My name is Kandice Kreutner and I am the founder and Executive Director of The Kitchener Academy of Music.
This is the beginning of my story…
I began teaching piano lessons when I was 13 years old – in 1984. (Yes. That long.)
From 2011 until 2016, I owned and operated a private music studio called Keys with Kandice. Here I taught 20 to 30 students private, weekly piano and theory lessons.
In 2016, a friend of mine joined me to teach violin lessons. We called it Keys with Kandice and Friends… (ok. Lame but cute…) We placed a few lawn signs around our city and slowly students trickled in – with one exception – the summer! During the summer months, the studio was dry. And I don’t mean just the weather! As school ended and families left for cottages and beaches, and even their own backyards, it seemed that summer was always the drought for lessons and MONEY!! We ran a couple of summer camps but enrolment was always tentative – we never knew how many we could count on until literally days before it started. Then we spent the entire fall playing catch up – with students and their skills, their technique, their motivation and yes – bills!
This past August, I’d had enough. Not one single student – the whole, entire month.
Turn Around Time
I thought: I cannot live another summer or work another year knowing that this is looming before me. I have 5 children! We can’t go anywhere or do anything because we don’t have a penny to spend.
I decided that maybe it was time to start marketing. Not flyers door-to-door. Not sales calls. But maybe… let’s take the website up a notch. Maybe… let’s look at some cheap (ok. FREE) ads through Kiijiji – (Canada’s version of Craig’s List), let’s start surfing the web for ideas and strategies. That’s when I came across Quaver. I loved the passion that they showed about helping music teachers succeed. I loved their personal touch through email and real conversation about how to help make our music studios and schools grow.
The more I researched, the more I saw that the twin cities where we are located (Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario) are in great need of a music school. Not a stuffy, classical, no nonsense, expensive music school – we have at least 2 of those… but a FUN (with LOTS of musical nonsense J), “ALL rounded” – all styles, all genres, all instruments- music school! I wanted to build a year round Academy of Music that not only had students in the summer, but thrived in the summer. We would be packing in the students looking to be entertained, trained, engaged and having a blast learning instruments and making music at summer camps!
I began looking for teachers. I posted ads and I had my kids post ads on bulletin boards at the local Universities. Before I knew it, I had a guitar teacher, voice and piano teacher, another violin teacher and 2 more keyboard teachers. I fancied up the website and added The Kitchener Academy of Music to Google Business, posting Calls to Action once a week.
From August 2018 – with 18 students on the roster – to Christmas 2018 – we added 25 new students! And that doesn’t take into account the students we already had who wanted to bump up their lesson times to 45 minutes and one hour lessons. In four months, we tripled our income!
Growth is Possible
Now, I’m not saying that we’re even close to where I want to be. This is only the beginning of our story… but that growth shows me that this is possible! There are so many young families with music not offered in their local schools AND so many families where music IS offered in their schools that they want their children to continue building these skills and talents. Parents love to hear how “Music makes you Smarter” and especially in this day and age where so much comparison goes on through social media and YouTube – kids need things that help them fee self-confident and talented and successful.
This is what The Kitchener Academy of Music wants to offer to our community. We ONLY have teachers who love to share the joy of music – all music – with students of all ages, all abilities and with any instrument. We ONLY have teachers who are passionate about teaching students the music they love and want to learn.
Through all of the successes that I’ve seen (and mine is not even in the top 500…yet ;)) the one thing I know for sure is, you can’t do it alone. We need motivational tools, marketing tools, pedagogy webinars, scheduling software, things to help ease the burden of all the hats we wear. We need support systems and- we need each other.
Thanks Quaver and the Quaver community for your personal inspiration and encouragement!
The Kitchener Academy of Music
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