic singing, a diploma in Musical Theatre Performance & Teaching and also has returned to University to complete her degree, studying now in her final year.
So with all that going on, you would be forgiven for thinking Aimee has enough to juggle without taking on anymore, but you’d be wrong! Opening it’s doors on October 1st, Aimee’s newest venture launches – ‘Ballymoney’s School of Music and Performing Arts’ – located at Castle Street, Ballymoney.
“I believe that there is a lot of talent in Ballymoney and surrounding areas and wish to create a space where these talents can be nurtured and shaped in a supportive and fun environment.” Aimee said passionatly.
“I am 100% fully invested in each and every single one of the students who attend either 1-1 tuition or my theatre school Take To The Stage, doing whatever I can to support their Musical and Performance Journey. I couldn’t be any more excited for this next stage.”.
Previously Aimee had worked out of the Parochial Hall on Castle Street where she based ‘Take To The Stage’, but when she became aware of vacant premises nearby, she made enquires.
Talking about the reasons for looking at premises, Aimee explained: “Before Lockdown this year I was teaching from home but obviously I have had to adapt this now with Covid-19 restrictions. I knew I would have to take my lessons out of my home and I remember thinking that now would be a great opportunity to pursue that dream of running a Music and Performing Arts School.
“It all happened rather quickly. I run Take To The Stage classes from the Parochial Hall on Castle Street and noticed the Credit Union building was empty. I then mentioned that I would be interested in taking over the building and within the next month or so, preparations were well underway for the opening on the 1st October.
“Ballymoney has lots of talent and will really benefit from a school that provides tuition services for kids locally.”
As the name suggest a wide range of music and performing arts activities will be available from October 1st when the school opens , with tuition on offer to everyone, not matter “if you’re 8 or 88 years of age” Aimee says.
“We will be offering music instrument tuition for kids aged 5 + in the following instruments; Vocals (Classical, Musical Theatre & Rock/pop styles), Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet, Violin and hoping to add more instruments. As well as this, we offer Music Theory and Music tutoring for kids undertaking GCSE and A Level Music Exams.” listing some of the music tuition which will be available. Aimee went on to speak about the performing arts activities:
“There will also be Speech and Drama lessons offered. We have our Theatre School called Take To The Stage which runs on Friday Evenings and Saturday Mornings for kids aged 2.5-17.
“We also have teachers who are able to visit local schools for tuition, and we offer after school clubs and workshops for youth groups/community groups. We hope to offer two recital opportunities for our students to get real life performance experience in front of an audience.”
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the music and art, with much of the industry coming to a halt. Not only has this left many people out of work but it has left many without an outlet to express themselves through music and performance.
But how important really is the need for these services? Well as Aimee explains, these can be vital for people of all ages within the community.
“I can’t begin to express how important the Arts are for not only children but adults too! In my opinion you’ll not find another subject that targets and enhances so many skills and qualities within a person.
“I think first and foremost our aim is to create a community down at 77 Castle Street, full of teachers, kids and parents who all love the performing Arts. The Arts help children gain self-confidence and self-belief, allowing students to express themselves each in their own individual way. Music, in particular can be an outlet for so many people and learning an instrument requires discipline and organisational skills such as setting aside time to practice and study, which are really important.
Going on to talk about the advantages of getting involved, Aimee said: “Our classes build social skills, increase attention spans, improve speaking and listening skills and students learn how to become great team players and working alongside other people, listening to others ideas and collaborating. Students have the opportunity to gain graded examinations in their chosen disciplines and instruments, with those higher grades being considering for University applications.”
“We want to help students to fully believe in themselves and their own abilities and instil a passion for the arts. And probably most importantly, it is so much FUN. We will strive to create a fun and supportive environment for each and every student who attends.”
In conclusion Aimee stated: “We as teachers have lots of benefits too but I think the greatest thing for me is watching students faces light up as they finally get a tricky piano piece correct, or hit the high note during the song, or finally remember those lines and stage directions!”
The paint may not even be dry on the school yet, but that hasn’t stopped Aimee as she is already looking to the future with plans afoot to expand.
“I never stop, I am constantly thinking of new classes for our students and ways to develop the school. We are currently developing a programme called Tiny Treble Makers which will be pre music instrument classes for kids aged 2-4. This will introduce them to the basics of music and give them a chance to play different instruments before taking 1-1 training in them. We are also hoping to introduce an adult theatre group to Take To The Stage.”
The official opening will take place on Thursday October 1st at 77 Castle Street. For more information contact Aimee and her team on 07934 147 981, visit their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org