The flourishing Wearside music school which has created jobs during the pandemic

A music school has taken on more staff after battling through one of its toughest years.

Sunday, 14th February 2021, 7:00 am

Sweet Symphony has done so well during the coronavirus that it has taken on extra teachers to cope with lockdown demand for music.

And now the Washington-based firm run by Louise Bell has been nominated for a Portfolio business award.

Louise told how Sweet Symphony had recovered from a rocky start under restriction to become more of an online presence with Zoom sessions and now has 400 students who enjoy music lessons online.

Music teacher Louise Bell from Sweet Symphony. Picture by FRANK REID

Louise constantly researched new materials which could be shared and used across a computer screen.

And when the studio was allowed to open, the company also put in measures to help with social distancing, including rearranging all teaching rooms to ensure maximum distance and clear plastic screens as barriers between individuals.

There’s been fresh recruitment too. Louise said: “I have taken on a drum teacher and a piano teacher. During the first couple of months of the pandemic when we were all working from home, I lost a lot of students.

"But once we got back in June, we got a massive surge in new enquiries and we recruited new teachers.”

Louise Bell of Sweet Symphony which has created jobs during the pandemic. Picture by FRANK REID

It has been a complete turnaround in fortunes for Louise who feared last year that she would ‘have to lay off a lot of teachers.

"We rallied though and we have managed to pull it back. We are now in the same position as pre-lockdown and there is still a love of music in the North East.”

He said Wearside had ‘faced economic crises head-on and come through them with the same steadfast focus and work ethic’.

Louise Bell of Sweet Symphony. Picture by FRANK REID

Sweet Symphony becomes the latest in an impressive list of entries for the awards but there is still plenty of time for others to put their names in the hat.

We are also delighted to welcome on board the partner sponsors for this year’s awards and they aindude Gentoo, the Autism Society, Station Taxis and Bradley Hall.

Now comes your chance to enter the 2020 competition. To do that, follow the details below.


The Sunderland Echo Portfolio business awards.

Small Business of the Year (under 10 Employees).

Medium Business of the Year (11-50 employees).

Large Business of the Year ( over 50 employees).

Employer of the Year.

Apprentice of the Year.

Technology of the Year.

City Centre Business of the Year.

Creative Industries Award.

Sole Trader of the Year.

New Business of the Year.

Special Community Business Award.

Best Green Business Award.

Social Enterprise Award.

Best Training Provider Award.

Exporter of the Year.

Women in Business Award.

Leisure Business Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award.

Overall Business of the Year.


Make sure you enter before the closing date for nominations. Then, the judges will whittle down the field into a shortlist.

All of the chosen finalists will get to attend the grand finale on Thursday, June 24 at the Stadium of Light.

To nominate, email [email protected]

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