After a 28-year career in public education, Mount Sentinel’s revered band teacher Rick Lingard quit his job to create his dream classroom in the basement of his Nelson home.
It was a risky move for somebody approaching retirement age, but he couldn’t stand the thought of another year trying to run the high school music program amid funding cuts. He saw his music teaching hours reduced and timetabling problems increased and the stress was impacting his health.
“I was suffering from chronic and daily headaches. I’d been to the hospital and doctors couldn’t find anything physically wrong with me,” Lingard recalled. “It was a symptom of the extreme stress I was under from no longer being able to do what I love in the public system.”
So this June he told the school he’d had enough. Within the week of his resignation, the headaches disappeared. He and his partner bought a new house to accommodate Lingard’s teaching studio and spent the summer renovating.
The Kootenay Music Academy welcomed its first students last week. Lingard is offering two types of weekly classes for aspiring musicians of all ages. The first is a composition/song writing class taught in his computer lab, where six brand new iMacs are loaded with the newest Logic Pro10 sound editing software. The other is an ensemble class, based in a fully equipped rehearsal space with miked instruments and a mix board ready for recording tracks.
“After years fighting for public music education, I’m finally having fun teaching music again,” Lingard said.
He already has 15 people enrolled in his semester-based programs and is hoping to attract about twice that number to make it a sustainable business. Currently his students are a mix of the high school seniors he taught at Mount Sentinel, home schoolers and adults who play their instruments as a hobby and want to get more serious.
No previous experience is required for the composition class, but to be part of an ensemble he asks that the students have at lease one year experience on their instrument and be taking private music lessons elsewhere.
“I want to help experienced musicians take their skill to the next level, whether they want to compose their own music or play with a band,” Lingard said, noting he’s especially interested in working with adults.
Students will be grouped with others with similar musical abilities and class times are scheduled outside regular work and school hours. For more information see kootenaymusicacademy.com or call Lingard at 250-352-0091.