The pandemic has been a shock to us all, and the music industry has been affected hugely, but the stars of today’s blog have an incredible story to tell. Pro Music, based in Halesowen, UK, have kept their teaching business thriving, and have even gone international!
Read on to find out how they did it.
So, please give us a little introduction to Pro Music! Where did it begin and how is it going?
Pro Music started in my parents’ garage at 16 years old. I was always asked by parents in the area if I would teach their children so I would agree and soon enough I was coming home from college and working 4pm to 9pm most nights and all day on a Sunday too in a small garage. I soon found out that if I was going to keep these children for years to come I would need to add value to their lessons. The next step was to get all of them on the RSL books which worked out, and many carried on until at least Grade 6-8!
Amazing. So, what is your set up like now?
We have two sites and a third one opening up in September (on review of Covid). At both sites we have 1400 pupils per week and 31 Pro tutors. We start pupils off from 5 years old and have many adult learners too. 40% of the staff were once children I taught myself!
I always made sure they went on to university first or used the RSL diploma pathways.
That really is an incredible amount of growth from the garage days! So, on the subject of Covid, how did you make the transition to online learning throughout the pandemic? Was it difficult? Have you noticed any benefits maybe?
It was a shock at the start when it all kicked off, but soon enough we all found our way. Some of us have taught using Zoom before so we had some experience.
We had to learn to adapt but the plus side was our market for music pupils wasn’t now a 10-mile radius but anywhere in the world! We used this to our advantage and soon filled up empty slots with new online pupils.
We set up marketing campaigns and then decided to show these in America. This is where life for us all really changed. We now have staff doing shifts from 12pm-9pm and then more staff starting 9pm-2am to cover the time difference in America. If it wasn’t for the pandemic this would never have happened!
Wow. Certainly, an unexpected turn but it sounds like you’ve really made it work. And how have your students found the RSL digital exams? What was the experience like?
A great experience and we have even now set up digital exam rooms for the pupils to use. It took some time to convince some pupils this was a good route but after a few demos progress was made.
Yes, there was definitely a period of transition for everyone! Will you still be using the traditional face-to-face exams in the upcoming exam periods?
Yes, we already have 3 private days this year and 2 public! Face-to-face is great but now we have more options due to the digital exams.
Fantastic. And so finally, tell us what’s coming up in the future for Pro Music!
Hopefully another site in September, and more focus on teaching in other countries using our strong online presence. The great thing is that now it doesn’t matter where we set up because we have the options of providing our service to anywhere in the world. The pandemic has challenged the preconceptions of teaching and how we grow as a business.
We’re in awe of the resilience of this business and their determination to make it work throughout the past year. Pro Music, we think you’re amazing!