Hi, my name is Trevor Darmody. Both my wife (Denise) and I run The Waterford Academy of Music & Arts. We originally opened our doors as a guitar school under the name Flying Fingers in 2003, and within a few years had established ourselves as the number one guitar school in Waterford. In the following years, Flying Fingers had grown considerably, branching out in to many other musical instruments. This growth culminated in a relocation to new, purpose-built premises in 2009, located at Passage Cross on the main intersection of the Dunmore East / Passage East / Waterford City Road, only minutes from Waterford city center. Warmly welcomed by all of our students, the new premises offered the most technologically advanced facilities for music training in Ireland’s south east. In 2010, with the introduction of the dramatic arts to the school’s prospectus, Flying Fingers was renamed in order to more accurately reflect the service that we offered to Waterford and the South East. It was officially christened the Waterford Academy of Music & Arts in June 2010.
At our core, we take a fun and inspiring approach to music and drama education and have a lively and inclusive atmosphere which instills a love and passion for the arts. To do this, most of our courses for children are group based, which is an environment that children thrive in the most, helping to motivate each other as well as enjoy it as a social occasion.
To ensure that each child progresses consistently along with the class we feel that the parent has an important role to play in what we do, and so we involve them in the process. When a young student joins our Academy, we invite the parents to attend an orientation lesson where we educate the parent as to what it is we are trying to achieve with your son/daughter, detailing the timeframe, what’s expected of both student and parent, our ethos, etc. We believe that a sustained teacher-parent relationship is crucial to the student’s success, whatever it is that success may be.
We cater for two types of students, 1) The student who wants to learn to play an instrument/sing/dance/act for recreational use only, i.e., not for the purpose of reaching extreme levels of performance ability. (In fact, most parents send their children to our school to help round them out as people during their up-bringing, not so that their child can have a professional career in music or drama). 2) The student who wants to take it all the way!
With these two types of students in mind, graded examinations are an option in our Academy, not a rule. In fact, much of our approach to teaching beginners does not follow traditional methods. Indeed this varies on what course we are talking about, but in general we take the approach that balances the student’s happiness with what produces the most effective results. In some cases, the path of graded examinations is not what produces the best results, and so instead we may follow other methods, such as the Suzuki method, or a proprietary method. Of course you are encouraged to speak at length in person with us about this before enrolling.
Throughout a students stay here at the academy, they will have the opportunity to attend and perform in motivational low pressure Open Mic nights, small recitals and plays, travel on school trips to see the professionals performing, and even perform at our own end-of-year showcase at the Forum and the Theatre Royal.