In 2004 the authorities closed the Adult Education Centre at Carr Head Lane in Poulton-le-Fylde, causing students to be left without their keyboard sessions. This is when John Shaw, a student at the centre at the time, and his Tutor Jim Lomas along with 40 other students, decided that they should not be deprived of their hobby and their learning activities should continue. John Shaw then formed a committee to discuss the possibility of forming their own music school.
The original committee was set up in 2006 and funding was secured from the Lottery ‘Awards for All’ and various other sources including local business support,
enabling a new home to be found. This was in Bispham at the Springfield Methodist Church, where several spacious rooms adjoining the church meant that large classes could be accommodated.
Classes commenced in 2006 with 22 students and two keyboard tutors, Jim Lomas and Stephen Austin.
Blackpool Music Academy has gone from strength to strength and funding from such places as the Liverpool Foundation enabled BMA to widen its facilities to include not only group tuition for keyboard, guitar and music theory, but also one-one tuition for piano, organ, percussion, vocal training and other instruments at either Springfield Methodist Church or in the pupil’s own homes, most days of the week.
In 2007 Blackpool Music Academy became a Community Interest Company and was linked to the Charity, Blackpool Music School.
Exams were introduced and students have the choice whether or not they wish to study for one. For guitar and percussion the ‘Rock School’ syllabus is followed and for keyboard, piano and organ, either the ABRSM or ICMA syllabus is favoured.
In 2010 it commenced outreach work with the MIND Organisation in Blackpool and more recently into helping care home residents with activities learning the keyboard.
The Academy also helps the deprived and disabled with music therapy sessions including vocals, guitar and keyboard.
In 2011 the Academy invested in its own music premises with a £200,000 investment and help of the Social Enterprise Loan Fund for the building at Waterloo Road in Blackpool, with some off street parking.
The building is used for all music tuition, a charity music shop selling various musical instruments, a coffee shop with disabled toilet. The building is also used for other community events such as Thursday Sing-along sessions with various entertainers.
The Academy today offers facilities to bands for recording video and music, a conference room with a projector for hire, a comfortable little coffee shop, a rehearsal room for hire, access to Wi-Fi, large screen TV and fully accessible toilets.