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Music alum wins Young Innovators Award

Mon 25 January 2021

Rhiannon Jeffreys receives a £5000 grant for her online tutoring business  

A partnership between Innovate UK and the Prince’s Trust, the Young Innovators programme acknowledges and supports young people from across the UK with creative business ideas.

This year, professional musician Rhiannon Jeffreys and creator of Starling Music Academy has been recognised for her potential as a successful entrepreneur and future leader in innovation.

The 2015 BMus (Hons) graduate founded her new online tutoring service to meet a demand for digital learning and to transform traditional teaching methods in music theory. With bespoke online programmes tailored to each student, she aims to provide accessible lessons about the building blocks of music in a fun, flexible and friendly environment.

As a Young Innovators Award winner, Rhiannon benefits from a £5,000 grant, one-to-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.

Rhiannon comments –

“In April 2020 I realised that the methods of teaching music theory had not moved with the times, especially as ABRSM are moving their theory exams online, so I started thinking about what I would like to change. I wrote a few things down, created some example resources, and before I knew it, I had a full-blown business idea. I decided to apply for the Young Innovators Award in August 2020.

“It was definitely a shock to win the award, but I’m so glad I went for it. The support I’ve received so far has been incredible and I am very excited to work alongside the mentors and other Young Innovators, who are all incredibly inspirational.”

In a recent radio interview with Heart News East, Rhiannon explained more about the genesis of her business idea and how she is feeling –

“I never thought I’d end up being an entrepreneur, so this is a big surprise for me. I want to create something for music students – or anyone who wants to learn about music theory – because music is really fantastic and Important. And I want to create jobs for musicians who have suffered because of the pandemic.

“The main point with my courses is that every student is paired with a music tutor. You can choose how to interact with them, and the important thing is you will always be guided by a real person.

“I haven’t had a gig since March. Performing usually gives me the majority of my income. I had a lot of spare time to think about this idea. I knew there was a I need. Then I saw the advert for this award and I thought ‘all I can do is go for it and see what happens’. It’s been incredible to have this opportunity. The award has opened a lot of doors. It’s given me stability.”