Question :
I am giving music lessons online as I cannot travel to the schools. About half of my students cannot take lessons because of the poor internet services in rural New Zealand (Central North Island). Some are doing phone lessons. My business is called MusicRoom – and my website is musicroom.org.nz. It is very basic. I do not have the knowledge nor time to put into creating an online portal for my students and their families.  Having a website that works for the students will help with lessons and give me more time to reach more families by other means.My skills are in helping children develop their learning skills through music, and if I am spending all my time on administration because I don’t have the tools to do the job then I am not giving the lessons the best I can. I write bespoke activity sheets for my children to nuture the learning style of the individual  and develop their skills until they find the place where they can confidently match their needs with the mainstream educational opportunities.  These take time.  A more confident online presence that is less labour intensive would go a long way to making music more affordable and accessible to the students from Taihape up to National Park and all the small communities in between.Thank you for listening.Kathy ClarkCan you help?

Question submitted 16/04/20 @ 09:42pm
Industry: Creative Services
  • Morena Kathy – I hear you, my daughter had her piano lesson on FaceTime yesterday pm with her amazing piano teach – we are all learning that the technology/connectivity is not as conducive or efficient as it could be – I was thinking about free web site builder tools like Wix or Squarespace that might also have mobile optimisation – and/or an idea might be to post on the NZ Tech Startup Ecosystem and ask any developers would they stand up your web site for you for free – You never know if you ask – and another idea is that Zeald has come out with a free website offer while taking a small % of sales off the back-end. My final guidance is that the more tailored, specific you are, the more it will cost you. Kia Kaha and thank you for what you are doing for your young – and all the best. I am sure there will be others that jump on here and give some guidance. Andy

    Thank you Andy,
    I will try those ideas you have mentioned in the next few days. I have some simple ideas for what an online portal could offer – timetables, lesson activity sheets, etc but as to what is the best platform or most cost and time effective options to prioritise… well sometimes all that is needed is a wee nudge from someone who has been there before.
    Music has made such a difference to my family, I find great joy in helping others find its place in their lives. Keeping it affordable and accessible is the next step, so watch this space!
    Thank you once more

    Hi Kathy
    I second what Andy said. You could also look into ‘Teachable’. You can create an online school there and each student could have their own page where you post their content. Very cost effective and easy to follow.
    Or an easy short term fix could be using google drive and posting videos, worksheets etc in there, then inviting students via email. School teachers are using this pretty effectively. Youtube should have tutorials if you are not familiar with google.
    Keep up the great work!

    Hi Kathy
    Thanks for your question. At the moment with lockdown, people might be more inclined to have music lessons online. I can feel your frustration around the tech but don’t let that get you down. You have an amazing skill that people will pay for. At the moment, an online presence is what you need to deliver your service.I wouldn’t get too hung up about things like lesson plans and timetables. Have a think about what your point of difference in and work on that. It maybe as simple as one-to-one personalised lessons over zoom.There are many platforms that have much of the ‘back-end’ already set up. Have a look around. See what you feels works best for your skills. Best wishes. I’d love to hear more about your business.

    Thanks Bee
    I have been giving google docs a try but it is hard to make notes on a piece of music on the screen. My students are being wonderful, helping me learn to use the technology.
    It just feels odd to have to take time away from lessons to step into web-design. I have done websites before in my earlier professional life and I know the need to have a clear vision of what you want. Guess that’s the key – map out what I want on paper.
    I have been ‘burned’ by my website hosting business and am a bit ‘gun shy’ in looking for a new provider that can give me more than 3 pages (seriously, they recommended a site-builder that was limited to 3 pages but didn’t mention that).
    Still, that was 3 years ago. Time for me to move on this. I don’t want bells and whistles, just a simple platform where my students and families can get what they need.
    As easy as that. Thank you for helping me clarify my thoughts. Talking to folk like you is what I have needed but never made time for.

    Hi Janet
    You know I had a conversation with Dame Adrienne Stweart, one of the leading patrons of the arts and she said the same thing. I had forgotten about her advice until you reminded me. Thank you.

    A bit about MusicRoom.

    MusicRoom creates opportunities for students to develop their ‘learning toolbox’ through music-based activities.

    My vision is to make music accessible and affordable for families in rural locations. My ‘patch’ is the Ruapehu and Rangitikei regions. I travel to schools to give lessons, often driving for more than 500 kilometres over a week.

    The business was started in 2010 in the outer southern region of Auckland by a musician who wanted her children to learn music at school. I joined her in 2012, built up the business and the bought it in 2015. My ‘patch’ in Auckland moved to the rural north-west region and last year I sold that ‘hub’ to my tutor up there. It was her dream to be a music teacher and I am humbled by the knowledge I helped her get there.

    I moved to the Central North Island in 2017 and started again there. I have an amazing young tutor working with me and I have started a community band programme through Ruapehu College.

    There are four learning principles behind everything we do.

    1. Be there. Learning to turn up on time with what you need having done the practice to achieve your goals is a big win for any situation.
    2. Solve the problem. Breaking down tasks to find what we know so we can allocate resources to what we need to learn and identify the work required.
    3. Where do I fit in? Read the situation, work out where you fit in the plan and support your team-mates. Not everyone is the focus all the time.
    4. Have fun. Music is more than notes on a page. It’s a story you can tell your way.

    If you would like to know more about MusicRoom, I have some basic information on my very basic website http://www.musicroom.org.nz.

    My work is a way to say thank you to all those wonderful people who helped create opportunities for my son, who is now one of New Zealand’s leading military musicians.

    Thank you for listening,


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