Try your hand at music with free lessons at The Bunker open day
Music-lovers are being invited to unlock their hidden talents with an open day at Sunderland’s much-respected Bunker.
The backbone of Sunderland’s music scene, The Bunker, in Stockton Road, is throwing its doors open this weekend to host an open day for the community to take part in various musical activities aimed at inspiring anyone with a love for music.
The music studios in Stockton Road, which were refurbished during lockdown thanks to a successful Crowdfunding campaign and a grant from the UK Community Renewal Fund, was administered by the NE BIC, has seen a rise in demand for music lessons from new students and studio time from new artists.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, it was reported that sales for musical instruments rose by 87%, spawning a new generation of music makers. And The Bunker is hoping to inspire these new musicians with an open day of interactive group workshops and free one-to-one lessons, run by in-house tutors covering guitar, ukulele, vocals, bass, drums as well as DJing and music production.
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Kenny Sanger, managing director at The Bunker, has seen the demographic of students change over the past few years.
He said “It is really encouraging to see the amount of young and older people picking up instruments for the first time, we are here to provide a friendly space for them to come in and develop their skills and perhaps even start a band.
“We have students as young as five-years-old and as old as 75-years-old, who come in each week for lessons. Hopefully, the whole family can come down to our open day and enjoy something new, because music and The Bunker really is for everyone.”
Due to the success of their weekly workshops, which include music groups for home educated children, band clubs for both young people and adults who are looking to join a band, a music production session and a singing club for under 18s, as well as music and employability support for unemployed adults, The Bunker is to launch a new pop choir for adults, with a free session and a performance at the open day.
Guitarist, Michael Clare, 62, who attends the Tuesday Band Workshop, with a group of other adults, said: “Thanks to these workshops at The Bunker, I have made some great friends, even started a band.
"It’s refreshing to be playing and making music with other people, it’s helped me in so many ways and the staff make it extremely fun and easy to understand. I’d recommend it to anyone, just give it a go.”
As part of the open day, there will also be a chance for karaoke kings and queens to record a song in the new recording studio, or for families to watch a live performance from a whole host of local acts in the new showcase venue.
Sound engineer Phil Jackson, who performs around the North East in local bands, as well as operating PA systems at the gigs in The Bunker and a number of other venues around the city, said: “I’ve been coming in to the Bunker since I was a kid, my dad and brother are also in bands. It’s just a great place to come if you love music.
“We also get a lot of singers coming into the studio for the first time, or who perform at our gigs, and who then go away over the moon with their final recordings. If anyone wants to give it a try, just come along. Although, people can just turn up, to avoid disappointment, you can call to book a specific time slot for a lesson or a recording.”
*The Bunker’s open day will take place on Saturday, July 30, from 11am to 4pm, and all activities are free to take part in. For more information, check out The Bunker CIC on Facebook or call 0191 5671777.