Rock & Pop Foundation Owner and enrolled parent Steve Sammut

Look out for details below about the half price taster sessions!!

Rock & Pop Foundation

My personal journey began at the age of 8 where I was desperate to play the guitar and had encouragement from a father who was a professional full time percussionist enrolled in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for over 13 years.

Being the youngest of 7 children my other brother and sisters said I was the spoilt one as by the time I started to play mum and dad could just afford to pay for lessons.

Guitar lessons were offered at my middle school St Joseph’s Primary in Guildford where the option was either classical or folk lessons which seems strange now as we teach the guitar and cover a combination of both.

Because I had good finger picking technique behind me and quick chord combinations, I was taught how to read music and went straight in at Grade 2 classical guitar Trinity College of Music passing with a merit within 9 months of starting the classical guitar.

Fast forward, at 14 years old I was studying for grade 8 classical guitar and went through the usual teenage transition of becoming an adult. My father was convinced I was going to the Army Kneller Hall of Music, demanded a military style to practice (an hour a day) and constant nagging with phrases like “When I was in the Army I had to………. and so the story goes!! By 15 I quit playing the guitar!

Secondary school was not inspiring for me as if you didn’t play football your weren’t considered one of the crowd and me loving cooking and guitar meant I wasn’t one of the lads. A similar story rings true of a legend by the name of Ed Sheeran.

After choosing a path in Hotel and Management at college I started working in the Hotel trade and was offered a position with a Caribbean Cruise Line.

On one of my ships there was a crew talent show where crew were invited to play or perform. I switched back into performance mode and wowed the cruise director with my playing so much so that I was offered auditions to play in the show band. Fast forward 5 years later at the age of 28 I left my final ship, performed literally around the world as a professional musician with some very big names in a 6 star environment.

Having returned to the UK I got my first teaching position working for a county service music organisation that taught music lessons in schools. The first observation for me was a lack of personal service, syllabus, framework and common standards – the lesson delivery was poor and there was no consistency in the delivery. Some music services started guitar lessons using recorder books!! You would turn up to deliver a first guitar group lesson and 3 out of 6 children had a guitar and only half of them had remembered to buy books.

After training I eventually started my own schools and thought I needed to raise the standards in music education –  where there was no framework or syllabus I decided to write one. Within 9 months I wrote the first of the Guitar Trainer Series Books  using sports as a theme. Going back to my childhood of athletics and  sports training  my students were happy to call me coach, enjoyed their guitar training and worked hard to improve on their technique. After a while I had teachers coming to view my lessons and they soon bought into my schemes of work.

When I tried to standardise the concept to the county music service all my fresh ideas like, buying and hiring guitars for first lessons, delivering books direct to schools and even attending exam centres to tune and accompany kids, were not taken on board.

It was a frustrating time and I eventually left and 6 schools soon followed as well as other teachers who wanted to join me. Within the first year I had 4 teachers, 300 children all using my schemes of work and this was all operated  with a small home office and one Pentium PC.

Within 3 years we had 1000 children and expanded from guitar into keyboard, piano and drums. Finally in 2000, my scheme of work got nationally accredited by Rockschool who then worked alongside us to make sure our schemes of work had a meaningful qualification and pathway.

Some 40,000 children later we continue with the same principles we started with 20 years ago. A uniformed approach, Industry professional tutors, excellent customer service standards, an accredited scheme of work and now – the icing on the cake, we have college status with Farnham 6th form College to deliver Level 3 diplomas with Pathways to industry which brings me back to you as mums and dads who are building on your child’s skills and experiences for their future.

The Rock and Pop Foundation continues to grow from strength to strength and our online brochure has a range of activities and services to suit all your contemporary music needs as a school, parent or company. We now have a blueprint school in Germany as well as providing solutions for home school learners. The motto is “ the answer is yes , now what’s the question”

If you as a parent are not happy with the level of music education in your school, or looking for music lessons please call us for a meaningful chat and we can hopefully work with you as a parent or member of the school to find a solution to keep your children motivated. We always work from recommendation and hope to see you all soon.

These sessions are for ks2 and above aged children and sessions are based in Aldershot.

You can also find out more about the rock and pop foundation at: https://www.facebook.com/rockandpopfoundation/

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