Classical Piano Lessons in Individual Piano Lessons within Calgary, AB
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As somebody who always wanted to run an actual music school instead of being stuck in basement purgatory, I am proud to say I have reached that dream – Flamingo Music was officially incorporated in April 2015, and September 8 we opened our doors. It was a long a very stressful few months to get us here, not too mention expensive and a steep learning curve. While there is still much to learn and everyday brings its own new challenges, there is still intense satisfaction in having come this far.
Our new location, at 811 Manning Rd NE, Calgary, AB, Canada is bright, clean, and still smells a bit of new paint. We share a commercial office building with Engineering, Construction, Outreach, & Consulting companies. Our building is in the middle of a diverse office park – a far cry from the commercial district of 17th Ave SE that Martin (the manager) and I had envisioned. We trade higher visibility and some freedom for 24 hour security and businesses with a professional image – the commercial district also unfortunately might just as well be the red light district. They tell me if you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people – both as staff and as neighbours.
Going into this new venture there are many things I am grateful for, and many things I am glad were in place before I started. First, I am glad I spent 9 years doing the job before making a large leap. Why? Because it allowed me to be able to learn the job, learn strategies, build connections and a reputation with which to build upon. It let me learn some of the many lessons – some painful, some difficult, some entertaining, but all important, that I needed to learn, and still am. It also meant that I was able to put together a strong team that had a previous track record of working and performing together – I was able to elevate my senior students to instructors so they would have a work environment that would be challenging, supportive, fun, and teach more life skills than the typical after school job. I am grateful for the people who contributed to the school as an entity – donating old furniture and items, volunteering time and assistance to setup and unpack, those who have spread the word and referred new students, and the many parents who offer an encouraging word on the days when the school seems overwhelming.
On the flipside, there are many things that terrify me. The amount of money and finances my husband and I dumped into making the school a reality, the amount of time I put in without a paycheck (3 months so far), the uncertainty of sharing a building with others who may object to the kids or the sound levels, and most of all the fear that I may fail my own staff. Having watched Team Flamingo become a solid team of responsible teachers, it is hard not wonder if I push them too hard, if I don’t support them enough, or if I don’t do a good job “being the boss”. As well, I do not want the education and achievements of students to be diminished because I didn’t give adequate time or preparation due to the daily demands of running the show.
Many changes have happened too – bad economy, loss of some of our major supporters, some clients that did not want to migrate to a new place. None of these are factors within control, and the difficulty in remaining positive can be draining. Is it worth it?
Seeing the smiles of kids running through our door, seeing the spring in the steps of the team as they come and go, watching new friendships, partnerships, and collaborations come forth from the creative personalities. Seeing the parents all enjoying the waiting area where the topics range from classes they take, to jobs, to news in Canada or back in the home countries, to politics and world events, drives home a simple fact – Flamingo Music is not simply a school, not just a team of musicians, and not just a means to an end. Flamingo Music is a community, it is place, and it is our community and our place. People are welcomed from all walks of life, all ability levels, and together the community grows stronger. As such, Team Flamingo will be continue to be dedicated to creating a bigger community that always remains ready to accept another into the flock.
Looking back, when I started this post I was planning just a brief intro the fact that the studio had hatched a school and the change in location and operation. This post was not intended to be an unedited rambling, but quite possibly it needed to be. If you have read this far, thank you for taking time to stop by.
RCM Teacher with over 15 years piano and theory teaching experience, with RCM Grade 8 Piano and Theory and Grade 9 Harmony Certificate, ATCL of Trinity College of England.