Transcript Snapshot 010 – Scarlette Kerr

Transcript: Snapshot 010 — Scarlette Kerr

Transcript for Snapshot 010 – Scarlette Kerr

[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.

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’re 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 a celebration of where these teachers are today.

Today, I’m talking to Scarlette Kerr. Here’s Scarlette’s snapshot. Hi, Scarlette. Welcome back to the podcast. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your studio?

[00:01:09] Scarlette Kerr: Sure. Thanks so much for having me back, Andrea. My name is Scarlet Kerr. I own a private piano studio called Music at 906 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve been running to my studio since 2020. So it’s been two years now and it’s crazy to believe it’s been that fast of time. And essentially, right now, it’s just me teaching out of my home. I have a studio of about 30 student. And yeah, I’m just loving it so far and trying to figure out how to navigate post-COVID world.

[00:01:39] Andrea: Post-Covid. . It’s a different thing. Oh, we had to figure out Covid, and mid-Covid, and late-Covid and yeah.

[00:01:44] Scarlette Kerr: Right. It’s a learning curve through every stage of COVID for sure.

[00:01:49] Andrea: And you were actually on the podcast two years ago when you had launched your studio, because you had also won our grant competition in 2020. So listeners can go back and listen to that if they want to see kind of your journey two years later. Where you’ve come from.

[00:02:02] Scarlette Kerr: Right. And I probably should go back and listen too, cause I’m sure that I might see something completely different today than I did back in 2020.

[00:02:08] Andrea: I’m sure that’d be interesting. Yeah.

[00:02:10] Scarlette Kerr: And feel like how much I’ve like changed or updated since then.

[00:02:14] Andrea: So here we are at beginning of August, 2022. What are you celebrating from the last year?

[00:02:20] Scarlette Kerr: I think I am celebrating being able to have accomplished all the goals that I wanted to for my studio. Like having in person performances, being able to get to know my students more and be able to kind of settle into life as like private teacher. I think with when I started my studio, it was much of a building phase for about a year because I started out small and I think as people wanted to come back to activities after school last year, I kind of went through the phase of, oh, now I have a full studio. This is what it feels like to be a full-time teacher.

And so I think just getting settled into that and learning like what my limits were as a teacher and as a self-employed person was kind of a shift for my, um, in my schedule and my mindset over the past year. So I think being able to have navigated through that, I’m celebrating and to come out one piece I’m celebrating and also to let my students know that they can kind of start expecting a more normalized culture in the studio or from here on out. Cause I think I know what I want to do with studio and they’re on board and I think I’m excited to take that to the next step this year.

[00:03:32] Andrea: How were you challenged in the last year?

[00:03:35] Scarlette Kerr: So I think that my challenge was that because I’m self-employed, I can make my own schedule, but just because I have a opening in my schedule doesn’t mean that I need to fill that time. So I just kept filling my time because I’m like, oh, I have, that’s an open space. I can totally take on an extra student here or I can add on another gig there. And all of a sudden I realized that my schedule was full. It’s full and there was no time for myself. There was no time to cover administration needs or to like to plan. And that was definitely a challenge to learn that, oh, maybe I don’t need to be filling my time to feel productive when I do have my hours of productivity when I teach in the afternoon. If that makes sense. I personally struggle with the concept of time, like how much I have, how much I need. And it was just super easy to fill it with things that were not necessarily bad, but also just too much. And so, yeah, that was something that I’m recovering from this summer and that I’m making changes for in the fall for this year in 2022.

[00:04:50] Andrea: Totally understand that you’re like scheduling in that white space, valuing space, as much as stuff in this schedule.

[00:04:56] Scarlette Kerr: Right. Like white space is okay. Like I think white space is needed. And we shouldn’t feel guilty for having white space. I, I always feel guilty for just having free time, but I shouldn’t cause I need that free time to recharge.

[00:05:10] Andrea: Did you take any risks or go outside your comfort zone in the last year?

[00:05:14] Scarlette Kerr: Yeah. I tried to get involved with community events with our studio and also to kind of organize things that I haven’t done before. So my neighborhood has an art walk where in a particular part of the neighborhood, local residents that are also artists display artwork in their yard for people to come see and do a walkthrough in the fall. And so my house isn’t on the route, but I had a friend who did live in that area. So what I did was sign the studio up to come play in this person’s yard all day, as people were walking by, and that’s something I’d never done before or had a chance to do. And so my students that were free would come and play pieces that they’ve learned, or, you know, would come play with me. And you would do a little bit of improvisation for people to come watch.

And sometimes other people would come that aren’t in a studio and come play just because there was a free piano, which was awesome. And we all had like studio shirts to kind of represent the studio as we were playing. And that was something that was new to me being out in public and doing something for the community. But I had a lot of fun doing it. My students had a lot of fun doing it. So I’m planning to do it again this fall. And then in the spring I wanted my students to use their talents for something good for like the community or beyond that. So we did a Play-a-Thon as our spring recital and raised money for families that were affected by the conflict that’s happening in Ukraine. So originally it was supposed to take place at the park, but it got rained out. So we did it at my local church, but we still had the same setup of a keyboard at an amp. And so kids signed up to play as many, however many songs they wanted to and someone would donate a little bit for every song we played or would give a fat donation. We raised up, I think, like $1,300. Wow. And we needed to save the children. Yeah. And it was a lot of fun. And I think the parents really appreciated having something for their kids to be a part of that’s outside of just piano or piano lessons. But they were able to use their skills as budding pianists to make a difference or help make a difference.

That was on fun. Like, I was nervous about making sure that it was going to happen and that people would actually go out and fundraise or that the event would move, go smoothly. I mean, it was just like a regular recital, but that, you know, tag on the end. So I would just. Love being able to use music as a way for kids to help others.

And that was great. So that was all outside my comfort zone just because those were things I had never done before as like a participant or even as, and has never organized as a teacher. But they all played out and now I also know things I can improve on for next time.

[00:07:52] Andrea: Yeah. So it sounds like there’s things you’re going to adopt for future in your studio. . I’d love to hear more about the fundraising concert again. That’s more in-depth podcast interview on that. What do summers look like in your studio for students and also for yourself?

[00:08:06] Scarlette Kerr: So I teach through the summer and I try to take off like six weeks during the summer. So it’s each two weeks on we’re two weeks off. So that way students feel like they can take a break. And then also, because they on vacation, they’re not going to be able to come as often. I think I’ll actually probably take even more time off next year, just so that students have more flexibility when they can come. I forget how busy families still are in the summer. And I’m sure probably this summer as well, especially because it’s post COVID and everyone’s super excited to get back into camps. So maybe it’ll look over next summer, but I still teach. It’s not as much or as consistently during the summer, which is nice, because that helps me catch up on things that I want to plan for the next year. I call summer kind of like a maintenance period. It’s not like we’re really learning anything new. It’s a lot more of just review, making sure that we remember concepts that we learn in the past year so that when we hit the fall no one’s forgotten anything or regressed. We could just hit the ground running and just pick up where we left off. So it’s laid back, but it’s still great to see them periodically over the summer.

[00:09:10] Andrea: And what are you doing this summer to prep for your next school year?

[00:09:13] Scarlette Kerr: So I have a lot of students that are starting to advance into harder repertoire. So I’m trying to find pieces that will be exciting for them. And I’m putting together like packets for music theory and for reading and site reading. They’re all kind of moving there at the same time. So I’m making a bunch of packets and I’m looking for fun repertoire. I think this fall, I want to do a Halloween recital using extended technique on the piano. So I’m in the process of finding repertoire for that that’s appropriate for young beginners, like beginner beginners and early intermediate. So I’m just kind of planning and putting together whole project. Yeah. Yeah. There’s always a project. It’s just finding time to put it together.

[00:09:57] Andrea: And what’s one project or area of your business in which you spend irrational amounts of time?

[00:10:02] Scarlette Kerr: Cutting out materials. Like I don’t use a lot of gains per se in my studio, but I like to use like flashcards and stuff when we’re putting patterns together or pieces together. And so when I’m making things for students, I spend irrational amounts of time making sure that they all have the right materials or that I have like some fun activity that I can use in my studio. And I have spent irrational times on putting it together, like painting, like a craft thing for me to use.

And I may use it or I may not. So that’s the thing, like I jump from activity to activity, what serves in the moment. So I don’t know if it’s just me trying to find like interesting things to do for students or if they catch onto it, or if it’s me just being bored and looking for things to do, but yeah, it’s just like putting together activities for students or things for them to do in the lesson if they’re not in the piano with me. Like it’s like a partner lesson or a group lesson, but sometimes it pans out, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s okay. It’s a risk. And sometimes it pays off and sometimes it kind of fades away, but it’s okay.

[00:11:07] Andrea: I’d love to hear about how you organize all that stuff too. Is there a book you read in the last year that you’d recommend for our listeners reading list?

[00:11:14] Scarlette Kerr: I don’t think so. I am horrible when it comes to like sitting down and reading. I think, honestly, like your podcast is my go to resource or your website whenever I have like anything at least business related to go to. But my resources for me, that work best for me are podcasts. That way I can listen while I’m doing other things and, or like websites or even teaching groups online on Facebook. Mm-hmm , that’s kind of like where I get my inspiration and questions answered. I should probably sit down and have a list of books to read. I know that those are also valuable pieces of resources. It’s just for me, I just can’t find the time to sit down and read them.

[00:11:54] Andrea: I get it. I get it. And I appreciate that endorsement too. Thank you. Where can listeners get in touch with you?

[00:11:59] Scarlette Kerr: They can reach me at my studio email mu********@gm***.com. I’m in Instagram at musicat906. I haven’t posted in a while. I probably should get back on that too. I still exist on Instagram though. I should have taken a break.

[00:12:14] Andrea: All right, Scarlette thank you so much.

[00:12:16] Scarlette Kerr: Yeah. Thank you for having me. Great to be back.

[00:12:24] Andrea: Thank you for taking the time to be with us, Scarlette. We’ll include a transcript and all the links mentioned in this episode at The Music Studio Startup website is also filled with lots of other resources for music teachers, just like you, who want to set up their studios for success.

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week.

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