Transcript Snapshot 002 – Candace Hamm

Transcript: Snapshot 002 – Candace Hamm

Transcript for Snapshot 002 – Candace Hamm

[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!

Let’s get started.

Welcome back. We are doing a special series on the podcast this summer called Studio Snapshots. Rather than the in depth process oriented interviews you are used to hearing, these rapid fire interviews give us a glimpse into a guest’s studio at a moment in time. They’re part reflection, part anticipation of the future, and fully celebration of where these teachers are today.

Today, I’m talking to Candace Hamm, a returning guest from episode 91. You may remember Candace for her large private studio and conservatory prep program. Here’s Candace’s Snapshot.

Hi, Candace. Welcome back to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here for this Studio Snapshot. Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly about your studio?

[00:01:19] Candace Hamm: Yeah, thanks for having me back. So my name is Candace Hamm. My studio is located in Steinback, Manitoba, Canada. So that’s very close to the US border. Years in business. So , I’ve been teaching full time now for over 10 years and it’s basically just me. My studio is a sole proprietor and I teach about 65 students in a year, and that’s basically all you need to know about the studio.

[00:01:47] Andrea: And listeners who wanna hear more of your story can go back and listen to your full in-depth interview. And in that you alluded to how summers were a little bit different in your studio, and so that’s why I was eager to have you back for one of these Studio Snapshots to hear a little bit more about what summers are like in your studio.

So let’s do review questions. What are you celebrating from the last school?

[00:02:05] Candace Hamm: I think for us, the biggest thing is being able to return to recitals, performances, competitions, that sort of thing. My kids have really, really loved that. We’re doing the first full size, 150 people in the audience, recital that we’ve had in over two years now on Monday. So that’s super exciting.

[00:02:25] Andrea: That’s huge. Good for the soul.

[00:02:27] Candace Hamm: It really is.

[00:02:28] Andrea: Thinking back to the last year, how were you challenged either personally or as a business person?

[00:02:34] Candace Hamm: Yeah. So I think for me, if I had to label a one biggest challenge, it was that I actually realized I need to streamline everything way down. So I’ve actually cut some hours for next year. I’m not gonna be teaching quite as much. I’m changing a bit of how I do things. Basically taking everything and going, okay, what’s really, really working well, what excess can I cut off so that I can do my very, very best at a smaller list of things. Cuz it just got too big and I did feel the exhaustion and a little bit of burnout this year.

[00:03:02] Andrea: Did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone last year?

[00:03:06] Candace Hamm: Well, for sure, I started doing theory, video lessons as opposed to teaching it in the lesson. So what I did was just last summer, I prepped an entire set of video lessons going through all the chapters in the theory method that I use. And then I just linked the students who are working on those levels to the videos every week. They’re all unlisted playlists on YouTube and it works smashingly well. I’m planning to keep doing it,. I’m gonna redo a couple of levels just to tweak some things and polish the overall kind of format up. And then I think we’re gonna keep doing it. It worked amazingly well, so it was a good risk to take.

[00:03:41] Andrea: Excellent. Yeah. So what, what was the general takeaway from that in terms of like risks you might approach in the future or how you would approach those risks?

[00:03:48] Candace Hamm: Basically, I think that as long as everything’s well prepped and then the kids are introduced to it, they have enough time to get used to the idea that it can work really, really well. So I definitely had to kind of coach them through the first two or three weeks to make sure that they like went back and used the videos and got used to using the emails as opposed to having me write their coaching. But once that went in, once they had the prep time and the slide in time, they adapted really, really well. So that was very encouraging.

[00:04:13] Andrea: Nice. And what do summers look like in your studio? Both for your students and then for you?

[00:04:18] Candace Hamm: Yeah, so it’s typical here in, in the province, Manitoba. I don’t really know anybody who goes, who teaches throughout the summer. So like everybody else I will be taking the summer off.

My students all get a short fun list of assignments that could be anything from, you know, create a silly song and make a video to it, up to learn five easier pieces and show me in fall up to memorizing a piece. It varies according to age. So that’s what they’re doing. And we try to make it fun. They get to draw them outta the hat. Nobody knows what they’re gonna get. And so that’s their stuff.

On my end. I prep my entire studio year for the next year because I teach so much, I don’t have time to do prep for the most part during the school year. So I do it during the summer, so it’s just done and I can kind of copy everything I need and have it ready to go.

[00:05:04] Andrea: Excellent. And you talked a lot about that in your previous episode, but what specifically are you prepping this summer for next year?

[00:05:10] Candace Hamm: Well, this summer I’m getting ready to do a music history focus with the studio in fall. So every week they’re gonna have a different music history related activity. So they’re gonna be learning about a different instrument every week and then kind of a little bit of the history behind that. We’re also gonna be working on getting back into more of a, you know, competition festival exam, those sorts of mindsets as we kind of return to something a little bit more normal.

So I’m prepping some curriculum where they will relearn how to deal with the pressure in those kinds of situations, how to prepare for performances, how to work on that stuff. And then literally all my activities: Everything that we do in the studio for the year, all the games, all the sight reading, all the rhythm stuff. It’s all done ahead of time. It’s flexible. I can shift as I need, but it’s all done and ready to go.

[00:05:57] Andrea: Nice. Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.

[00:06:00] Candace Hamm: Well, yes, it does. It takes about a month of, I work basically the whole morning for a month during my summer break and then I take the afternoons off. And then after that I get the last six weeks off to just relax.

[00:06:11] Andrea: All right, nice. And this is meant to be fun. But what’s one project or area of your business, where you might spend irrational amounts of time just because you enjoy it, or you might be a little crazy, whatever.

[00:06:24] Candace Hamm: Okay. So I am a person who likes everything to coordinate. And right now the other thing I’m doing besides the full-on studio prep is I’ve been working on writing my own beginner method for my piano students and everything has to coordinate. So now I’m working on creating games to go with the method. That all have the same characters and all have the same vibe and going to buy stuffies to go with each of the technical exercises cuz they all animals attach to them. Every everything’s gonna be themed. Cause I like things to like look the same. So that’s where I’m going this summer.

[00:06:57] Andrea: All right. I love it. I think we all have these areas where we like, maybe are more involved than makes business sense, but it’s fun. Is there a book that you’ve read in the last year that you’d recommend for our listeners summer reading lists?

[00:07:12] Candace Hamm: Well, one book I actually really enjoyed kind of on the more general side, it’s called Practice Pie by Nicola Canton. And so I ordered multiple copies for the studio so that parents could borrow it as kind of part of the onboarding process to get them used to, “okay. How do we practice? How do we set up a routine?”

It’s super easy read. You can finish it in an afternoon, probably even less. And, and it’s not anything in depth, but I just really love the way it was presented. And so I think it’s a good resource for teachers to kind of go through so they know what their parents are looking at and then use in the studio. Yeah. So it’s available on Amazon.

[00:07:45] Andrea: Okay. Thanks for that recommendation. And where can listeners get in touch with you?

[00:07:50] Candace Hamm: Okay. So probably the best way is to find my Facebook or Instagram pages is that our Candace Hamm Piano. And I mean, we talked about this on the last interview, but people should be aware. My social media is mostly used for parents to get an inside view of lessons, to see whether my teaching is gonna be the right fit for them or not. So that’s definitely the focus that you’re not gonna see a whole bunch of teaching tips on there, but that’s where it is. That’s where people can find me.

[00:08:13] Andrea: All right, Candace. Thank you so much.

[00:08:15] Candace Hamm: You bet.

[00:08:22] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us again, Candace. We’ll include the link to Candace’s original episode in the show notes, which can be found at This week Business Building 101 is kicking off. In week one, we talk about nicheing down and finding our ideal students.

There is still a little bit of time to get in on this summer’s business building cohort, but not much. Details for that can also be found at That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week.

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