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The Secret Ingredient

Not too long ago I observed a conversation online between this businesswoman and her followers… she’s from the UK and recently moved to the states. She was talking about this specific paint she had on her walks back home across the pond and how much trouble she was having recreating the same look here in the states. Apparently the specific paint brand isn’t available where she lives. 

As I scanned the responses, I saw post after post of almost identical replies… her followers suggested, “just color match it!”

They explained that she could take the exact color that she wanted to a store like Home Depot or Lowe’s and simply ask the attendant to make a paint of the same color. 

She was having the hardest time explaining to them that it wasn’t just the color that she needed… She had tried this “color matching” and the paints just didn’t feel the same. There were qualities that (although she struggled to pinpoint exactly what those were) were missing… 

It all boiled down to this fact: The ingredients of the two paints are not the same and it was obvious. It didn’t feel right. It didn’t work the same. It was lacking something. 

This got me thinking about two things. You guessed it- business and music. 

Business first: You know how there are lots of businesses that “do/sell the same thing?” You might even find identical inventory in two stores.. or two identical service packages on paper. 

Here’s the thing though.. we all prefer one over the other because of some ingredient that’s lacking. Sometimes we can’t quite put our finger on it. Other times (most times if you’re like me and know exactly what you want 99% of the time) we know exactly what that ingredient is. And while we might settle in a pinch, we are always headed for that preferred brand if we can help it. 

Now music: You know how there are lots of artists that perform the same songs? For example, I’m willing to bet a pretty penny that you prefer one artist’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” far above the rest *cough Jeff Buckley cough*. Now depending on your personal ability to systematically dissect a musical performance, you might be equipped to tell me exactly how one artist nailed it and why the others fell short… 

In both areas – business and music – I think the one single ingredient with the MOST impact on my experience is 

…drumroll please… 

HEART.

You can’t “color match” heart. No matter the looks, the delivery is ALWAYS better if it’s got heart. If it’s there, you can’t miss it. If it’s missing, boyyyy can you tell, amiright? 

Business.. music.. it’s the same- best served with heart. Hands down. 

HOLIDAY BUY GUIDE 2020

Just in time for your holiday shopping frenzy, Music Junkie Studios presents:

THE HOLIDAY BUY GUIDE – the ultimate gift resource for the musicians on your list!

The MJS instructor team have been busy little elves collecting their favorite musical toys, apps, and gear. That’s right- we have firsthand experience with everything in this guide. Enjoy!

Click HERE to purchase an MJS Gift Card

Development

One of our core values at Music Junkie Studios life-long learning.

One way to illustrate this concept is to imagine ourselves as bodies of water. We want to be running streams- full of energy, active, clean, always refilling from upstream and providing to the creeks downstream.

What do we mean by that? If we’re constantly the same (think of a puddle or pond) and never changing or challenging ourselves… keeping our curriculum the same and functioning on a “one-size-fits-all” or “wash and repeat” system, we become stagnant.

Think about stagnant water for a moment. It does have its uses, but it gets dirty SO quickly. It attracts yuck. Things growww in therrre. Things stale and settle in still water. No thanks.

The first way we can be be running streams of water is by challenging ourselves, overcoming obstacles, and always renewing our minds and filling our minds so that we are constantly learning and growing. That’s how we refill from upstream.

Education

I’m teaching things today that I learned 5 years ago. In 5 years, I really hope that I’m teaching what I’m learning today. That stream just keeps flowing. And it doesn’t have to be 5 years – maybe it’s 2 hours from now. Constant inflow means that there’s more outflow and we’re constantly being renewed, updated. We want to be educating in a way that our students and clients are drinking from a running stream, not stagnant water.

Mindset

We’re not just educating ourselves, but we’re working on our mindset, and staying up to date with the newest, best ways we can be teaching musical concepts. We ask ourselves questions like, “Is what we’re doing working the way we want it to? Is there a better way to be doing it?” We want to be always depositing into ourselves and into our students in different ways so that the outflow has an amazing effect on our community.

If you’re from Texas or anywhere in the south, you know that stagnant water attracts mosquitoes and gets gross pretty quickly, meaning it isn’t just “not great”, but it’s dangerous! Disease grows, infection and nastiness grow in water that isn’t moving, isn’t thriving, and isn’t all the time being deposited into from a renewing source.

Consider pond water, or a birdbath… definitely not a healthy thing to be consuming. It’s a dangerous game to play in the world of education, too. We’ve learned throughout history that as our education isn’t updated accurately and with care, we are teaching generations the same old, tired stories that really aren’t true anymore and really don’t give full context. The same goes with music.

Music is ALWAYS evolving. Learning is always evolving. There are always new resources, new pedagogies that are better and more effective and more relevant to our students. The lessons we teach shouldn’t look like the lessons we took as children. Music in the past 30 years has evolved, and so should the way we teach it. We shouldn’t pretend as if nothing has changed or evolved and that there’s no better context since the beginning of time. It’s just not true.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of educators that teach this way – even with math, literature, science, etc- maybe you know some. At MJS, our job in this is to be lifelong learners who are self-motivated to constantly be opening ourselves up to that greater source – the source of water upstream from us that we can be learning from, siphoning more knowledge, skill, ability, talent, discipline from, and opening ourselves up to the reality that we always have more to learn. 

As my favorite professor in college always said, “I’m never going to master music. Music is always going to be the master of me.” 

To continue to grow and evolve is not only our responsibility but our joy – to continue to embrace this art and see where it goes and see what beautiful things people do with it, and to share that with our students.

The MJS Difference

We know you care about how much we know, but we also want you to know how much we care.

One of the biggest differences in our studio and the other guys is that our people actually care for you and your students. 

Let’s talk about makeup lessons. At other studios, if you miss a lesson, you either lose the lesson full stop, or you get put into a makeup class on a set day and time – there’s rarely any flexibility there. The makeup lesson is typically a group of several students, all who take lessons on different instruments. The instructor is not typically your own assigned instructor. All of this means that you don’t get the same value of lesson as what you missed and what you paid for. It’s transactional. And it happens because it’s cheaper to throw you in a makeup class than to actually compensate your actual teachers for the additional time.

At MJS, when a student misses a lesson, their makeup lesson is the exact same as the lesson they missed – with same instructor that they have a relationship with, still learning on their instrument, and not put into some pointless group of a ton of students having a rhythm or music theory lesson just because they’re filling a time slot owed. We value people over profits.

At MJS, you get what you pay for – and more. We offer loads of free (and original!) educational resources in the Resource Vault on our website and on our social media. We’re constantly creating new resources, putting them into the vault, and sharing them with students. These aren’t something you pay extra for, either. These valuable resources contain knowledge straight from our MJS instructors’ brains put onto paper in an accessible format online for you. 

One of our favorite benefits is performances! Under normal circumstances, we offer four free performances a year. Yes, you read that right: FOUR. This is more than double what any of our competitors offer. Some offer two performances and some offer none – you have to pay teach time to watch your student perform what you’ve already paid to have them learn. Because of COVID, we’ve had to pivot a little with dates this year, but once that was ironed out, we made it our top priority to deliver an awesome virtual performance experience and we are delivering four free performance opportunities for our students- even in this crazy year.

We want you to know that we actually care about you, so our policies reflect care, not cash. MJS policies are the most generous with the amount of time that our students have to cancel their lessons in order to qualify for makeup lessons. At most every studio, you must give 24 – 48 hours notice to receive any kind of makeup lesson. At MJS, we know that life happens and you don’t usually know 24-48 hours ahead of time if your child will come home sick from school. Our requirement is only 2 hours. This gives you plenty of opportunity to cancel, especially if your child is sick. Our policies are built around the fact that we care for your health, not around how much money we could make.

There’s so much that happens totally behind the scenes. One thing we don’t talk about too often is our weekly studio-wide meeting where we meet every Tuesday afternoon to celebrate who you are as individuals, we discuss your progress, and talk about how we can keep lessons fun and exciting and we mastermind the absolute best ways to help you succeed. We use this info to track what is working and what isn’t, enabling us to zero in on your unique needs.

All our lessons are 110% customized to who our students are, what they need to succeed and what their goals are. We don’t have a cookie cutter program or a one-size-fits-all system. Our competitors have a ladder style curriculum that celebrates students’ ability to blend in and conform. We want to celebrate our students’ ability to be their authentic and true selves and to work on goals they set for themselves with help from their instructors instead of ambiguous goals set for them by some cookie cutter system. We’re not trying to see how many students we can crank out of the machine.

We have the MJS Level Up Leaderboard in which every student sets 3 goals for themselves and we work consistently on accomplishing those goals. Once they accomplish the 3 goals, they’ve “leveled up” and we set 3 new goals! When a student “levels up,” they’ll have several different ways of being recognized. We celebrate them publicly on social media, they receive a custom certificate, and get their name on the leaderboard displayed in the lobby of our studio. We’re actually working for what YOUR goals are. We’re not giving you a yellow wristband for learning steps 1,2,3 and then orange for learning steps 4,5,6, then red for moving through 7,8,9, etc until you’re fully cranked through the system. That’s not how we operate.

We have the best team – they are really, truly like unicorns. Our instructors are not only the most qualified on paper, but every single staff member has a 4-year degree in an arts or music category. Our instructors have experience in the actual worlds of music, performance, teaching, and learning. Our teachers are actually out in the world performing and working in music. Every single one of our teachers come to MJS experienced in teaching and the whole time they’re at the studio, they’re mentored by the owner, Kristi Judd. Every single instructor is still developing as a human and musician. One of our company values is lifelong learning – not just for students, but also management and instructors. We are all constantly learning and sharing with each other. Our instructors are also the most wonderful humans who actually care to build relationships with you to make lasting differences in your lives. They’re building real connections and getting to know you.

Our staff are active members of your local community, too. Our motto is: In the community, for the community. We’re not just pigeonholed in our own corner of the world – we’re out there with you. We ARE you. We’re your community, friends, and neighbors. That means we’re really, truly invested in what happens in and with the community because it’s us.

MJS REOPENING for In-Studio Lessons Monday, Aug 3

eeeeeeeeek It’s here, it’s here!!

We are 99.99% DONE with the complete studio remodel and are proud to announce that come hell or high water (or a pandemic 😅 ) we are OPENING for IN-PERSON lessons again on Monday, August 3. We can’t wait.

You’re going to love the new space.

Here’s how it works: Currently enrolled students will be getting an email very soon (likely this evening) that contains more information as well as the link(s) you’ll need to access your instructor’s calendar and pick your new lesson time, since we’ll be transitioning back to our normal hours of operation for August, since school will be starting back.

Our new (old) hours are Monday-Thursday 2pm-7pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm

That’s not all. We ARE still offering online lessons to anyone who wants them as both a permanent lessons option for those unable or uncomfortable with in-person instruction and also a week-to-week elective option for students who may be temporarily out of town, sick, or just feel like staying home.

So.. things have changed a LOT since we last saw you and we are SO ready to see all your sweet faces in person again, even if they are all masked up 😷 .

Below, you will find a video detailing our comprehensive safety success plan for operation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please give it a few moments of your time and feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.