The Musicality Academy’s founder Amanda Cosgrove spoke to Find Your Activities blog reporter Roisin about their unique dedication to putting their pupils first, and just how far they will go to support their personal growth. Many performing arts schools for children across the UK usually share a similar motto; practice makes perfect. But at Musicality, as Amanda explains, you don’t have to be ‘perfect’ to stand out from the crowd.
The Importance of Unity
“Even though we are performing arts we aren’t pushy in the slightest, it’s all about family here. Our main priority as a company is to boost children’s self-esteem.”
“The best thing about Musicality is making a difference to children’s lives. Often times the kids are outgoing and confident, but sometimes you will get a child who is incredibly shy with very low self-esteem. After a couple of weeks, you can see they are excited to turn up and come running in! This makes me think, job well done.”
The teachers' main priority at Musicality regarding the children is to make sure they feel comfortable and to cater to their needs. Not every child will be a great singer, some may be better at acting than others and some may not be very strong dancers, but as Amanda puts it- “it’s about balancing the kid’s different skills and bringing out the best in each child”. These ethics are the reason for Musicality’s vast success as a performing arts academy, having previously performed large shows in Port Talbot for which they have won several awards!
“By growing their confidence in practicing public speaking, this will encourage them to be naturally good performers! Performing arts is about nurturing children’s confidence before they enter the world of work, but it can also be the flip side. My son Alex James Hatton is now an actor in the West End working on the Book of Mormon, and he started off at Musicality!”
Musicality has also been awarded the title of Best Production in all of Wales and Ireland, which is a fantastic achievement. Amanda Cosgrove has certainly created a reputation for her academy, but since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year and the entire country going into lockdown, she soon began to experience the negative effects that the pandemic would have on Musicality.
Closing The Theatre Doors
“Twelve years of reputation and creating a community just vanished.”
For ten years Musicality Academy was based in a community centre called the Canolfan in Gorseinon, Swansea. Amanda explains how it was their home, where they hosted a huge range of classes and had about 250 members signed up! Then Covid hit and Amanda had to make changes accordingly by moving the academy’s classes online. Amanda explained how difficult the academy found it switching to online classes, but she is incredibly grateful to Emily, the main teacher at Musicality, who kept lessons going online during lockdown.
“She is super fantastic with the kids! It was difficult for her to teach lessons how we regularly would, as the kids had much less space in their homes to sing and dance. We lost quite a lot of members this way because they were fed up with online classes. But we’re finally back in class now and wow, what a difference!”
After returning to their normal venue, the Canolfan, in September Musicality were unexpectedly given five days' notice to vacate the building and find a venue elsewhere. To Amanda’s surprise, the Canolfan had been turned into a vaccination centre. Amanda explains how - “we were happy to do our bit and move out so vaccines could go ahead, but we were devastated to lose our club’s home”.
Musicality Academy has now moved to Venue No.1 in Forestfach and is incredibly grateful, but they are having to start from scratch. Musicality has unfortunately lost around 150 pupils due to their usual members being too far away from the new area, but they’re not letting that stop them! Amanda explains how they hope to bounce back after their recent collaboration with us here at Find Your Activity, and their new plans for the future.
A New Rhythm for Musicality
“We are now dedicated to helping young children make new friends and get back out there after Covid. We are Covid secure having been properly assessed - it’s important to keep our kids at Musicality safe. This made me re-organise Musicality so that it was focused even more on the children. The academy is now ages 4-14.’’
Classes at Musicality are now split into separate age groups. Minnie's, aged four to six, classes which are mainly focused on developing the kids’ confidence with lots of drama games like stage directions and practicing jazz hands! Then there is the Junior's who learn to perform individually and as an ensemble practicing their singing and dancing. This prepares them for when they are 11 and entering the academy.
“We need more kids to come back!”
With the new reopening of Musicality, Amanda is hopeful that more children will soon come flooding in. She believes that it is vital for kids to get back out there and work on their confidence after the pandemic, and to have a good time and make friends!
“We are a business, of course, but making sure our children are happy and having fun is at the very top of our list.”
So, if you are in the Swansea area and have any children that are interested in performing arts or just need a little push to get back out there, get in touch with Amanda at Musicality Academy!
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