A Day In The Life of A Start-Up: Day 9

A New Lockdown – A Music Teacher’s Point of View

2020 has been such an impactful time for music teachers, not only as many of them are working musicians – so gigging, playing in function bands for weddings and parties which have stopped over the last few months, reducing their income – but also as their music lessons have significantly declined during the national lockdown.

It is true that many of these teachers have done a tremendous job moving their lessons online, however, during national lockdowns, the numbers of enquiries fall through the floor – meaning that lesson numbers decrease and teachers grow worried about the sustainability of their teaching business. This has not been helped by the confusing information given on whether they are able to teach at local music studios – for example from an education provision point of view or whether no lessons should take place either in school or out of school. We have taken the line that in-person lessons are no longer possible from the new lockdown date and will monitor new guidelines as they come through.

Overall, a worrying time for music teachers but the resilience shown by the community during the first lockdown gives great confidence that when this lockdown lifts we will again see students and teachers returning to lessons.

Sitar Lessons London

It is always really exciting for the team when we have the opportunity to work with a music teacher on a new instrument, something that happens rarely now that we work across so many of the popular instruments. However, it was with great pleasure to welcome Tommy Khosla into the team as one of the UK’s leading sitar players.

Tommy will be working with us to launch a new Sitar Lessons London music hub, specializing in helping students from across the capital learn to play the sitar. Winner of UK Awards for Young Musicians in Indian Classical Music, Tommy has had a passion for the sitar for many years and was keen to share his passion with students throughout London.

As you can imagine there is a great cultural interest in learning sitar music, with students travelling from across London to Tommy to take lessons. However, with the impact of the new lockdown restrictions, it appears that this will be online for the moment.

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This post was written by Matthew Rusk on November 6, 2020

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A Day In The Life of A Start-Up: Day 2

Social Media

There is always a challenge for a business to get the most (or anything!) out of social media. Not only are there so many platforms, but the amount of time that can be wasted by a business trying to maintain social media presents with little or no positive outcome is significant. Of course, if your business is one that can sell directly through social media then it makes so much sense to sell through those platforms – almost as if they are a marketplace.

However, when selling music lessons I know that the team has always struggled to try to develop a strategy that helps to promote our music lessons to the diverse group of interested individuals who take lessons. For many years it has been clear that this was a strategy that didn’t give the results that we were keen to get from it – in other words, the input time compared to the numbers of enquiries coming through social media wasn’t scalable.

With this in mind, a lot of time in 2020 has been spent by the team on developing a social media strategy that would help to develop the business. This moved the focus away from trying to generate more student enquiries through social media and instead of using social media to highlight the open teaching positions that the business had. Essentially, the team refocused from student enquiry generation to using social media to fill vacant roles and almost immediately the results of the time versus success completely changed. The team has been able to use the mgrmusic Facebook page to highlight the job opportunities that teachers could apply to with real success.

They have also grown out the closed teacher community on Facebook, to give teachers a space to seek advice and provide support to other music teachers, this has been a really effective place for music teachers to feel part of an online community during covid-19. At the same time reducing the number of platforms that we use for social media has helped to focus the strategy, closing down the Instagram account and reflecting on whether the Twitter account has a significant impact on business development.

Guitar Lessons Wimbledon

It is always a real compliment when a teacher who is based in one location move to a new location and is keen to continue working together in the new location. Charlie English, an experienced guitar teacher who we have worked with for many years recently relocated to the south-west of London, keen to launch a new Guitar Lessons Wimbledon music hub. He has been a fantastic guitar teacher, helping students of all ages and abilities to develop their playing ability in Southampton and I am sure that he will make the Guitar Lessons Wimbledon music school a real success for the local learners.

Of course at the moment almost all the lessons nationally are taking place online, but it has been positive to see that enquiries have continued to come in with a geo-relevant search pattern – meaning that students in say Reading are interested in taking lessons with a guitar teacher in Reading, even if that is just online for the moment. Many enquiries say that “when this is all over I would like to take in person lessons with you, but for now do you teach online?” – of course, that said there has been an increase in online enquiries, but it has been really reassuring that these are less compared to those that are still geographically relevant to the music teachers. Lets hope this is a theme that continues moving forward, as local music students need local students to teach – as much to keep them enthused about staying in the private music teaching business as it is to form a sustainable income.


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This post was written by Matthew Rusk on October 30, 2020


A Day In The Life of A Start-Up: Day 1


For a long time now I have been keen to write a daily overview of how a business develops on a day to day basis. This is partly so that entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs could both recognize the common challenges faced with growing a business and see under the hood at what happens in any one particular day to contribute to the success of the business.

Partly inspired by the recent Amazon series “All or Nothing” about professional football teams Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs, where fans were brought behind the scenes in professional football to see the day to day workings of the club. Not that I think that there is anything as interesting as that in this case, but who knows!

I was also keen to write on a more frequent basis on a personal level to document overtime what the team at mgrmusic.com works on and how these projects go. As a student of History at the University of Exeter, documenting is a great source of resource in the future to assess why decisions were taken and reflect on how things could have been done differently. My original plan was to start writing these from 1 January 2021, but I wanted to start by giving it a go over the next month to see if I really could commit to providing daily updates on the work that the team at mgrmusic.com had done.

Piano Lessons Faversham

The main focus of work by the team on Wednesday 28th October 2020 was conducting interviews for the open piano teacher role for the Piano Lessons Faversham teaching hub. Originally a page focused on generating students for a piano teacher named Jess France, it has been left vacant in recent months as Jess relocated up to Cambridge. With a flow of new piano student enquiries coming through the team was keen to bring onboard a new local teacher to help tutor these piano students. However, the interviews that the team conducted yesterday look likely not to resolve that quite yet, as finding the right candidate to onboard is more important than bringing onboard any teacher that might be able to help.

For example, it is quite common at the moment for teachers who are not geographically located near the locational where the enquiries are coming in, to get in touch and offer their services in an online capacity. While they are correct that the majority of music lessons will take place online for the foreseeable future, it is not a long term solution to local students who would be keen to return to in-person lessons in 2021 when the wider situation allows it. Ultimately, a long term resolution has always benefited the business more than short term fixes – so that logic again will need to apply here.

Sitar Lessons London

For the first time in a long time, the business opened up a new teaching hub for an instrument that we had previously never offered lessons upon – the sitar. I know the team was delighted to have the opportunity to start working with Tommy Khosla, Winner of UK Awards for Young Musicians in Indian Classical Music, who has a deep passion for sitar music and helping to teach the sitar to new learners.

His enthusiasm for the sitar was infectious and I know that the team were delighted to work with him to launch Sitar Lessons London – the business’s first attempt at developing a dedicated sitar school in the UK. One of the most interesting aspects of instruments like the sitar is that as students recognise it is a more unusual instrument they are more like to travel, or be willing to take lessons online, as clearly the number of local sitar teachers is lower than say guitar or singing tutors. With this in mind, opening a London wide Sitar school made a lot of sense for the team – rather than focusing on a smaller area of London.

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This post was written by Matthew Rusk on October 29, 2020

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