Self-taught pianist opens music academy

Trevino Isaacs with one of his students, Garneth Warnick,16, during a music lessons.

A renowned Mitchell’s Plain pianist is living his dream, having opened a music school in an effort to keep children off the street.

Self-taught piano player, Trevino Isaacs 26, established the Mitchell’s Plain Music Academy in 2013, at his mother’s house in New Wooldlands – with just three members.

When, in 2014, the academy was officially launched, it was relocated to Woodville Primary in Woodlands.

Mr Isaacs said he educates children as young as seven years old, teaching them to play jazz, classical and pop music. “I started playing piano at the age of nine and turned professional at 15 years old. My passion for music compelled me to start offering music lessons in my mother’s living room in New Woodlands.

“Music has been and still is the only work I know. There are many students in the Woodlands and Mitchell’s Plain area who simply can’t afford to study music and our quality affordable training is giving them the chance to master instruments and grow their natural talent,” he said.

Mr Isaacs said his academy offered a safe environment where children could live a life free of violence, drugs and alcohol while developing their natural talent into something with purpose. The academy is one of 19 small businesses on the Cape Flats which were selected to take part in the sponsored Small Business Academy(SBA) programme offered by the Universty of Stellenbosch School. “Our growth has been organic, to where we teach 40 students currently.

“My selection to the SBA programme has had a major impact on how I structure and market the business. The knowledge I’m gaining will assist us to grow the business significantly and help us achieve our ultimate goal whereby we are in a financial position to assist more students who have the talent but simply can’t pay the tuition fees.” he said.

Mr Isaacs emphasised that his music school followed the Trinity College London syllabus, which was recognised by all the major universities in South Africa and the UK.

Classes are held at the Woodville Primary School on Monday and Tuesday between 5pm and 8pm. “I have big dreams for the school and my long-term goal is to offer music certificates, diplomas and degrees in addition to offering other subjects such as finance and computer literacy.

“In a world where knowledge is power we’d like to support the community in enriching themselves and their families,” he said.

One of the academy’s students, Brandon Baartman, 24, from Tafelsig told the Plainsman: “I joined the academy at the beginning of this year. And it really impacted my life because music is a something I wanted to do long time ago especially after my father died in 2010 and my mother became unemployed.

“I also want to teach music to share the knowledge I gained, with other people,” said Mr Baartman. He said he intended furthering his studies and getting a diploma.

Apart from playing the piano which he mastered at the age of nine, Mr Isaacs also taught himself the drums, guitar, bass-guitar, accordion and banjo. He will graduate from the SBA programme in November 2017, the same month that he will complete his final year of an advanced certificate in music.