Ep. 49 – Building an App for Music Teachers to Virtual Engage with Their Students, with Rebecca Featherstone

rebecca featherstone

December 14, 2021

When everything went virtual in 2020, all sorts of service providers found a way to make it work with a ton of different digital video platforms. But my guest today, Rebecca Featherstone, wasn’t satisfied with ‘just ok’ when it came to her music lessons. Instead of dealing with it (like so many of us continue to do), she MADE A FREAKING APP (musicology) to help music teachers all over have better and more effective lessons with their students.

Rebecca talks to me about her background in music and how the frustrations of teaching over zoom became too much for her and her students. We chat about how she decided to make the app and the amazing connections she made through friends and her network. She also tells me the honest truth about pitching investments and how years of performance has given her really tough skin.

Rebecca story is so relatable to anyone who is in the thick of things and building something important to them (and others). For any music teachers who are looking to connect better with their students, make sure to check out Musica.ly and follow along on her Instagram for some fun life updates.

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49. Building an App for Music Teachers to Virtual Engage with Their Students, with Rebecca Featherstone

When everything went virtual in 2020, all sorts of service providers found a way to make it work with a ton of different digital video platforms. But my guest today, Rebecca Featherstone, wasn’t satisfied with ‘just ok’ when it came to her music lessons.

Full Transcript:

Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your babies first, I have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle until I did as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans and made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness. Of a two year old and newborn and I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds like doing it all amidst the chaos Alright everybody, welcome back to another episode of amidst the chaos. I’m here today with Rebecca Featherstone. And we are going to be talking all about the usual her journey into entrepreneurship and being a mom and all the things and how they work together to kind of create where she is in life right now. So welcome, Rebecca. Thanks for being here.

Rebecca: thank you so much. I’m so excited for this.

Dana: So before we jump into your actual story from the beginning, give us just a quick overview of what you do currently what your company is and your role in it as of today.

Rebecca: Yeah, so I’m actually a music teacher from Toronto, Canada. I own a multi purpose studio and we used to be in home and then we switched to online and during the pandemic. I had developed a video conference platform for teaching music online, which was a total career shift. So I went from teaching into software development, although I didn’t develop the app but by deleting a company like that has been quite a journey.

Dana: It is so cool. I am like definitely such a music nerd on my end that I saw this and I was like I didn’t even I didn’t even like I was like okay, she mom, Is this her company done. She’s probably on the podcast like we need to right now. Because I was just so excited. I just think this is the coolest pivot and I am just so excited to hear how this actually happened. Because like you said, that’s a big leap from music teacher to software programs. Okay, so talk to me about your life as a music teacher like pre even thinking about being an entrepreneur like what led you into music and how does your family work into being a teacher like tell me about your life and free becoming an entrepreneur?

Rebecca: Yeah, so I’ve been teaching for over two decades now. And I really, you know, I didn’t know what I wanted to go to school for. And I had been playing piano for my entire life since the age of four. And I was I was pretty good at it and I really enjoy it. I’ve gotten that creative brain I guess. And my parents basically when I said to, you know, you need to find somebody to deal with when do you want to do with your life? I was like, No, I think I just want to stay in a small town and maybe I’ll become a secretary or something. I’ll get an apartment downtown. And they’re like, no, no, no, you have to go to school. Go for music. You like playing piano? Why don’t you just do that? And I was like, okay, yeah, so I auditioned for cause a couple of different colleges and settled on one which was classical performance over jazz, and just went from there. That is

Dana: awesome. So when you went to school originally, like you said, you kind of weren’t really sure where your path was going to take you How did you feel about majoring in music once you got to school? Was it what you thought it was going to be? Like? How did those next few years ago?

Rebecca: I loved it and um, you know, I started taking pedagogy classes and working with really young kids, and I found that I could really relate to them well, and so then I was like, okay, maybe I want to become a kindergarten teacher. I really like doing that. I’m going to prepare all of my grades and get ready for Teachers College. And then over in Ontario, all of the teachers started striking because yeah, I think it’s the same in the states to their funding, you know, starts to dwindle away over the years and I was like, Okay, I don’t want to be involved in that. And at the time, I was had like completed university and college. And I was teaching privately in Toronto. At a few different music schools, like six, seven days a week and add a waiting list. Yeah. And I was like, Okay, I’m enjoying this. I’m just gonna keep going with this, I think. And I had this one family that they were really into entrepreneurs and the wife but was the president of the Women’s Entrepreneur societies of Toronto. Yeah, and so they were like, you know, you love teaching so much and you have a waitlist? Why don’t you start hiring people and having them teach for you? I was like, Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about running a business. Like, that’s crazy. And they’re like, No, it’s okay. I’ll help you with I’ll get it all set up. And I hired my first teacher in 2008. And then it’s just grown from there. So I have anywhere between 10 and 15 teachers teaching for my school. And, oddly enough, the same family has been helping me they found the husband is has been one of my advisors for our video conference platform because he’s also has a programming background and he’s very into startups. And he worked out video conference platforms. Like to back in the late 90s or something. Yeah, yeah. So there’s whole this whole big circle of entrepreneurial support, I guess. Send it now I’m finding myself see I’m babbling here now. No, it’s perfect. This. But now I find myself giving back to some teachers that I’m meeting online through Facebook groups who are like, hey, I want to start expanding my studio. You know, I want to do this. I want to do that for other people that are like, I want to make an app and I’m like, don’t even go down that road.

Dana: You’re like, forget it. Just don’t even do it. It’s funny. I thought that’s such a line for an entrepreneur. It’s like, if I had known how much work it was going to be to do this thing that was going to give me freedom. I probably wouldn’t have done it

Rebecca: because it’s not right away in freedom. It’s chained to your computer for like the first three years and like, oh my god, am I going to make enough money to pay the bills?

Dana: It’s crazy. It’s crazy. Okay, so there’s definitely two levels of entrepreneurship in your story for sure, but going back to being a teacher, because I feel like there’s so many people who are teachers and like you said, the respect from a financial point of view just really isn’t there in a lot of places for teachers and it’s horrible and I think that is a huge market for women who just feel like they’re just they don’t have a place right that they are love what they do, but then it’s just not something sustainable, and they’re not recognized for all the hard work that they do. And they’re just not quite sure how to pivot from their teaching situation. So obviously, I mean, there was an element of luck and good timing here that you met your entrepreneurial friends, you know, that kind of pointed you in the right direction, but what would you recommend for somebody in that position where maybe it isn’t possible for them to be teaching right now? What was the best thing you did to kind of get into that private field where you were fully booked kind of on your own before you even begin your studio? Like how would you recommend somebody get into teaching privately anything let alone music?

Rebecca: Yeah, teaching music or teaching anything like reading or math. There’s definitely a huge market for teaching any subject especially online with the rise of the pandemic, right. So I think just getting your name out there and following along with certain Facebook groups and your area is really great to like mom groups, marketing yourself to different schools and just letting them know that you have this offering and do they have a community board or digital community board? So those are great word ways. To get your name out there. If you don’t want to pay for advertising, because paid ads don’t always work.

Dana: Yeah, totally. No, I love that. And I think that, you know, obviously using your community and putting yourself out there I was just talking to somebody about this the other day, like, the worst thing he was gonna say is no, I mean, most likely, what they’re gonna say is just nothing. Right? That’s, that’s the most likely option. So you’re just not going to get any feedback. But the worst case scenario is that they just say no, which, for me is actually you know, terrifying. But if you don’t put yourself out there, there isn’t going to be any any kind of report on that. And so when you went from just having the studio that was, you know, just you obviously doing one on one teaching, and you went to kind of bring on some additional teachers and start that studio, what were some of the biggest challenges of that portion of becoming an entrepreneur because you’re right, like that is a jump from just teaching what you know, but then now you’re teaching what you know, and also, you know, coaching the teachers and running a business to keep the rest of the company afloat. So what was the biggest shift there and what was your biggest struggle?

Rebecca: Yeah, I’d say it was it was really trying to manage my time. So I was also teaching a lot to and then I was managing this new school that I had during the day, so I was working like probably more than 40 hours a week, trying to get everything done. So the biggest shift for me was moving from teaching to going to like more than admin side of things and scheduling and hiring people. You know, I have this, I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, I can read people really well I guess when I interview them, or I can see their resume and I’m like, Okay, you are a great person for a studio. You’d be a great fit that without even really, really talking to them too much about it. So that’s a great bonus. But But yeah, it was just like it dwindling down my teaching hours, really, which I missed quite a bit now. So I still teach a little bit too and that’s like my relax time. I’m like, oh, it’s like something comfortable.

Dana: I love that. I love that you’ve kept some time because you’re right like it you can only have so many hours in a week. And it’s not only that, like yes, there are only so many hours in the week but you only should be working so many hours in a week like you don’t need to fill up 90 hours of your week working right like and it’s sometimes that happens right of course. There are weeks like that, but it’s just not sustainable in the long term. But I love that you’ve carved out some time for a part of the part of the business that you love. So fast forward however many years right and so you now have grown at this point to a student before you founded the app. How big was your studio and what did everything look like? Right before the pandemic hit?

Rebecca: Yeah, right before the pandemic we had around 150 students, and about 12 teachers and our school and it’s slowly when the pandemic hit. A lot of people were like, oh, you know, we’re going to stop lessons right now. We’re just going to wait for a couple months until like, the pandemic goes away.

Dana: Until this ends in just a couple of weeks.

Rebecca: Yeah, we’ll be back in June or something. Yeah, but yeah, it’s uh, you know, we ended up getting some new students throughout the pandemic, which was really great too. And we’ve been able to sort of expand our teaching to people that have maybe moved out of out of Toronto and to a different area. So we’ve been able to keep on those students. And so that’s been great. So,

Dana: okay, so the pandemic hands, right, you have this great business that’s doing all the things and the pandemic kits where did then the idea for this app come into play?

Rebecca: Yeah, so it was right away when? When the pandemic happened, and I was having a conversation with my accountant at the time and it was like, oh my god, like what are we gonna do? Like, how do you teach online and I have no idea. Like, what is zoom? So true. You know, I was funny because I had actually been working remotely for eight years before the pandemic but I’ve never thought about teaching online. Because I moved out of Toronto to the woods. Wow, okay. And I was managing my school and associate interviewing teachers on Skype, but I’ve given away all of my students to teachers in Toronto like the ones that work for me, because I never thought like, oh, teaching online, I can still keep my students. But then the pandemic hits it. And he was like, oh, no, what are we going to do in my accountant said, Well, you know, like, why don’t you make an app and I’m like, that’s crazy. He’s like, no, no, I can help you set it all up and I know different people and we can get investments. And so he helped me set everything up. And we found a great development team to us and we were able to do everything local. Didn’t have to, like outsource to India or anything like that which a lot of software companies to deliver. Yeah, we, we got going with that. And it took me about six months to my accountant had done most of the business planning. And then we kind of worked collaboratively together to plan everything with the developers side and started building in October of 2020. That’s when the construction for the app began but it took about six months to organize it get funding from investors and then from the bank and everything like that.

Dana: Wow, that is that is crazy. So what Okay, first question, this is probably a dumb question. But why an app? Like why didn’t you just hop on Zoom and start teaching on Zoom? Like, what’s the difference? Talk to me about that.

Rebecca: Yeah, well, we all started teaching on Zoom. And it was I mean, assume spelt for conversation, right? So I would prioritizes that, and so we would play our instruments. So I play piano, so I’d be playing piano. And then my student wouldn’t hear me talking, or it would cut out my piano, but they would only hear the conversation. Then it was like really by latency too. So they’d make a mistake and say far too, and then they wouldn’t hear me say anything until a bar 15 Something like that. But in sometimes they won’t hear me at all because the audio would just like cut everything out. Right and I would just be an invisible person at the air and waving my hands trying to get their attention like, hey, so the lessons weren’t really effective that way. And, you know, kind of, then we started getting parents over like, oh, online lessons aren’t as good as in person. So, you know, maybe can you give us a discount because we’re only five minutes of real lessons early. Crazy. Yeah. But it’s all technology, right? Like, Zoom Skype, Facetime, like they’re all meant for conversations like what we’re doing right now. So our platform has newer technology with extremely low latency and we also skipped going through the server. So it’s on like a direct line, almost like a phone call. And you get all of this layered sound. So it’s much more natural. You can speak over your student while they’re playing. You can play the piano and talk at the same time and even have like a mini keyboard built into so you can kind of skip a little bit more latency. And it’s just a much more effective experience.

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Dana: So first off, I love this concept and like the fact you can even do these things is mind blowing to me. But did you even like how did you know that this was a thing? Like where did you even go to find out all this information to start building this app because for me, I wouldn’t even have known that that was an option right to know that you can adjust those settings and get a direct line like this all sounds genius, but I just How did you even come up with this? Because i i Sorry, no, I’m babbling but I asked this because I feel like so many people have ideas that like oh, this could be so much better. If only it had this feature. But that’s where they stop, right? They don’t do anything to then solve the problem and create something that fixes it. So where is that bridge for you? Like what happened that made you be like, Okay, we’re gonna do it.

Rebecca: Yeah, it was actually the developers. So the development team that we work with are came for studios of Ottawa. There’s about 13 of them on there. And they’re all senior level like these guys have been coding since they were four years old. Yeah, yeah. Crazy, right. And they know all the ins and outs of things. And I mean, although we’ve gotten the latency down, very, very low. It’s not zero latency because that’s physically impossible to have zero latency because it takes time for the sound to travel. But I didn’t know all of this either a year ago, and these guys were just incredible with me because I was a zero technology and piano teacher. And they taught me everything throughout the pandemic like they were so patient. They’d be using acronyms for everything and I feel like what are you talking about? Or are they be talking in code that like example AV audio engine devices and working here? Yeah, I got nothing. And then they explained it to me because not only are they developers, but they are parents to have young kids. So I feel like they had that advantage right. They just kind of treated me as like a young and educated child. I love it. But they also had a basic background in music. So they were all like Hobby musicians. Right? And did they like one of them played the bass guitar and other played just acoustic guitar and so we had that commonality there.

Dana: I feel like you’ve just like run into the best humans, like how is this to happen that you just like? I feel like that’s not the normal story, right? I feel like there has to be some sort of like, yeah, this person, it didn’t go well. Like we had to figure out something else. But you have all these amazing people in your life that have clearly made this journey like while obviously stressful, very successful, and it sounds like a pleasure to work with. I mean, it sounds like everybody that you’re working with has been such a dream. Is there any advice you can give for somebody who’s looking for the right partner and how to know like, okay, these are the people I want to work with?

Rebecca: Well, they haven’t all been a dream. Okay, okay, good. I just tend to focus more on the positivity than the now. But, um, ya know, I’ve definitely had like maybe a handful of people that have challenged me throughout this last year, and without, you know, getting into too much detail about that. They’ve, what’s good about those situations is that it really helps you grow as a person, it helps you develop resiliency, and it also inspires the people that are around supporting you because they see the struggles that you’re going through. And they think wow, like she’s just keeping on going, you know, she’s not stopping and I want to help her more. So it just, it kind of, it’s good when you have these bad things happen to you because they’re not bad things. They’re always learning experiences like it’s the same as when you learn an instrument, and you make mistakes. You’re at it right like they’re not really mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. When you first do something for the first time and they’re all learning experiences. They make you a stronger person.

Dana: I love that I think it’s so it’s so important to realize that like, all of the things that happened to you are part of you all of the things that happened to you are part of your story and it’s going to make you grow as a person and as an entrepreneur, all these bad things, and, you know, some days I hate the phrase, everything happens for a reason, but sometimes it really does work.

Rebecca: So yeah, no, it’s so true. And you know, it’s funny because it seems so terrible when it happens. Right? These things, these challenges and these roadblocks and you’re just like, oh my god, it’s the end of the world. And you’re waking up in the middle of the night at three in the morning like and it’s worse than to win right? Oh, absolutely.

Dana: In the darkness. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Rebecca: So bad yet. But the funny thing is that like this kind of stuff happens to everyone. Like I’ve been part of all of these entrepreneur groups of like, his entrepreneurs seem to have all of these little groups that they support each other, and especially with startups, and I tell my story thinking like people are gonna be like, Oh my gosh, like, that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. And nobody says that. They’re like, Yeah, well, you’re getting the full startup experience.

Dana: Yet they don’t even bat an eye. They’re like, that’s just that’s just a Tuesday, you know? Yes, it is. And it’s good to have that camaraderie and to know that like this has happened to other people before and there are setbacks. And it is normal as a part of just starting this business, and especially something like what you’re doing. So with this whole idea is again, we’ve talked said several times, it’s a huge pivot for your business. So fundraising was never really something you had to do before. Right? Finding people to invest in your product and your service. Like, talk to me about how you worked through that, like not only how you did it, but also like, that would be really hard for me as someone who’s never had to have funding for a company like I making that shift and having to ask for money and and prove why you’re worth it like that would be a big shift for me mentally. So how did you work through that, you know, kind of on the emotional side.

Rebecca: I’m still working through that. Our first round of investments was through friends and family through my accountant, actually, so he had set all of that up so I didn’t have to do anything there. Thankfully, but it was like you always have different periods of investments. Like you don’t just get a bunch of money at the beginning and then you’re set to go for the rest of it for some money and then some own funding you take on and then you build and then you get more rounds and more rounds and more rounds and it keeps going like even $10 million company, they they still get investments. So absolutely. Yeah, so we started that and got some from our friends and family and then we have this thing in Canada called the BDC. The business development of Canada. And they’re like a government funded thing, I guess. So they support entrepreneurs. And so we had applied with them to get the majority of our funding, which is right, and then through that company, you get sort of funneled out into all of these entrepreneurial programs that connect you with that, well, they kind of train you how to be an entrepreneur and a startup and then they connect you with different organizations to like build pitch decks and present them I’m actually presenting a pitch on Wednesday to a bunch of investors so I’ve been working for the past two months now on my next pitch deck, which has been a big journey, and I would build it and it’s gone through like so much change throughout this program that I’ve been in. And we’ve had to do pitch practice and everything and be completely cut up like people on the panel would be like, Well, that was a complete disaster.

Dana: Oh, no.

Rebecca: Yeah, it’s very similar. You know, a lot of the stuff in the entrepreneurial journey I can relate back to being in college for my performance practices, where I would have to once a month play like three songs. I find a stage in front of a panel of my professors who would be sitting there under spotlights glaring at me, and they would never say anything nice, right? Like, they would always just be like, Well, you could work on this. You can work on this, and you can work on this and it was like that for everybody. And it’s still kind of the same thing with the Royal Conservatory of Music exams. They don’t normally give positive feedback. They just tell you things you should work on. So I was sort of prepared for that. I think that’s perfect. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I always tell anybody, any of my advisors that when they’re critiquing something that I’ve done that like don’t be afraid to rip it. Up. I’m not going to be offended.

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Dana: that is awesome. I love the thick skin and I love that you have the experience and to know that okay, like this is just how it is like this is how you get better as you get the feedback and and you move on and go from there. So again, this is a huge shift. So how are you running your normal business right and then also doing this program? Like how have you figured out how to use your time most wisely and to capitalize on doing both businesses at the same time because you essentially have two businesses right now.

Rebecca: Yeah, it was a lot of trial and error. So I started sort of hiring people to help me out to with, you know, little tasks, and then I hired a manager for my school too. But I found out that I was having to do way more follow up and I’m a very type A personality. So I got kind of stopped that and just kept doing it all myself but I’m I’m kind of getting into more of a routine now. With the way I work so I start working it’s funny because I was reading in your your notes that like how did you make the shift from a nine to five to the entrepreneurial thing, but I kind of went the other way where I was doing this for Canario hours. And then now like I’ve dedicated like a nine to five during my working day, but it’s my own nine to five and shutting off on the weekend. Like that was really important and sending time and organization throughout the week to like work on my music school for like an hour a day. And then do interviews between like, certain hours of the day and then you know, do my social media content and at the end of the month or something, prepare that for the next month and totally recharge on the weekend and spend time with my family and shut my phone off in the evenings.

Dana: Yes, I think that’s it is such a powerful thing to just turn your phone off and be like, No, this is not even in this room like I need to spend the time in actually shut off from the business because it is so all encompassing especially when you’re doing as much as you are which is crazy. So how does your family feel about all this talk me through like what your personal life looks like and how you know you’ve pulled your family into being on board with this kind of big shift you have going on?

Rebecca: Yeah, they Well, my kids I mean like we were during the pandemic so we were it was locked down for a lot of it. And I luckily my three year old stay carried didn’t lock down. Those were still open. That was helpful but my seven year old who was six at the time, and he was at home doing online school full I’m like working the scan and it was a massive disaster. Like we had my my 73 year old mother in law in who’s like not computer literate at all, trying to help him with online school French and English. Casual real casual. Yeah, real casual. Yeah. Like we ended up fighting so much that I had to fire her from being his teacher. We’re both so much happier now. But I ended up hiring an 18 year old around the corner to come in and worked with him because she was of course very computer literate. She had more energy than a 73 year old.

Dana: That’s a great idea, though to have somebody you know, I’m sure that 18 year old with all the schools being shut down and sure they loved having opportunity to come in and do something else, you know. Oh yeah. Especially to have a job. You know, that’s awesome. So that was a great solution. So how do they feel about your kind of changing schedule in life because again, before you were kind of building your own hours, and now you’re working a more traditional schedule, so how does how does that look for them? Because that’s a that’s a change. They’re not used to?

Rebecca: Yeah, it was a big chain. You know, I think the pandemic helped with my career shift because things were just so up and down like daily with everything. So my whole career shift and spending time with them. It kind of just gotten melted into that. But before I took on this, you know, I was homeschooling my kids. We were it’s like it was great. Like we were very into Waldorf. I don’t know if you know what Waldorf method is, but it’s a German. It’s like, it’s very outdoorsy and nature inspired and it’s very calming and soothing. Like beeswax candles and love. Yeah, natural foods. So you know we are if I had more time like I make bread and everything and muffins every day.

Dana: Now you’re like baking. I don’t have time for that. What is that?

Rebecca: Now I buy my bread. Yeah, we we all shipped it together. And you know, my husband was really the only one who didn’t shift. Like he’s an industrial plumber and he said the house for 15 hours a day. And he was working all throughout the pandemic because they were working on hospitals. Yeah.

Dana: Yeah, so yes, you’re doing a lot of like, pretty much all of the parenting for a date. I mean, day to day basis. Like that’s pretty much all you while trying to start a startup and running your company and taking care of the kids full time. So what what got us through it? Like, is it just pure times? Like, we’re kind of on the other side of things at this point, or were there some things that you realize that okay, this is what I have to do to keep my sanity and to keep us chugging along for?

Rebecca: I just kept telling myself it’s not going to be like this forever. I was running on adrenaline a lot of the time. And, you know, I actually started seeing a therapist every other week to just sort of like collect my thoughts because it was just such a crazy time. So that was really helpful, but it was challenging. I was, I was you know, constantly on this app, like I never came down. And then eventually I just like I started not sleeping very well after a while and, you know, getting angry and irritable and snappy. And so then I just had to like, just shut it off on the weekends and like completely recharge real realize that you know, my business isn’t going to fail, and nothing’s going to collapse. If I don’t respond to some of these email for two days. They’re not going to like go off on me like it’s all going to be fine on Monday.

Dana: Yes, getting that through your head is really really a hard thing to do though. Because when you’ve been running your business for so long, one way and you know you you think that your clients expect a certain level of service to be able to just say no, if I’m taking Saturdays and Sundays off now like that is way harder for you than it is for the clients but from a business owner standpoint, like you just don’t want to do that. Right? You don’t want to ever disappoint anybody and you don’t want to come off as though it isn’t your top priority. But in reality, like you have to make yourself more of a top priority, right? You have to like put yourself and your family maybe then all the way in front but like at least to the point where you feel like you have a balanced life. Right. And I feel like the pandemic actually highlighted that for a lot of people like it actually almost made it easier because you’re getting to spend so much more time with your family and be purposeful with it, you know when you have them around. Now, it also made it almost impossible to do multiple things at once, but it at least kind of cleared up some of the like hustle and bustle of like okay, we got to go to this place next and do this next and get all these things in. And now you know, you kind of for us at least it’s eased us back into a more normal life as opposed to just spending so much time on the go and being you know, moving 24/7 At least we have some sort of a routine and we value the time that we get to spend apart and we value the time we get together now.

Rebecca: Yeah, and the great thing too that’s come out of the pandemic I think is the rise of of online and the technological era right like for parents of young kids having to drive them around like not only for a piano lesson but say like a French tutoring lesson or a reading lesson or something or having someone come to your house and like having to clean up or or put pants on my kids were always running around in their underwear like always, I don’t know why.

Dana: Yeah, where the clothes just come off also, I’m like, what, where are your clothes? Right? How, how is this happening? How are they not cold? That’s what I understand. But you’re so right, like, like it does give you that flexibility in those those hours back where you can kind of say, okay, like we’re not having to run this hustle and bustle and we can make things so much more effective and so much more efficient. It’s crazy. I live in Northern Virginia and normally and it’s not a city city like we live in suburbia, but it’s busy suburbia like traffic everywhere like lots to do people to see you know places to go. But it’s not a city city. After moving to Turkey. We live in a bigger city now and we live kind of on the outskirts of the city but there’s lots of traffic but the customer service is unreal and you can get anything delivered to your house very quickly. Like it’s just very accessible. Like today we had to do COVID tests to come back to the States. They showed up at my house at 815 this morning. Like you don’t have to go anywhere to do anything like that. It’s very accommodating and it makes your life so much easier and I haven’t lived here pre pandemic but it just makes me wonder like is this how some parts of the rest of the world had been living? Or is this a product of this pandemic? Because what it showed me more than anything is that your time is more valuable than anything else on the planet. Like just be able to block your schedule so that you know exactly what you’re going to be able to do in a day and not be spending hours you shuffling kids or prepping things that you wouldn’t have to do if you could do it from home is just a game changer.

Rebecca: Oh yeah, that’s the worst like taking your kids out to an after school program. And it’s like the witching hour and then you’ve got your movie in tow to and bringing all the bottles with them. Or whatever. And

Dana: you’re like having flashbacks right now. having flashbacks of Kinder music was so funny. Okay, so tell me all about the app like give me a rundown of what the features are, what it does, who it serves like age ranges, instruments, like tell me everything.

Rebecca: Yeah, so it’s for music teachers. It’s for any instrument. It’s a subscription service for the teachers. It’s free for students. And it’s definitely geared more to I’d say 12 and under and the reason for that is because I watched my six year old at the time, struggling with like he was doing online school on teams, right and there was like no features for the kids. So we’ve made musicology completely interactive, so every single button is accessible from both sides of the screen. But it’s teacher control, too. So there’s things like I mean, the biggest feature for the kids for sure is like the large animated emojis we have and we change those seasonally, like they kind of float across the screen and that’s a big deal for them because you know, stickers and kids. Yes, totally. But we have like a collaborative whiteboard. And you can upload different games like music theory or sheet music and you can both write on it together. So there’s no extra settings that you need to deal with but and then there’s a Grandstaff which has a playable piano on it and you can hook it up to your, your MIDI as well. And that there’s like rainbow keys on it. And so the students can play it either on like their tablet on the touch screen, or they can hook it up to their keyboard and play or they can use their mouse and play different songs. So that’s like another interactive feature that just kind of gets them going a bit more so they’re not just staring at the screen. And then we have this other grand staff with moveable notes. So you’ve got all your like quarter notes, half notes, like any musical new tech notation, really. There’s even a star and a heart and a little poop emoji filler for the kids. And you can both the teacher and the student can move them around and they can build little analogies or they can play like interval games or whatever they want, really, but it’s like you’re working together again. So we’re really trying to create that in person experience but through the screen

Dana: is so amazing. So who have you had the most success with like in terms of what these teachers are actually teaching and with what age groups?

Rebecca: I’d say I’m piano teachers so I definitely have the most success. Also vote voice teachers because people right, yeah, and because when they’re singing, the audio doesn’t cut out. Whereas like on Zoom or Skype, you get all these like audio cut outs, so we don’t have that in musicology. It’s definitely like I said it’s geared to 12 and under, but I’d also been having fun lessons on it as well just for the sound quality. Like you don’t have to use all the KT features that are in there, right. Yeah. So yeah, it’s really like all ages, but it’s definitely geared towards kids.

Dana: That’s amazing. are you recruiting teachers for this? Do they come and find you like how has the marketing gone? In terms of user experience and what they’re looking for?

Rebecca: Yeah, so we have a website, it’s www.musicology.ca. And then we have like social media as well. We have a great Facebook group. I’m a big fan of Facebook. I just find it easy to use. It’s probably my age to

Dana: I agree it’s it’s easy and the groups are what makes Facebook like usable for me like that’s what I use it for only pretty much and education groups you can search on with you and maybe it’s age for me too, but I’m totally there.

Rebecca: Yeah, everything there. I mean, we’re on Instagram too. And LinkedIn and YouTube we’ve got like a really great YouTube channel with like tons of demos on there and videos ever interact with teachers. So

Dana: I love that and so when a you know say a music teacher comes to you and wants to join the program and they join the subscription do you guys work with him for training like what can they expect when they come to you guys to join up?

Rebecca: Yeah, they can just sign up and I’m at they can either just play around with themselves. But I do have a contact page there with a Calendly link so they are free to connect with me and I’ll walk them through a personal demo are one of my team members. And most of the time they like to connect with me. So I try to make time. We’re able to do that right now in the startup phase. So that’s good. I really enjoy it and connecting with the teachers. The Facebook group for sure is another great place to to really reach out there. But yeah, there’s tons of support and I’m a teacher too. So I totally get to whatever questions that they’re going through.

Dana: I love that. And so as a student who’s looking to like if I wanted to look for classes for my daughter, can I go to musicology.ca and look up teachers or is this strictly like you find a teacher first and then get pulled on board?

Rebecca: Yeah, so this is just an app for teachers on students side that their teacher would just have to use it but I mean, they can certainly recommend it to their teachers. It’s free. For the students so but it does need to have a teacher account to be able to access it.

Dana: Perfect. That is so cool. And I’m so excited for you guys to be getting this out there because it’s so necessary it’s been you know, I haven’t music background as well and blah blah know a lot of music teachers this is my point or in my network and so it’s been really sad to watch them go through the past year and a half of especially like band directors And you know, choir directors, it’s like, oh my gosh, how like it you know, and we didn’t even know if the band programs were going to survive like they’re already so small in the states like it’s some parts of the states and it’s dwindling and then you know to have this whole past year and a half just be a total wash has been really really hard on them so it’s been it’s been painful to watch I think that’s why when I when I found you I was like yes, we need her IV to go with the with the secrets are but it’s great though because garlis of the pandemic like we talked about now you’re saving so many people so much time, right? There’s it’s so much easier for them to just give it a log on otherwise, and if it’s good quality, it’s not frustrating. That’s the thing about about doing anything overseas and learning anything over FaceTime like even you know to stay connected to our friends and family back in the States while we’re over here in Turkey like it is so are frustrating. It really is to have to have you know, poor quality audio. So I love that. That’s been a priority for you guys. I think it’s so amazing.

Rebecca: Yeah, it would be really neat to connect with you in Turkey but you’re leaving soon.

Dana: No, I know. Yeah. We’re, we’re, well, we’ll be back. We’re only gone for three weeks and then we’re coming back here. So this is this is so nice. Rebecca. I am so excited for your network to grow and to hear all the things about how your company continues to move onward and upward. But thank you so much. For creating the time to do this guy’s just for background information. This is at least the second time we’ve received this maybe the third time we’ve rescheduled but the second time we’ve attempted a call. My son Grady who just turned three literally has been so sick since we’ve been here and he woke up crying and screaming crying when Rebecca had just logged on to our last call. She listened to that while I tried to get him back to bed and it did not work. So I am so thankful you’re able to carve out some time on your schedule to come back home so I just am really appreciative and I can’t thank you enough.

Rebecca: Oh, this was so fun. Thank you so much. for having me. Of course.

Dana: Well, everybody, just for a reminder, you can go to musicology.ca If you’re a music teacher to check it out. And we’re so excited for you guys to see what Rebecca has in store for everybody.

Rebecca: Thanks so much. Thanks for listening, everyone.

Dana: We’ll talk to you soon.

Rebecca: Okay.

Dana: I I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos and any mom’s normal day to day. If you love what you’ve heard more snippets of knowledge about this mom Boss Life, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com to shutter links to anything in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired, it will mean the world to me and my family if you take the time to write. Thanks for joining me and it’s the chaos

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