Latest News | 29 September 2022

20 years of striking a chord with young musicians

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This summer, Hot House Music visited New York City for three weeks as part of its first tour after the pandemic – and in December, its talented musicians will be performing at Marketing Derby’s annual Christmas party. Here, we catch up with founder Jon Eno about how Hot House, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, is helping young people realise their full potential.

Jon Eno, founder of Hot House Music

Q: Hello, Jon, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and Hot House Music?

A: At 47 years old I am just about ready to accept that I am no longer a teenager.

Hailing from Ripley, in Derbyshire, I grew up in a musical household that believed music helped people communicate and communication helps resolve conflict and create opportunity.

While I found secondary school somewhat challenging (largely because I failed to invest the appropriate amount of effort), my subsequent time at Huddersfield University, Leeds College of Music, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Derby all served to help shape and inspire my ethos towards life.

Hot House sparked into life back in 2002 when I had just returned from a tour around the Caribbean as a trumpet player (imagine the Union Gap Band in Hawaiian shirts backing Gary Puckett).

I aspired to create a space and opportunity for young people to focus on what they excelled at, rather than what they struggled with (musically and academically speaking).

It proved to be very popular and after 20 years of delivering #inspirationalyouthmusic, I can proudly acknowledge that our talent from Derby is currently working with: Hans Zimmer (film composer), Noel Gallagher (Oasis) and many more superstars around the world.

I was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen in 2019 for services to education with a British Empire Medal, which has served to inspire me to continue supporting young people from Derby. We have the best home-grown talent in the UK!

Q: So, who would you say are your ‘customers’?

A: Hot House Music is now a national network of music schools that serve young people between the ages of six to 18.

We believe that all young people in the UK have the right to a Hot House education and aspire to reach thousands of young people each week.


Q: How has the business evolved over the years?

A: Both politics and economic environments both drastically effect how Hot House music works within our city.

While we sincerely believe that music (while only a small part) needs to be a part of all education, we have to navigate the same challenges as most other businesses – Covid, recessions, White Papers.

However, we have always been fortunate enough to receive excellent mentorship from truly inspirational people including Bob Betts (Smith of Derby) (BH), Elfed Howells (Dolby), Tina Attenborough (Law), James Thimont (Amazon), the list goes on and on.

They have helped us develop into a franchise model that we hope will launch another 99 music schools around the UK over the next three to five years.

And I would like to thank the whole team at the University of Derby for their excellent governing of our apprenticeship programme and Marketing Derby for their unwavering support for all things positive from Derby. We exist because of them.

Q: You mention Covid as one of the challenges you had to negotiate. How did the pandemic impact the business?

A: I view the pandemic as a huge success for Hot House Music. It forced us and our staff to evolve and develop strategies to ensure our service is more resistant to external challenges.

We grew by over 17% and continue to work with some sensational educational establishments.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about how you overcame the challenges presented by Covid?

A: Reaching our customers through an online digital space was initially scary as music has an analogue history.

However, Zoom and Teams transformed our individual and group delivery and rather surprisingly the security of our sessions.

I now have a plethora of concepts that need to be “rolled out”, if only there were more than 24 hours in every day!

Q: What new innovations did you adopt to help you through?

A: We began work on an AI project to reach young people through their screens at home and the learning we experienced helped guide and shape our digital platforms.

It was a very exciting time that could have been made even more successful if the UK had a world-class digital infrastructure.

Q: What would you say are Hot House Music’s greatest achievements?

A: Being present. It would be easy to follow trends. However, I believe that education is best when there is consistency, so being in the city and building relationships that span decades leaves a legacy that benefits us all.

Of course, the 30 or so international awards for outstanding music education are welcome too!

Q: We see you were in the US this summer. What were you doing there?

A: July saw Hot House Music visit New York City for three weeks as part of their first tour after the pandemic.


As a social enterprise, we exist to positively improve the lives of young people through the transformative power of music.

We have a CSR that enshrines the principal tenets of #Access #Nurture #Employability and #Legacy in everything we do.

We deliver music lessons, ensembles, recording and international touring opportunities.


The tour to NYC helps us deliver on all of our tenets. We took six ensembles to NYC and performed in venues such as the Lincoln Center, USS Intrepid, Madison Square Park, Swing 46 and a number of crazy “flash mobs”.

While touring, we hooked up with the team from CHIC (Nile Rodgers crew) and recorded some tracks and worked with young people from Jersey.

Touring is the most challenging aspect of our mission but by far the most rewarding.


We hope to showcase Derby talent in Japan next year as part of the “twinning” celebrations. A very exciting time!

Q: What do most enjoy about your job?

A: I love travel and variety, knowing that each day is different is a real buzz.
Indeed, learning to love the “hard questions” has opened up a future that really feels special.

I have recently become involved with another incredible Derby based start-up called Digit Music who have created a truly sensational piece of gear that may revolutionise music making across the world.

It is exciting to know that companies such as Google and Apple are keen to be a part of this journey.

I recommend that all of the readers check out CMPSR by Digit – everyone will be able to become a part of a music world through this gamified process.

Q: What plans have you for the future of Hot House Music?

A: It feels as though I have been working on the future of Hot House Music for over 20 years and it is now the time to remind all of our stakeholders to “take a breath” and “raise their heads above the parapets”.

So, for the immediate future, I want Hot House to breathe in and have fun. I want our staff to smile and remember why they are doing this, what a huge lifelong impact they are having on the young people of Derby.

Above all, I want our young people to remember that life is fun and that it is not a race, we need happy and articulate people helping to shape the next generation, so in answer to the question… we are focussing on the fun, there will be time at the end of 2023 to look at a bigger plan.

Q: What does it feel like to be part of the Bondholder community?

A: We are a broad church that welcomes the small and the global with equal value and respect.

The passion economy has a home in Derby because of the Bondholder community.

The Bondholders care about the right things and support each other immensely.

With a few more green spaces and new trees being planted, Derby will continue to be at the vanguard of change.

Q: What is your opinion on Derby/Derbyshire as a place?

A: Derbyshire is an inspiration, it is the beginning of a journey, it is the final destination of a journey. Life is linear and you can go both ways!

Q: Thank you, Jon. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: I hope to see the realisation that Derby can deliver events on the international stage.

I believe we have the talent and the will. If we continue to develop the space and the strategy, I think we would be welcoming the world to our doorstep.

What better showcase for Hot House students than to perform to the world from our spiritual home?

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