Transcript Mini Interview: Grant Competition Winners + Interview with Jenny Bement

Mini Interview: Grant Competition Winners + Interview with Jenny Bement

Transcript for Mini Interview: Grant Competition Winners + Interview with Jenny Bement


[00:00:00] Andrea: Hey, it’s Andrea with Music Studio Startup, the podcast about the business of teaching music. Learn from the startup stories of music teachers who are doing incredible things with their studios. Be inspired by creating musicians who are branching out and thriving as entrepreneurs. Be empowered by the insights of experts who will help you grow your own studio.

Let’s get started.

I have winners to announce. As you know, earlier this month, we closed the application for our 2022 Studio Launch Grant Competition. This $1,000 grant is designed to help a new or newish teacher launch their studio. This week, the judges made their final decisions to select the grant competition finalists and grand prize winner.

I am being 1000% honest when I say I do not envy the job of the judges. They had an amazing pool of applicants to choose from, and they narrowed it down to five finalists. And from there to a single grand prize winner. The judges did this with such care and thoughtfulness for every individual who applied. I really cannot thank them enough for the attention and consideration they gave to this incredibly challenging task.

The five teachers selected as finalists were Alan Juno, Anna Showalter, Ethan Siegmiller, Katie Schrader, and Valerie Spitz. Congratulations to those five finalists. The teacher who was selected as the grand prize winner is, drum roll, please, Anna Showalter. Anna will be receiving a $1,000 cash grant sponsored by Duet Studio Management System and Music Studio Startup, a $500 gift card for instruments and supplies from Alamo Music Center, a one year Cascade Method Membership thanks to Tara Boykin, a $100 gift card for teaching supplies from Dynamic Doodle Co., a one on one technology session with Steve Hughes, and a full scholarship for the next cohort of Business Building 101.

Congratulations, Anna, and a huge thank you to everyone who applied. All eligible applicants also receive some exclusive discounts to help launch their studios. Duets Studio Management is generously giving each applicant a discount for a Duet subscription and Music Studio Startup is giving a partial scholarship to Business Building 101. And for the other four finalists, we decided to award full scholarships for the next cohort of Business Building 101. Now, in addition to the grant competition, we had a tag-a-friend giveaway happening on Instagram. This was a drawing to award another $500 gift card from Alamo Music Center. The winner of this drawing is, another drumroll please, Jenny Bement.

This was a completely random drawing, but when the judges told me who won, I was so excited. I happen to know Jenny and her studio because she participated in the very first cohort of Business Building 101. Jenny serves a very unique niche and has the biggest heart for her students. I just love knowing that her studio and students will benefit from this prize.

I’m actually gonna play for you today, a mini interview I did with Jenny back in January 2021 about her studio and her experience in the Business Building course. Site note, this course has been coming up a lot today and if you’re not familiar with it it’s perfect for teachers who want to build financially sustainable studios and careers.

We cover everything from branding to studio policies, from self-employment taxes to pricing. All the things you’ll want established to build a strong studio. Now Jenny, like a lot of teachers in Business Building 101, was not new to teaching but wanted to have a stronger handle on the business side of her studio so she could really pursue her mission. I’ll let her tell you the rest in our mini interview.

Hi Jenny. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being here today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your studio?

[00:04:03] Jenny Bement: Hi, my name is Jenny Bement and I am the owner and operator of Bement Music Studio in Phoenix, Arizona.

[00:04:11] Andrea: All right. And you were a participant in the Business Building program last summer and had a lot to share. Can you describe what your studio looked like prior to taking the course?

[00:04:22] Jenny Bement: Prior to taking the course with you? I wasn’t really sure on how to proceed on my transition from a performing arts substitute teacher to making a private lessons business. And so it kind of looked like a side gig and to my students, it was viewed as, oh, this is just something she does. And I kind of wanted to take it to the next level and really learn about business. Entrepreneurship runs in my family and I wanted to make sure I was holding that tradition and holding my own space too and making my own way.

[00:05:03] Andrea: And what made you sign up for this course?

[00:05:05] Jenny Bement: Well, I wanted to sign up for something that would give me a well rounded education on what it means to be a teacher in entrepreneurship and in business. And didn’t have the money to go back to college because, well, we’re all still paying off those loans, but I wanted to take something that could really help me pinpoint what I needed to do on a fast track and help me be successful and find a coach that would help me be successful. So I’m very, very grateful for your course.

[00:05:39] Andrea: Oh, well, thanks. Was there a particular question or issue that you were trying to address or looking for an answer?

[00:05:46] Jenny Bement: Not really is something specific, but I had a lot of concerns about the financial aspect of it because I that’s something I’m not familiar with as a teacher, you know, you deal with band booster money and on a small scale, but you don’t really have to do the day to day finances and overall forecasting. And that’s something that I was not familiar with. So that’s mostly why I took this course after talking with you in our initial interview. Now I feel so much better about managing money and finances and projections. And now I know all that legal business jargon.

[00:06:29] Andrea: That’s really good to hear. Yeah. There’s so much in finance, just like, so like the, the language around finance and I think everyone could benefit from a finance course. And I know there’s not time for that in every college degree, whether it’s music or science or anything, but there’s definitely value in being able to speak that language. So I’m glad you feel like you picked that up a little bit through the course. What was your biggest takeaway?

[00:06:53] Jenny Bement: I think my biggest takeaway was the financial spreadsheet. And I was almost overwhelmed by how much financial knowledge I needed to have and then how much I was lacking from not knowing a lot about finances. I think that was the biggest takeaway and also marketing and knowing your worth and your vision. Like really pinpointing what your vision is and being able to sell that to somebody in 30 seconds and making your values come through with that as well.

[00:07:29] Andrea: Yeah. You did a lot of work around that over the summer. Can you talk about, maybe what’s different in your studio now? Like what impact did that have? How do you approach that differently now?

[00:07:38] Jenny Bement: So the impact that it has had on my studio has been astronomical from the time where I was just focused on giving kids lessons and making them better musicians. Now I’m focused on making the family understand what the student is going through to put themselves in this position to go to college. And really it’s a whole family approach and not just a student center approach. Redefining that has been one of the biggest ways that I have made my studio different. Also by just making it run smoother and more organized and really making sure that I have my stuff together, so when somebody asks that I can give that information to them.

[00:08:32] Andrea: Yeah, you have a really unique approach with your studio. And I don’t know if you were doing this before the course, too, but it really seemed to, um, come through more clearly where, and maybe you can explain to the listeners a little bit about you’re not just giving brass lessons to high school students. You’re really viewing it as like a college prep. I believe you helped them with resumes and getting those things in order to fill out their college applications/ you do a lot around that, right? Can you kind of describe what you do?

[00:09:04] Jenny Bement: Absolutely. So the reason why I started my studio is because I grew up in a low income area. I grew up in a two parent household of entrepreneurs and we didn’t have a lot of money. We were on state assistance and there was just not extra for private lessons. And I really felt bad for those low income kids who didn’t have that resource to them. And their teachers were already tapped out by the end of the day and .They just didn’t have anything else to give.

So in my private lesson studio, we have a program where we do college prep and audition prep. Anywhere from headshots to resume building, to practicing interview skills. And that has really helped my students compete with the graduate assistant and people who are also at those auditions and have those skills that they didn’t grow up with because their parents were busy working or, you know, it’s a cultural perspective. And just having those skills and practicing those skills, just like their instruments has really improved their confidence and their ability to gain access to higher education. So we use music as a vehicle to get to higher education for free.

[00:10:27] Andrea: Yeah, I think that’s so neat. And I remember when we talked earlier, you said that a lot of your students might be first generation college students too. So recognizing that and how you’re also educating their families and communicating to them what kind of support their student needs to take these next steps and how they can be helping and participating? I think that’s a really powerful realization.

[00:10:50] Jenny Bement: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

[00:10:52] Andrea: Can you talk about how your studio has evolved over the last six months or so? Since the course.

[00:10:58] Jenny Bement: That is very interesting question. Before I was very unsure of myself. I had very little confidence in my ability to start a studio and really make it successful because I didn’t feel like there was a niche for me, but through using my studio as a college prep course and helping students gain these life skills, I’ve been able to really carve out this path and it has really exploded into something that I really did not expect at all. And I realized that I really do have a lot more power and confidence in myself and ability than I first thought and expected.

And because of your course, I was able to find that within myself and really look and be introspective and find that spark. I think that’s most important. What you do is you help people find their spark and their passion. And some of us have lost that from teaching over the years in public school. And I think, you know, one of the ways my studio has evolved is we make it exciting and make music about caring about each other more than just caring about the individual. That’s been really neat to see with my students and their families just kind of evolve over the last six months. And we’ve done a lot of community based work. Like we did a toy drive for toy donations where the three Native American centers here in Phoenix, we’ve been asked to donate more school supplies. We did a school supply drive in January, and so just seeing them care about other people has been really uplifting and heart feeling. And that’s been a real difference.

[00:12:50] Andrea: That’s really neat to hear. Do you have anything to share from your experience of kind of refocusing your studio as a place for not just music lessons, but this whole college prep experience. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with a teacher who might be like feeling some inkling to do something more specific or sort of shift their studio focus in the way that you’ve done?

[00:13:14] Jenny Bement: The biggest piece of advice that I would have is get to know your college professors and especially for your specific studio students who are at that junior and senior high school level. The professors here in Arizona have been so supportive. They ask me constantly if my students are going to their schools, and reaching out and maintaining that point of contact and communication line of communication with those professors and really selling your student to them. And that’s your job. It’s like more like an agent. Like you have to think less like a teacher and more like a music industry professional agent. And that’s kind of like how I think about it is like, okay, if I was marketing an actress or an actor, like what would I want to do? Well, they would need a headshot. They would need a resume. So I’m like, well, why can’t that be the same thing for a musician? And it really has given us a special little edge in an audition process. So you just have to be willing to think outside of the box and put yourself outside of that box and tell your student, Hey, this is crazy, but just hang in there with me because it might work and people are more trusting that way, I think, when you get creative with the process.

[00:14:43] Andrea: That’s such a great way of describing how your role has really shifted to from being teacher to more of professional matchmaker almost between students and the colleges they might one day attend.

[00:14:56] Jenny Bement: It’s actually, it’s so much fun. And it’s like, oh, well, I don’t think this one would fit your personality, but I know this one would take care of you like a mom, and this is what you really need. And they’re like, oh, okay. Like, it’s not just about the money. It’s about the experience. And they’re like, oh, I understand now.

[00:15:17] Andrea: And that’s such great expertise to be able to share with your prospective students and their families who might be uncertain about the next stage in their child’s life. And what goals do you have for your studio in the coming year?

[00:15:30] Jenny Bement: Well, my goals are to get more involved in the indigenous community out here in Arizona. I really feel like my specific skillset would really help and inspire other children on reservations or indigenous communities and help their families grow. So I’m trying to look for sponsors so I can get those kids the lessons that they need.

I kind of wanna make a mobile studio out of like a minivan, like a mini bus, and repurpose it for that so we can travel to more far away places. So those are big dreams, big goals. Hopefully we can accomplish it.

[00:16:15] Andrea: All right. And where can listeners get in touch with you and follow along with your studio?

[00:16:19] Jenny Bement: So listeners can get in touch with me on my personal Facebook page, or they can contact me through my business Facebook page at Bement Music Studio. Also on Instagram at Bement Music Studio, and soon to come, we’re going to have a website up and running. So look out for that. And I’m so excited to see what comes.

[00:16:47] Andrea: We’ll put all those links in the show notes. All right, Jenny. Thank you so much.

[00:16:51] Jenny Bement: Thank you.

[00:16:58] Andrea: I think you can see why I was excited for Jenny to receive the Alamo Music Center gift card. Her studio has such a compelling vision, and I know she’ll put this gift card to good use. With that, I’d like to say a final thank you to all our sponsors for this year’s grant competition. For Duet, Alamo Music Center, Cascade Method, Dynamic Doodle Co., and Virtual Piano Studio. You guys really made this competition possible. Check out the show notes for today’s episode at to see links for all the finalists and winners. And if you’re curious about Business Building 101, you’ll find links for that there too.

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back soon with a special summer podcast series.

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