Ever since the Music Lab switched to a ‘one owner/manager per location model’, we decided to set clear goals for each year to respond to the needs and desires of our students because we recognize the need in our location’s market for a quality multi-faceted music school. I don’t say this lightly: 2019 was an amazing year for us and it was a huge step into achieving the level of quality that we want to ultimately achieve.
Looking into 2019, we at Music Lab Rocklin and Music Lab Schools in general had specific goals we wanted to achieve and I will get to those in a bit. However, we face a major challenge for the California state government. The lesson industry has gotten used to hiring instructors as contractors(as we did) and so the instructor side of the business was simple: hire an instructor and pay them a percentage share of all the revenue once a month. In 2019, the Supreme Court of California came with a groundbreaking ruling to create a new law that required all businesses in California to switch their contractors to employees if the worker in question performs work that is within the usual course of the hiring entity’s business. In other words, having a contractor work for you in general would be very difficult to do. This new regulation effects salons, construction companies, trucking companies, schools, etc… For us, this was a major challenge going into 2019 because with employees come a completely new set of regulations which would require us to completely change our business model. We now would have to hire a payroll company, pay instructors twice a month, allocate funds to the tracking of different aspects of the instructors elements of work with us, etc… All of this adds a major expense to running a business so we would have to make drastic changes to both our students as well as the labor costs that we were incurring which is an incredibly difficult thing to implement in business especially if you don’t have much time. So we were faced with a question: do we slowly ease into the change over time or do we make everyone an employee as of 1/1/19 to get it over with and focus on the needs of our students? We chose the latter. This required many late nights for our entire team throughout December and the holidays of 2018 but what kept us going was our loyal students and customers in mind.
Once we got that behind us we had a clear mind and clear conscience on our hands to focus on what our students wanted: more opportunities for growth, more products, and more instrument choices. In 2019 we were able to gain some good ground on all these needs. In 2019 we introduced many new instrument offerings such as violin, trumpet, saxophone, banjo, clarinet, flute, voice, and ukulele. We also really put a massive focus on developing different programs to where a student can truly be given opportunities to perform on a stage as well as within a community of musicians. Queue recitals and the jam lab. Our recitals in 2019 were incredible. The venue we have been able to book(Bayside Folsom) has been beyond incredible. It’s not too big and it’s not too small. It seats about 250-300 people and is perfect for what our students need. The sound has always been perfect and the environment is very warm and welcoming so we are truly fortunate to have been able to give our students this opportunity to grow as musicians. In addition to these recitals, we’ve began a band program called the Jam Lab. We truly could not have enjoyed our first session of the Jam Lab anymore. In our first session, we taught our students what a lead sheet is and how it keeps a band on track. Then we looked at a lead sheet for the song “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and split the Jam Lab group into two separate bands to learn the songs with the guidance of our instructors that were in attendance. We then taught the kids how to start thinking about creating a song from scratch and had them perform their ideas in front of everyone and their families. This was an amazing experience as for the first time, we saw the Music Lab Rocklin family in one setting as a community. We will definitely be continuing this in 2020 on a consistent basis.
In addition to offering events such as Jam Lab and recitals, we were also focusing on product development in 2019. We have always wanted to continually give students tools to help with their continuous excitement and development for their instrument. Queue new offerings such as Music Lab branded drumsticks, branded binders with curriculum, branded guitar straps, and guitar pics, etc… In addition to Music Lab branded merchandise we’ve began heavily working with our partners at Vater, Aquarian, Yamaha, and Meinl to bring students unique tools such as having a huge selection of different types of Vater drumsticks displayed on our walls, introducing the Yamaha EAD10 so that students can be recorded on mixed audio and video, having a wide range of guitars and guitar amps for students to try, etc… We’ve noticed an immediate reaction in all of our students’ excitement and expanded curiosity with their instrument.
As you can see, 2019 was a busy year for us and it really showed in our student count growth. In 2018, our student count doubled(100% growth!). In 2019 our student count jumped by another 25%. Now that we can see that our market is clearly responding to the action we are taking in meeting our students’ needs, we want to continue this growth and have set out a few goals that we want to achieve in 2020. In 2020, we want to make it clear what our 2 main goals are: 1. Community and 2. Music Lab Pride.
- Community – The most powerful aspect in music is community. There is nothing like playing and learning music with a group of people that share your passion. We want to expand on this and as we’ve shown, we began the Jam Lab program in 2019. Our goal for 2020 is to make the Jam Lab into a consistent event with a consistent and clear curriculum program. This would include goals and assignments for our students that would show growth. This way, the students not only have community as well as an enormous amount of fun but they are also setting personal goals and growing as musicians. We are also thinking about introducing raffles, prizes, and competitions within Jam Lab to turn the Jam Lab for an awesome idea that we introduced in 2019 to an unforgettable experience that will be available to all of our students on a consistent basis. Long-story-short, we will be adding a large amount of new elements into Jam Lab as well as our recitals to create a clear sense of community among the students in our Music Lab Rocklin family.
- Music Lab Pride – One thing we have noticed with our students is that the more opportunities and goodies we introduce to create excitement, the more prideful our students become of being part of the music lab family and we want to help them reflect and show that pride. In 2020, we will be focusing on introducing a product line of Music Lab branded merchandise not just to wear but to use. We want to give our students the chance to own Music Lab gear whether that be branded curriculum hard copy books, quality sweaters, hates, beanies, t-shirts, socks, coffee mugs, drum sticks, ukuleles, etc… you name it. We want our students to show their Music Lab pride in style while having a blast playing their instrument. Stay tuned to see what we come up with!
Here’s to an amazing musical 2020!