Klub Muzik – The Club of Choice for Tramore’s Youth
A little background to Klub Muzik
Klub Muzik is a social enterprise that has been running in the Riverstown Community Centre, Tramore, County Waterford since 1996. The Klub runs classes for children and adults in some nineteen different instruments including drums, guitar, keyboards, violin, piano accordion, flute, tin whistle, saxophone, bass and mandolin. They also offer training in vocals, choir, music theory, art and drama. They operate an instrument loan scheme for those that cannot afford/choose not to buy musical instruments, which allows children to get a taste of different instruments without a major initial investment in equipment. They also run an afterschool music programme with Glor na Mara a local primary school and a band mentorship programme for local teen bands.
Klub Muzik aims to bring music to the masses at affordable prices. The demand for these classes is huge and the fact that they keep the costs low, gives the children a chance to develop their ability to learn to play music or act which many could not afford to do nor would have access to otherwise. The club is growing in numbers with over 300 children attending classes in 2011.
They work with children who wish to perform Irish traditional music and main stream rock and roll. The children and teens are encouraged to form their own bands. The Klub is currently mentoring seven established teen bands and six newly formed youth bands that use the facility and community centre to rehearse their music. To facilitate the band mentorship a number of tutors work voluntarily at weekends with the bands. They run summer workshops every year for music, art and drama (MAD Class), bands, percussion, traditional music, dance and music expression.
Klub Muzik is probably the only organisation in the town to cater for so many children in after school activities. They run teen gigs in the winter months, staged a two night concert in 2011, and coordinate battle of the bands at the Tramore Surf & Sea Festival. The Klub aims to help the pupils progress further, work together and learn about song writing and recording.
The Klub is supported by the Arts office, Waterford County Council and Waterford LEADER Partnership who help with grant aid for some of the projects the club runs i.e. Drama, Circus/Street Performance summer workshop Asylum Seekers Music Workshop, purchasing new equipment and equipment hire etc.
Interview with Kay Nugent, Klub Muzik co-founder, voluntary administrator and tutor, July 2011
How did it all come about?
The club was originally founded by David and I, David has a background in youth work and was involved in a youth club in the centre back in the mid-1990s. There was an interest in music from kids and David managed to secure some funding for the purchase of key boards from the Music Network. He approached me to come in and teach the group and things just went from there. My background is in music, having trained in piano and played in bands for many years.
What is the Klub’s structure?
Klub Muzik is a company limited by guarantee. It has charitable status and is not for profit. The Klub is managed through a voluntary board of directors with David and I providing for its voluntary day to day management and administration. This involves book keeping; class programming; general administration; coordination of fundraising/sponsorship and being a general dog’s body!
The Klub has no employees, they operate through service agreements with freelance tutors. The Klub provides these tutors with access to the students and the use of their facilities, instrument rental schemes, booking referrals etc. We agree the pricing structure with each tutor to ensure that class rates are set at an affordable level and that class sizes are kept to manageable/appropriate sizes. We try to avoid advance fee payment as this can be an obstacle for many families. It is very important that the tutors we use have the right ‘fit’ for Club Muzik. In 2011 some 11 tutors were linked to centre.
Tell us about the site and buildings
We started out as ‘tenants’ of the Riverstown Community Centre alongside a variety of other community organisations. We soon found that demand for classes meant that more space was needed and so with the help of grant funding from the Department of Community, Rural and Gealteacht Affairs and Waterford County Council along with our own fundraising efforts we built an extension to the community centre in 2006. The Klub Musik facility includes three classrooms, a small hall and an office. This space is for the sole use of the Klub. We also, on occasion, use the facilities of the community centre itself, and other venues around the town for concerts and events. The Riverstown Community Centre/Klub Muzik site is owned by Waterford County Council, on completion of the building works the Klub Muzik building was handed over to the Council for legal and insurance reasons and is leased back to the club for a small monthly rent.
The reality of social inclusion
25 – 30% of the children who attend the Klub come from the more disadvantaged areas of the town. We have a policy that anyone who cannot afford to pay for classes will have lessons subsidised where possible. We have bought some second hand equipment which is loaned, often at no cost, to these children. The children work in groups and I think it is important that disadvantaged children do not feel left out by not being able to keep up with the others in the class, so having access to lessons and their own instruments is of utmost importance to their progression.
In terms of the success of these social inclusion policies we have never encountered any problems socially from any of our pupils and encourage local teenagers from the Riverstown area to come in and be part of the workings of the club. Our aim is to give them involvement in anything they have an interest in, be that music, painting the buildings, given out leaflets, helping with fund raising etc. By working closely with this age group we feel that we are providing them with an alternative to drugs, alcohol or antisocial behaviour. All children deserve a chance to develop within their community and we feel that at Klub Muzik we are providing just this service.
The money questions
The Klub is funded through a mix of trading income (proportion of all tuition fees; summer camp income; equipment rental; entry fees for concerts and events); fundraising (primarily through a golf classic and Christmas raffle); donations; and an arts office grant.
On an average year we would generate about 45% of our income from trading activities, 30% comes from fundraising and donations and the remaining 25% comes in from grant funding.
The income is offset against club costs such as rent, heat, electricity and insurance with the balance invested in the upkeep of the centre itself, the purchase of equipment and materials, subsidised lessons etc.
What does the future hold?
We are hoping to expand the centre to include a larger hall, sound proofed band practice room; and a multifunctional recording studio/teaching room. This development is in response to the demand from the young bands for somewhere to practice and record that is affordable and secure. It will help to bring the music in Tramore on to another level with skills developed in recording etc. It will also give us an added income stream where a fee can be charged to hire the facilities and recording services. The plans for this extension have been drawn up and we are currently in negotiations with the council, grant funders and lenders. We would love to have the new facility up and running in 2012.
We have been approached to replicate the Klub Muzik concept into a community in Ferrybank on the far side of Waterford City. If we go into that we would use the same systems and ethos as we do here and possibly also use the some of the same tutors in new centre. We hope to start this off with a pilot in September 2012.
Although we are desperately in need of administration and operational support, we cannot foresee employment of staff at the moment. The centre income simply wouldn’t cover that. We have prepared an application to employ someone on a community employment scheme, this would have to be someone with interest in music and some administration ability. Hopefully this will come through this year.
We have seen kids who started with us as students coming back fifteen years on as tutors, some have gone off to study music at higher level, join bands and perform on the big stage. Others are simply enjoying music and have started sending their kids to learn the same! We are so happy to be part of generating the environment for growth of music and musicianship in Tramore. We have seen the popularity of the Klub rise steadily year on year and hope that this continues long into the future.
For more information about Klub Muzik contact:
Kay or David at Klub Muzik, Riverstown Community Building, Riverstown, Tramore, Co. Waterford. Or telephone: Kay: +353 87 9577661 or David: +353 86 3180143.