Have a passion for music? Have you ever desired to share your passion with others? The founders of Sydney based music academy, JumboNote have done just that. Check out my conversation with its founder below.
- Q: Tell us about yourself and how you gained a passion and love for music
A: I was born into a musical family, where as long as I can remember my father was making a great living from performing each week. He’s a very passionate musician, and at age 65 is still entertaining crowds many times a week. Naturally, most fathers have a huge influence on their kids, and whilst growing up, learning to play piano and sing was just a natural thing I had to do… it wasn’t like I contemplated that I had a choice to be involved in music or not, but it rather felt as if it was a task that had to be done such as brushing your teeth, or eating dinner…. When your family is so heavily involved with music, as a youngster, you are lead to believe that the whole world is musical, and music embodies everybody and everything…. There was no escaping it.
It was only during my later teen years when I was no longer learning how to play music, but rather knowing how to play music that I started to develop my art as a songwriter, and discovered this amazing world of creativity through songwriting. I had access to some rather primitive recording devices compared to today’s standards, and was able to record all my songwriting ideas, and share them around with friends and family…. I quickly realized that this skill/talent I had acquired and taken for granted all those years was a powerful tool if used in a positive manner. The positive response I would receive from a crowd when performing live as a youngster was also addictive. It motivated me to improve my art on stage as a performer in how I delivered songs, and as a songwriter, in how I wrote those songs. It is fair to say that during those early years as a developing performer, songwriter, and musician, I discovered my first love, and it was music.
- Q: Many people have a perception that recording artists are self centered and narcissistic. Teaching seems to be the antithesis of those qualities. What inspired you to start a school teaching others the art of music?
A: I think those days are long gone of the narcissistic, self-centered and arrogant rock star. Those characters are a thing of the past, and soon enough, any genuine musician who wants to have a career as a full time musician realizes that you can’t be a one trick pony to have longevity in the industry. These days, musicians must be prepared to wear many hats, be a performer, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, promoter and educator. After almost 20 years in the music industry, I am still wearing those same hats, and each hat has in some way helped me to achieve what I have.
To realize what got me into teaching, I must go back all the way during my university years, where to make some extra pocket money I would take on beginner piano and singing students and teach them. Soon enough I realized I had a talent in teaching and was a great motivator in convincing students to get them on stage at local open mic nights. When you’re passionate about music, that passion is easily translated into your teaching style which ultimately benefits and greatly influences your students to share that same passion for music. Within a short time, my student numbers grew to a point I couldn’t physically cater for more and had to turn students away. It was at that moment, I realized if I took enough initiative, I could create a great business from teaching. After long consideration and a leap of faith, I leased out a commercial premises, and as such Jumbonote Music School was born.
- Q: What can potential students expect to learn at your music school? What sorts of courses do you offer?
A: Potential students can have lessons in piano, guitar, singing, drums, bass, ukulele, songwriting and music theory in either an individual one-to-one lesson, or in a group with fully qualified teachers. We also have awesome features such as ‘Band Jam’, where students are coached as a band.
What sets our music school apart from any other school is our performance based style of tuition. Each lesson is geared towards building a student’s repertoire, and enhancing their performance portfolio. We even built our own small performance arena ‘JumboNote Studio B’ in the Sydney suburb of Beverly Hills. ‘JumboNote Studio B’ has a stage and seats 50 people, we’ve also installed a professional recording studio alongside 4 Hi Definition video camera’s. Each students performance at ‘Jumbonote Studio B’ is captured with studio quality audio, and filmed on our multi camera setup which is later edited into a great television style performance video.
JumboNote Studio B provides students with a great product for their performance portfolios, and by getting students filmed for each performance motivates them to practice more and improve their playing ability. Also, there is no greater learning mechanism than having visual feedback, when students actually watch themselves perform.
- You operate 3 locations surrounding the Sydney metropolitan area. Describe the structure of your operation. How many instructors do you have?A: Our two main music schools are in the Sydney suburbs of Beverly Hills/Narwee and Kogarah, which predominantly house teaching rooms for individual one to one lessons. Our second Studio in Beverly Hills (Studio B) holds many group lessons, and as mentioned prior is a performance venue for all our students.
We also have many students who have their lessons with us in the comfort of their own homes, with some of our teachers travelling to students’ houses. After almost a decade, we have over 400 students who attend individual lessons each week, we conduct scores of group music lessons and employ 19 teachers who share their musical passion and knowledge with students just as I did all those years ago.
- Q: How do most of your students find out about your school? Where and how do you market your services?
A: We hardly do any forms of direct marketing for our business. Most of our students come to us from word of mouth recommendations. Also, with so many of our students performance video’s hitting social media on a regular basis, it’s not long until scores of people eventually see one of our videos. Having a proud mother share an amazing performance of their child on social media is testimony in itself of the great job our team is doing.
- Q: It seems that unlike many traditional music schools, JumboNote assists its students in the production of music videos. How important is social media platforms like YouTube for indie artists?
A: YouTube has become the single biggest platform that has transformed the music industry for better and for worse. Without focusing on the negative impact it has had on professional artists, it has been most positive for amateur and indie artists to get their stuff heard in front of a greater audience. Aspiring artists no longer need record deals and Payola for radio stations to get their art exposed to the masses. All you need now is a clever song, and a creative video, to entice a worldwide audience into experiencing what you have to offer as a musician.
Music videos have become an important facet of our music school. Every aspiring musician dreams of having their own studio recording and music video, and we fulfill all those needs. We’ve even had many of our student’s releases on iTunes, which, some even made it on iTune’s Australia Vocal Charts top 10! Our student music video’s are aimed at providing students with a visual representation of what they have to offer as performers. Many have used our videos for their musical resume’s performance portfolio’s, and have used them as an audition medium to get into musicals, bands and music universities.
- Q: What’s next for JumboNote?
A: We are always looking at re-inventing ourselves, or staying ahead of the game to give future students the best experience when learning music. At the moment, we are concentrating more on our musical instrument sales department, to provide all beginner musicians with all their instrument needs in a one stop online shop.
We have recently started filming ‘JumboNote TV’, a show about all things to do with JumboNote Music School, which will be broadcast online and in our waiting rooms every half hour. It will feature student performances, interviews, news, and upcoming event’s.
We are also looking to expand our in-house lessons, and have a dedicated division and website looking after that side of the business. The great thing about JumboNote is we never know what tomorrow brings… and when tomorrow comes, you can bet we’ll be ready to tackle any challenge it has for us.
You can follow Jumbonote at the links below:
Jumbonote Music School
JumboNote YouTube Channel