Deansgate music store Forsyth is offering free music lessons during national Learn to Play Day weekend next month. Lessons are available on piano, voice, and all the major woodwind, brass and string instruments, including harp.

Now in its 162nd year of continuous trading, Forsyth is Manchester’s oldest independent business and the largest general music shop in the UK. The store has supported the annual Learn to Play Day since its inception in 2012.

At last year’s fully-subscribed event, volunteer teachers at Forsyth gave 180 free individual music lessons on over 20 instruments – from guitar to balalaika, piano to harp – to learners aged two to 82, and got about 50 people playing ukulele in free group sessions.

The initiative gets bigger each year. In 2018 there was more demand for lessons than ever, with twice as many bookings at the store as the previous year.

“So the advice this year is to book early!” says Emma Loat, who manages the family business with her brother Simon.

“The reason Learn to Play Day has become so popular is that it offers you the chance not only to get your hands on an instrument but also to get some free expert guidance from a teacher.

“It can be daunting starting a new instrument, but if someone gets you playing a tune in your first 20 minutes you know you’re getting somewhere straight away.”

The music shop believes that taster lessons are a perfect way for children to try out a few different instruments before parents commit to a course of lessons in the new school year.

But they are also ideal for adults who have never had the chance to learn an instrument, or who would just like to experiment with a new one.

Forsyth is happy to provide instruments for the sessions to anyone who does not yet have their own. 

As well as Forsyth’s own instrumental specialists, teachers volunteer from all over Manchester and include students from The Royal Northern College of Music and The University of Manchester.

Everyone attending a lesson will receive a goody bag, including a voucher for special discounts, as well as advice and encouragement to help take their music further.

Learn to Play Day runs on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March. You can register for free taster lessons on 0161 834 3281 (ext. 204) or learntoplay@forsyths.co.uk.

What's on your mind?