Covid lockdown saw Berkhamsted woman create her own business to help young musicians

Innovate UK’s Young Innovators programme sees 87 per cent increase in applications over last year

Friday, 9th April 2021, 11:08 am
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 11:10 am

A woman from Berkhamsted who created a music academy last year is part of the upsurge in young entrepreneurs starting a business in lockdown.

Rhiannon Jeffreys, a professional musician with over a decade's experience of teaching music, created Starling Music Academy during lockdown when the coronavirus pandemic caused her to shift to online teaching.

The 27-year-old wanted to provide a modern, accessible way to learn about the foundations of music, in a friendly and fun environment.

Rhiannon Jeffreys

Starling Music Academy aims to not only update current methods of teaching music theory by incorporating video lessons and online quizzes into its courses, but it will also provide each student with their own, unique curriculum, as well as create work for musicians by pairing every student with a tutor who will support their learning throughout their time on the course.

She said: "I started the academy during lockdown, I never planned to become an entrepreneur.

"I'm a musician and during lockdown I needed to find a way to teach online, it was fine teaching how to play instruments online but I also wanted to make sure the theory side was also being taught.

"With the sudden shift to online learning during the pandemic, it became clear that the methods of delivering music theory lessons - which focus on the reading and understanding of music - had not adapted to keep up with changing times.

"I needed to find ways to help my students and I felt that others could also benefit from it.

"I found an opportunity to apply for the award and was shocked when I got it, it was amazing. It has helped me get into a new industry.

"The main goal now is to create something that is beneficial for musicians and students.

"Musicians have suffered so much during the pandemic. I wanted to create something for students that really focused on them understanding every topic.

"Everything is explained really clearly and makes it accessible. Every student will be supported by a music teacher, which I think is really important to help them learn."

"It is online learning but you are learning from a musician."

New data released by Innovate UK, points to a dramatic increase in the number of young people setting up their own businesses in the last decade – with the number nearly doubling (98 per cent increase) from 2009 to 2020.

This trend mirrors the increased appetite seen by Innovate UK for its support programmes for 18 to 30-year-olds. The Young Innovators Awards, which recognise young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation, saw an 87 per cent increase in applications this year.

Last year, Rhiannon was named as one of the winners of Innovate UK's Young Innovators Award, which recognises young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation.

The programme supports young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation.

Rhiannon added: “I have been amazed to see how quickly your network can grow, just by having conversations.

"Even people in a completely different sector may be able to put you in touch with someone they know who is in your sector, and I love the idea of being able to do that for others in the future.”

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK said: “With 2020 proving to be an incredibly difficult year, it is inspiring to see so many young people continuing to take steps to develop their own business ideas and innovations.

"It is this generation of innovators who have the potential to tackle some of the big challenges we’ll face in the wake of pandemic and we must do all we can to support them and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps."

If you’re an inspiring young innovator, check out how Innovate UK could support you here.