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Meet Jill Vaughan of Musikgarten Bellaire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Vaughan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2008, I decided to stop teaching private piano lessons, because my daughters were needing more assistance with schoolwork, etc. after school, so in May of that year, I closed my piano studio. Then in January 2009, I was introduced to an early childhood music curriculum called Musikgarten at a music conference in Dallas. I absolutely love to teach and saw this curriculum as an opportunity to teach without taking time away from my daughters, as I could teach during the day while they were at school. I received permission to hold a few classes at my church. Over the next 7 years, I received training in all of the Musikgarten levels, from classes for babies through keyboard classes for elementary age children. As my own children grew, so did my Musikgarten program. As they needed less of my attention, I was able to expand the classes I offer. Now, with one daughter poised to leave for college next year, and the other not far behind, I’m back to teaching afternoon keyboard and pre-piano classes along with my morning classes, bringing me full circle! My hope is that having all my “Musikgarten kids” will help me handle the empty-nest syndrome in a few years!!

Has it been a smooth road?
Getting started was much harder than I expected. I was excited about the curriculum, and I naively expected moms to flock to my classes. Guess what? That didn’t happen! In fact, I called the studio my “expensive hobby” for the first several years, as I spent more money on training and materials than I received in tuition. (Thank goodness I have a supportive husband!) I had a very small advertising budget and still depend mostly on my website and word of mouth to drive my business. I’ve learned a lot along the way, from creating a website to running a small business and developing marketing strategies. The administrative part of the job is my least favorite. I much prefer the teaching!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Musikgarten Bellaire – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Musikgarten Bellaire is a small, early-childhood music studio that uses the Musikgarten curriculum. There are quite a few early childhood music programs available today, but I like Musikgarten because it focuses on the whole child and the way in which they best learn. There is an emphasis at the lower levels on the natural world, which children are naturally very connected to. Classes build upon each other in a logical progression, with a goal of leading a child to become musically literate (able to hear “inside their head” what they see and, conversely, “see” what they hear). Everything I do in class has a purpose, either now or for the future, but the children don’t realize how much they are learning. They just know that they are having fun!

Children naturally love music, and when they actively participate in music at a very young age, I believe it becomes a part of them. Toddlers in a music class will begin to sing at the same time they are learning to talk. How cool is that?! I love being able to help lay a musical foundation that will enrich children’s lives, regardless of where life takes them someday.

Although I have a degree in music education, I never would have guessed that I’d end up teaching music to babies and young children. Through training and practical experience, however, I feel I have recreated myself to become more of an early childhood music expert. I’m rather proud of that. I still tend to consider myself more of a “private teacher” than a business. As I did when teaching privately, I cherish the friendships that I make with the families in my studio. My goal is to have families enroll their child in my studio and continue through the levels. I love seeing the progress that these children achieve and their comfort level when making music. They radiate joy!

I think the fact that I run a small studio sets me apart from many others, because I am able to tailor my classes to fit individual needs, and again, there is a greater emphasis on long-term relationships with families.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I like the diversity that Houston has to offer: the cultures, the plethora of food and restaurant choices, and the variety of fine arts venues, to name some examples.

I suppose what I like least is the air quality. I know it is not just a Houston problem, but it seems more prevalent here due to the oil and gas industry. How sad that children can’t play outside on some days due to smog.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Musikgarten Bellaire

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