Jenna Fan - Creative Close Up

Creative Close Up – Jenna Fan

Creative Close Up banner Jenna Fan
Creative Close Up is a feature series taking a closer look at the amazing work of the creatives who live and work in our district and beyond. This month we showcase the work of Jenna Fan

Jenna Fan smiling to the camera holding an awardTell us about yourself and your creative ventures

As a child I learnt piano and guitar, loved to sing and I was involved with lots of musical events both in and out of school. I learnt piano initially in a group class and benefited greatly from the sessions. For that reason, it was always my dream to start a music school, where children and adults could learn together in a social setting. However, I was encouraged to study engineering at university rather than music, so my career in music took a backseat. I realised early on that engineering wasn't my passion, but kept music as a hobby for a number of years while working in industry, and later in a small family business. Eventually I stopped work to start a family and concentrated solely on my three children, now 10, 8 and 7 for four happy years. When my youngest was born I decided I needed to get back to work and chose to pursue music - teaching piano and starting a pop choir - Fanfare Music was born.

I was keen that the music I taught was accessible, affordable and open to people from all backgrounds. My student numbers grew rapidly and just before the pandemic I took on another teacher to help meet the demand. When we entered lockdown I transferred both my choirs and all my piano lessons onto Zoom and managed to retain almost 100% of our student base. When we were allowed to meet in person again I took on another teacher to start teaching guitar and drums.

Eventually, we outgrew my home studio and we moved to RCM Business Park in Ossett, where we rented a space whilst renovating another. We now have a modern space with great facilities - 5 teaching rooms and a comfortable waiting area for parents and students. Student numbers continued to grow and now we have 15 teachers teaching piano, guitar, drums, woodwind, singing, violin, DJing, music production, musical theatre, drama and burlesque.

Our choir has expanded and now has over 50 members in Ossett, plus we have recently started a new sister choir in Morley. The two choirs come together to perform. We also lead corporate workshops - singing and songwriting with businesses as an alternative team building experience. This is an area we are trying to build this year.

My main passions are music and wellbeing, and I love seeing how music grows people's confidence and gives them the opportunity for mindfulness and fun. We teach all ages and I particularly enjoy teaching adults who thought they were too old, and then realised what they are capable of.

I also am Director of Go Pop CIC - a social enterprise set up to bring singing, music and the arts to people who don't routinely have access to the Creative Arts. I have worked with choirs, schools, colleges, asylum seekers, refugees, prisoners and people with mental health issues.

Personally, I am pursuing my childhood dreams of recording and performing original music. I've written songs as long as I can remember, but it's only as an adult that I've had the confidence to do anything with them. I am half of the duo Our Parallel Lives - an international collaboration with my friend from California. We met during the pandemic when our choirs worked together over Zoom. We are recording our second album this year. I am half of Amber Falls - Wakefield/Sheffield based indie folk/rock band and I also sing/play piano in various other groups.

What have been your highlights so far and is there anything you’re particularly proud of?

I'm proud to have made my dream of a music school a reality. Having so many teachers and so many instruments to offer is fantastic. I enjoy enabling people, who traditionally might not have had lessons, to follow their dreams. I enjoy providing work for and guiding young teachers through their first months of teaching and hopefully inspiring them to continue teaching for years to come. I firmly believe that, with hard work, anything is possible.

What have you got planned this year?

I am going to develop and record a selection of my own original songs as a solo artist.
At Fanfare Music we plan to develop our adult improvisation group and burlesque dance class, as well as our corporate workshops.
In May our choirs will perform their Spring concert, and at Christmas we will have a concert at Ossett Town Hall.
Our Parallel Lives is recording our second album this spring - starting this month through to April and we will record ten songs and music videos to start releasing later this year.


How do you envision your creative practices growing in the future?

I hope to continue growing the music school and choirs, offering more opportunities for creatives and individuals who want to explore their own creativity.

If you could give advice to anyone who might be thinking of starting a creative venture, what would it/they be?

Have a plan. It's easy to get caught in the creative side, doing what you love, but have a business plan/strategy and stick to it.
Find people to collaborate with. You won't always find the right people to start with, but keep looking because out there you'll find people who match your commitment and values and you'll make a great team.

It can be lonely so consider joining a business network, but if you find the right network for you, you'll find people who can offer advice and make connections.

You can find more out about Jenna by visiting the following links: