Learn an instrument, take music lessons or hire a rehearsal and recording studio in Leighton Buzzard

“If you do what you love, you’re going to love where you are,” – that’s the philosophy of Charlene Sydee-Carr, who has inspired generations of people to discover the joys of making music.
Learn an instrument in a fun and nurturing environment. Picture – suppliedLearn an instrument in a fun and nurturing environment. Picture – supplied
Learn an instrument in a fun and nurturing environment. Picture – supplied

Charlene runs Twenty Two Studios, which is now in its 20th year. It was the first rehearsal studio in Bedfordshire, Hertforshire and Buckinghamshire , and that is still going strong is testament to its success.

But, since taking over the reins in 2019 Charlene has transformed the Leighton Buzzard studio and opened it up to the entire community as a place to love, learn and enjoy music. Teaching the right music in the right way can be “life-changing”, she says.

As well as offering 1-2-1 lessons in a range of instruments, helping people record music, perform or come together to form bands, the studio also offers rehearsal space, instrument hire, a music shop and – from April this year – a Saturday music school called Amplify Academy for youngsters from six to 17.

Learn through enjoyment

How many of us have given up on music or seen our kids stop playing or practicing because they found it boring, or irrelevant? Charlene’s approach to teaching music is a far cry from the somewhat staid group sessions often provided in more formal settings.

“We teach in whatever way people want to take their musical journey,” she explained. “When it comes to children at the starting point of music I want them to have the best experience possible.”

“If you enjoy it, it gives you a feeling of purpose, it can give people a focus and it can be life-changing,” she said.

One thing Charlene has noticed from her teaching experience is that people learn far quicker outside a school or home environment – being in a genuine recording studio with opportunities to make music with others, rehearse and take your learning into performing for others is a huge incentive.

Having taught people music from the ages of four and up, Charlene honed her teaching skills in schools and through private lessons, and has a wealth of experience teaching youngsters with special educational needs, young people who may be excluded or on limited hours in lessons or who are unable to attend school due to a variety of mental health issues.

Charlene has worked with one group of young people since they were four. They played together from a young age and, through a shared love of Nirvana, formed a tribute group – Nerdvana – and, although still only in their mid-teens, now play at festivals and venues across the UK.

Getting the grades

At Twenty Two Studios recognised achievements can be attained through its affiliation with RSL and Trinity examination boards. It is an exam centre so people will be taking their exams in familiar surroundings

But there is also a world of other opportunities open to all ages and all ability levels – from a place to practice your drums without annoying the neighbours to learning the craft of music production – and Charlene is keen to emphasise that there is no pressure to sit for grades.

For those whose academic abilities may not suit sitting for musical exams there is a Trinity Arts Award, which is an option or people with additional needs who can attain a qualification without the added pressure of an exam.

What’s on offer?

Whatever you want from music lessons, be that learning to play as a hobby, picking up an instrument that’s been gathering dust for decades, wanting to hone your skills, form a band, or you’re a parent wanting your children to explore, learn and progress – with or without formal grades – then this is the place to do it.

The main instruments taught are guitar, bass, drums, piano, ukulele and cello, but you don’t have to learn an instrument at all; if being behind the scenes is more for you, there are courses in music production. There is even a space in the studio to learn and practice live-streaming or the skills of being a DJ – so if you’re a drum’n’bass fan this could be your groove.

Amplify Academy

The academy begins in April and will run on Saturdays for three distinct age groups – six to 10-year-olds; 11-14 and 14-17.

There are a maximum of 12 spaces per age group and no prior musical experience is needed. Each group will be split into two ‘bands’ of six who will sign up for a term, and work collectively to learn and rehearse, before a final performance together.

“People learn differently and being in a group environment, using different styles of learning and creating a fun environment with the goal of a performance at the end of it can be really inspirational,” says Charlene.

About Twenty Two Studios

“It’s a musical hub that’s been serving the community with bands, artists and touring bands using it for years – in part thanks to its great location,” says Charlene. Its easy access on an industrial unit in Arcacia Close, makes it easy to access and park and with ground-level access makes getting equipment in and out so much easier.

“I overhauled it completely when I took it over in 2019, creating much more comfortable surroundings,” Charlene says. The hub includes the music school, rehearsal and recording studios and a music shop selling essential music accessories such as guitar strings, as well as instruments.

With plenty of parking outside, ground-level access and ramps it is ideal for carrying instruments and equipment in and out and for anyone needing wheelchair access.

Find out more

Visit the website to find out more about 1-2-1 music lessons, instrument hire, signing up for the Amplify Academy or any of the rehearsal or recording facilities.