Back to teaching
I received a call from a church music director a few months after quitting my public school job. He asked if I was interested in teaching private lessons at their church through their conservatory. I told him I needed a break from teaching, but would like to be able to call him in the future.
After several months of working at Starbucks and then a yarn store, I wised up. I knew I wanted to go back to teaching music, so I called him. I was lucky! He still needed teachers so we set up an interview. I was hired and started teaching piano and flute lessons in the spring semester.
The following school year, I was hired at another local church's conservatory. I had students every weekday afternoon, but I still needed to tweak my job just a bit to fit what I really desired for my life.
I still needed to tweak my job just a bit to fit what I really desired for my life.
Do you remember that moment as a kid when your eyes lit up; when your mind started racing with ideas; when you got so excited you had to tell your friends or your parents; when you realized what your passion was ... the moment you knew exactly what you wanted to do when you "grew up"?
I vividly recall sitting in band class as a 7th grader and thinking, "This is it! I want to be a music teacher! I want to give students the amazing musical experiences and opportunities that I've been given!"
"You like an interest. You live a passion."
“Isn’t it great? You’re getting two choir classes this year! They will both be mixed choirs from all grades!” My vice principal smiled as she informed me three days before the new school year was starting.
This was horrible news!
I was crushed!
I had been hired two years previous as a choir and math teacher at a public Intermediate School (grades 5–8) in Santa Ana, CA. After a fantastic second year, my program was cut in half and I would be teaching more math classes. Yes, I had a credential for it, but my passion is music! I had dreamed about teaching classroom music since the 7th grade. I was crushed!
A budding business
My first year of teaching private piano lessons ended with almost a 100% growth rate in new students. I started with 8 budding pianists and finished with 15. I was thrilled! Word of mouth by parents was my only marketing tool. I was grateful to add on students to my schedule during the year, though I certainly didn't anticipate so much growth!
I loved creating my own schedule and being my own boss.
The following summer in 1997, I received an unexpected phone call one afternoon that brought about big changes in my life. I was offered a job teaching at the "Old Towne Academy" in Orange, CA, pending a positive interview with the Board. They had lost their piano teacher and had been given my name by someone, somewhere (the details sure do get fuzzy after 20 years!). At that point, the academy consisted of only two other teachers — voice and dance — that taught in classrooms at the First United Methodist Church.
A few weeks later, I was hired.
1996 – The Beginning
I pulled up across the street from a gorgeous house in an affluent neighborhood in Orange, California. As I shut off the engine, I realized how my VW bug echoed in the quiet cul-de-sac. This was my first day to meet my future private piano students. I was 21 years old and it was the summer before my senior year at Vanguard University.
"Don't be intimidated. Just remember, you know more than they do."