How Jenny Murray and Gina Conolly created a whole new career path for jobless musicians

 

  • Course Instructor: Jenny Keane
  • Website: www.music-spark.com
  • Course Topic: Creating a brand new career path for jobless musicians
  • Interesting Stats: 
James Rose

Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

Join Our Free Event:

The Ultimate Online Course Conference

March 29th - April 4th

Registration Closes In

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course

1. Who are you?

I am a successful, Windsor-based piano teacher, teaching for the last eight years from my own home studio, and I’ve created, with my Co-Founder Georgina Conolly, MusicSpark, a multi-faceted, music school offering a suite of brand new education services. These include MusicSpark Associates, which combines training in business development with teaching proficiency and is aimed at musicians aspiring to become instrumental tutors. 

Successful trainees can apply to join our MusicSpark Academy, which is open to all trained tutors to join as Associate members. This comes with a broad range of in-house resources, such as our MusicSpark teacher–student portal, as well as ongoing marketing and mentoring services and other benefits. 

Experienced tutors can apply to join us as MusicSpark Mentors, which will include a role in delivering the training for new entrants.

For current and aspiring performers, we will be launching MusicSpark Artists, another unique package that will help members to hone their performance skills and enhance their public profile, once our live music scene is back up and running. 

2. What’s your course all about?

Our Associate Complete Course and our Fast Track Course are a mixture of live, small group teaching webinars, with key learning objectives in business and teaching for each one, followed by Q and As and weekly assignments. We learn best when we collaborate with like-minded people so there will be plenty of fun, interactive activities with an emphasis on guided learning and sometimes stepping beyond our comfort zones to achieve our desired goals. It’s so important to gain and consolidate all the vital knowledge, skills and understanding as they give us the confidence we need to make a success of new ventures.

The webinars are recorded to allow trainees the opportunity to go back over the content to revise and deepen their learning. Then passing the final assessment means they can then apply to join our MusicSpark Academy.

How to create an online course1

Try Thinkific for free here.

3. What makes you an expert in this field?

Experience is an excellent teacher and so after eight years of tutoring, in various settings, I’m confident I now know my industry from the inside out. I’m always looking for a project (see below) and this one was born out of a desire to help others in all of the ways that I would have wanted for myself as a new tutor. 

4. What is the transformation your course offers to the students?

The pandemic has required many professions and businesses to turn to online methods of working and our industry is no different. As a piano teacher I have had to learn quickly the techniques and methods that make for effective and enjoyable online learning. The same will be true for anyone new entering our profession so this is a key aspect of our course content and our main means of delivery. For trainees, it’s an accessible and convenient way to learn, with all the benefits of a collaborative, shared experience and of course, access to our range of bespoke digital resources.

On completing the course they will have the opportunity to become the go-to MusicSpark tutor for their locality. Income-wise, they can expect to earn considerably more than their school-based counterparts and will have all the ongoing support and mentoring they need behind them. In these very difficult times for everyone, it’s a really welcome win–win story for musicians, music teachers and the economy!

5. Which market does your online course serve and how did you get into it?

Our 10-week online Associate Complete Course is for musicians who want to be fully trained in business and teaching strategies to start their own instrumental tutoring business. They must have achieved Grade 8 in their primary instrument. We’ve also produced a shorter Associate Fast Track Course, which caters specifically for current music teachers who want to establish and run their own tutoring business. The market for each course is potentially huge. As we are an e-learning business we can service clients literally anywhere in the world so long as they speak and understand our English language. 

6. Why is it important to you to serve this market?

You’ve asked the key question there! I learnt how to succeed as a private instrumental tutor the hard way through trial and error and working on my own initiative.  I believe that situation, the absence of dedicated support, still applies today and I can guarantee it’s a daunting experience that must put off many excellent potential tutors! It’s in fact the absence of any useful books, courses or other support material that prompted me to create this course. So you could say that all of our MusicSpark services are the products of this gap in the current provision for musicians, music teachers and performers.  As I’ve said many times, it’s having the key knowledge, skills and understanding that gives you the confidence you need as a teacher and that underpins your success as a business owner. That’s essentially the mission of MusicSpark!

As noted above, instrumental tuition is my profession and my passion. I know I can help others who aspire to it to succeed. I want them to experience the same pleasures and the financial rewards of running your own successful business. I want them to experience the personal satisfaction of helping people to achieve their dreams of learning and playing a musical instrument. It can be truly life-changing for tutor and student alike and that’s amazing and so worthwhile!

7. Describe the moment when you decided to create your own course. Where were you, what happened and why did you decide to do it?

The ideas had been brewing in my head for over a year but a decision was made to commit fully to it once I’d had my first meeting with Gina back in the autumn of 2020. Putting the course together has been hard work but collaborating with an experienced marketing professional, and friends, has actually been a very empowering experience as we have gradually seen our ideas coalesce into something unique and valuable for other professionals. We can’t wait to launch our services out there and test the market!

8. How did you overcome doubtful moments during your course creation journey?

I knew early on that I needed help to realise the full potential of MusicSpark as an education business development organisation so I called on a friend, Georgina Conolly, who is an award-winning commercial marketing professional, to collaborate with me. Gina became the co-founder of the project and brings her own specialist knowledge and skills set.

Gina and I make a great team because we’re equally passionate about what we do. Together we offer the perfect blend of experience and skills to ensure MusicSpark delivers for every one of our trainees. We know we can help anyone who has the drive and talent you need to succeed as self-employed entrepreneurs in this market.

9. What are some of your tricks to deal with imposter syndrome?

N/A

10. How long did it take you to create your course?

As I alluded to earlier, learning the hard way makes you stronger as a person and more determined to succeed in life. I’m a target-driven person professionally and always like to have something new to spur me on and to plan for. As my own tutoring business has grown, with a long waiting list, constant enquiries and the best exam results ever last year, I know this is the right time to launch our unique start-up business and give would-be tutors everywhere what they have been waiting for.

11. How did your first launch go?

It is still early days for us but so far it is going well. 

12. How do you structure your launches in general now?

It’s all about having a deadline and working relentlessly to achieve it. Bringing together the marketing campaign alongside the final preparation of all the various course materials has meant long days and often working late into the evening to ensure we are ready to engage with enquiries from the moment we go live. It’s very exciting and hopefully fulfilling too!

13. Where does your traffic come from?

Advertising and PR play a large role in what we do but we found that offering people alternatives career routes has helped. We can open peoples minds to building their own business and working for themselves when they are job hunting and post on various job sites.

14. Which content do you like producing the most?

Our interactive zoom webinars are by far the most fun and productive for students.

15. What online course platform are you using?

LearnDash is our go-to for our course material and of course, the trusted Zoom.

16. What is amazing about this platform?

LearnDash is so easy to use and interactive, it makes comms with students really easy and fun as you can be creative with the interface.

17. Which features do you wish this platform would have?

None.

18. Why did you choose this platform over other platforms?

Recommendation and ease of use.

19. Which other tools do you use to keep your online business running?

Various social media management tools and some music tuition tools to manage students for each tutor.

How to create an online course.2

Try Thinkific for free here.

20. How many students have you served so far?

We are still recruiting and students are yet to pass the course.

21. How much revenue have you created during your first launch, and ongoing?

N/A

22. What are you running costs to keep the online course business going?

It’s one of the strengths of this project that the running costs are relatively low, which has allowed us to concentrate on getting the products just right for the market without the worry of shaving to secure financial backing or of incurring debts. The main investment has been in our own time and expertise. We’ve both been able to maintain our full time commitment to our current jobs so there’s been no loss of income there. The main expenditure has been in the purchases of software, licenses, and digital tools to make things more streamline.

23. What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way?

With the business so new we won’t really know about any mistakes we’ve made until further down the line but we’ll be happy to share them with you once we’ve had the time to reflect and to put them right!

24. How has your business changed since implementing an online course into the business model?

I fully expect the level of commitment needed for the full development of the suite of MusicSpark services, i.e. the Associates, the Academy, the Mentorship and the Artists, will inevitably lead to me spending less time with students and not replacing those who leave, e.g. to attend university, for work commitments or changes in family circumstances. It’s going to be all about achieving the right balance so we will see as time goes by.

25. How has your personal life changed?

The investment in time to develop the courses and the infrastructure of the range of MS services has coincided with the COVID-19 restrictions, which has in fact helped me. Deprived of our usual leisure activities, it’s been useful to have a really important project like this to focus on, knowing we’re creating something that the market out there badly needs.

26. What’s the greatest transformational story you can tell about one (or more) of your students?

From my own teaching experience, an adult student named Matt springs to mind, whose main interest is in creating dance and house music tracks for sale to the public. His music education journey illustrates perfectly the real world changes in the tuition industry that the institutions have yet to fully understand and adapt to. Matt learnt all of his music theory from scratch with me and he combined this learning with a separate course on music production.

After working hard on both aspects, he now has the knowledge and the skills to fulfil his ambition and the confidence to put his own original music out there for public consumption. That’s the kind of success all teachers dream of and, to be honest, one that at the moment I believe could really only happen in the private sector because we’re adapting and responding to the changes in the market and in what and how students want to learn right now. 

27. If you could use a time machine and send yourself back to the time before you started out, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?

N/A

28. What is your million dollar piece of advice to those who are just getting started in their online course journey OR for those who are looking to scale?

Don’t compare yourself to other establishments. Instead set your standards and approach your business with what you would expect as a consumer and work from there. That is what will make you stand out and deliver a better service.

How to create an online course.png

How to create an online course.png

Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

Join Our Free Event:

The Ultimate Online Course Conference

March 29th - April 4th

Registration Closes In

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course