Music teacher  Sahana Gero founded the world heartbeat music academy in Wandsworth with the hope that it would “bring the myriad of the world’s cultures together through music, by providing an environment in which people can create and share the music of diverse cultural heritages” – Sahara believes we are all connected by one thing: our heartbeat 

Can you briefly describe the academy and what it does?

It was founded to give young people the chance to play music. It’s also a charity so that young people who wouldn't have the chance to a learn  musical instruments are given a musical instrument and a teaching programme so anybody who walks through the door is a musician.

   What inspired you to create the academy, did you feel like there was a need for one in Wandsworth?

Absolutely. The academy was founded from the 51st state band which, in the early 2000s, became the largest concert band in London and was connecting young people to musical instruments and to music. As the cultural landscape of the community changed there was also a need for more musical programmes and more ways to connect young people to music which is how the academy was founded.

What is your favourite part about working at the academy?

I love working at the academy. I love serving the musical world in this way. It's a real privilege to work with a team of 37 musicians and volunteers; they are world class musicians and everybody is very serious and passionate about music. The quality, the passion and the attitude of the children who come here is incredible.

   Has the academy met or surpassed your expectations?

 Absolutely. Our landlord was amazing he gave us a years free rent when we starting up in exchange for some radiators and the community helped fix up this place ; it was derelict and now it's a beautiful music academy with a number of music studios.We originally  opened up with 1 or 2 music programmes to see how it went and now we even have to take night shifts because it has become so busy.

How many different music programmes do you run?

We have at least 18. I'll just name a few; we have : gipsy fiddle, Celtic fiddle, classical ,violin. We have all the different classical instruments. We have a jazz programme; song writing; radio master classes. We also have the 51st state band which is our biggest programme. We have a bass programme;  a pop keyboard programme; vocal programme it just goes on.

 How did the recent visits of the Brazilian musicians and the Argentinian music exchange last year influence the academy and it’s students?

We have a really great connection with Brazilian music. It was formed just after the 2012 olympics and the Brazilian ministry of culture wanted to link up Brazil, Rio and Brazilian music with the United Kingdom so we had a three month exchange with Brazilian musicians and since then they have come back three times. Brazilian music is very rich in culture so it suits our academy