Thank You to Our Family
As we give thanks today for our families, loved ones, and our great many blessings, Jacob and I wanted to share the story of our family and how we got started. Thank you Mom and Dad, for raising us and the rest of the seven kids by teaching music. By working hard and giving constantly, and trusting that it will all work out. We are proud of you and grateful for you, so we wanted to share our story with all of the families that are still benefiting from that work.
The Hunt-er Gatherer Phase
Jacob and I are the two youngest of seven children, (Jacob being the lucky number seven), and, for a long time, it was a struggle to get by. Our parents, Frank and Maureen, are musicians. Both classically trained, their knowledge and love of music was recognized and deeply appreciated by their community. This did not, however, translate into steady and gainful employment. They had a vibrant sense of creativity and were natural teachers, so they made it work.
But as younger parents, they struggled. With bills piling up, they taught private lessons from our living room. They taught for everyone they knew, working relentlessly to make ends meet and they did. Thanks to these music lessons and the generosity of our community, we were always fed and clothed, and our needs were met.
Together We Build
My mom worked part time at a small private school, starting a music program from nothing. Over the years she eventually built that program into a full orchestra, drawing students to the school just on the merit of her reputation and that of her program. She and my dad started Music After School, through which they were able to teach hundreds of kids each week instead of dozens. Without the skills and preparation necessary for operating a business, and with all those mouths to feed, they were not in a position of power. From this place of dis-empowerment, they re-wrote their story into one of success through diligence and creativity. And of course, through music.
They worked hard and they built and built. They were able to build a pretty incredible business and practice through sheer will and creativity. They were resourceful and passionate, and the families they taught for recognized this. Though we didn’t have much money, we had a lot of musical access. Sure, they taught us, but we were in the network of gifted musicians that were always willing to mentor us. If we wanted to take up the cello, one would appear the next day along with an incredible teacher. In fact, of our four older sisters, two went to college on Cello scholarships and one now owns a music academy, the Gavotte School of Music.
The Beginning of Next Step
Back to the Next Step Ed. story, Jacob and I also got into the music teaching business, but in a different arena. Jacob is a talented musician, a writer and teacher of music. My background is in industrial engineering and business administration, and together we have owned this business for five years, gaining experience and great insight. We have taught many after school music lessons, and we have developed an administrative backbone that allows others, including the teachers in our family, to plug in. Through this administrative support, hundreds of students are taking lessons at lower costs without the administrative faux pas so classic to small businesses.
But our vision is to help empower teachers of all kinds to teach their passion, not just music. You see, we have this idea that all humans are fundamentally teachers. We believe that learning from passionate and caring mentors is key to unlocking our potential and re-writing your own story.
Imagine a school where every teacher lived and breathed their subjects. What you teach is not just your degree but the very air you breathe and the beat of your heart. Jacob and I are not those teachers for every subject or every student, but we can promise you that they are out there. I’ve seen them, I know them. A lesson from one of these people is not a chore but a session of enlightenment. You learn from just being in their presence what this passion is and where it could take you.
Finally, I want to articulate and share just what it is that we intend to do. We want to build a support network for these teachers. This means making sure they can make a living, which means administrative support and connecting them with as many students as they can possibly teach, then figuring out how they can teach more. We believe that by empowering a generation of independent teachers, aligned with their hearts and their passion, we can bring balance to the larger educational system that is often closed to creativity, passion, and self-awareness.
We have the experience and the administrative back-end to start and operate after school programs locally or from a distance. We have the knowledge and skills to be effective small business consultants, especially in the independent educational field. We can help with outreach, building websites and marketing outlets to increase visibility, and expertise in online registration systems.
Most importantly, we have the desire to effect change. To do good for the people we know to be engaged in teaching for the sake of love and for the benefit of all. We want to empower you to do what you love. We hope you will join us.