Hello Community Partners!

Firstly, let me greet you and welcome you to an occasional letter that I intend to send to keep you informed of some of the behind-the-scenes goings on at ABC Academy of Music.  If you are getting this, it is because you are local partner of ours, to some extent, and we want you to know what we are up to, so that if opportunities come up for us to help each other or collaborate, you’ll know something of how we do that, and what our schedules are.  You are also more than welcome to take yourself off this list – the link is in the footer of this email any time you get it.

We had a busy ’15-’16 academic year, and are tearing into the new one with vigour and excitement.  There’s a lot to report to you, and we hope you’ll take the time to catch up on what we are up to, so we can continue to be well informed on each others’ activities for our mutual benefit for the coming year.

What are we really doing?

Last year we fundamentally changed our mission statement.  It used to be “To provide students of all ages the skills they need to enjoy music for Life!”.  While a great mission statement, it really didn’t encapsulate the strength of our feeling about what we do.  We also wanted to have a rallying point for what we do, so we now consider our mission “To Save Music.“.  Now that is something that really speaks to us, and we hope it speaks to you, too!

Saving Your Money & Help ABC – Now is the Best Time

As you know we have a great referral program.  If you refer a friend to ABC, we’ll give you 20% off one set of lessons, and 20% all of their lessons until the end of the school year.  For Music Together, this is always off the first child, for both families.

Did you know that this is an unlimited program?  Last year someone built their own class and not only got them free, but also has a 40% credit roll-over into this school year.  You can refer as much as you like (and we hope you do!).

This, however, is the best time of year to tell people about ABC because the most billing is still ahead of us, and saving hundreds of dollars a year is a good deal for everyone.  We appreciate any referrals you can make!

How to send us your referrals: Use our Lead Submission Page, and just fill out your friend’s information on either the Babies & Toddlers side, or the Music Lessons side.  Be sure to include your name, so we can properly acknowledge you.

Events

The last 12 months has seen us get into some great activities, and receive some great invitations.

Holy Rosary Curriculum Night – we were once again welcomed to participate in the annual meet-and-greet between parents and teachers in the early fall.

Music Together Teacher Training – We hosted a 3-day, 27-hour teacher training that saw people come to Toronto from as far away as Chile!

Barnaby at University of Toronto – ABC’s director (Barnaby) was invited to speak to students at the Faculty of Music, for their course ‘Lives In Music’, an invitation that has been issued again for Fall 2016, on October 14th.

The Bump to Baby Show – Toronto’s premiere event for young families, with a focus on natural living and health.  We offered free Music Together classes, which were very well received.

Pop-Up at the Barns – A great initiative in support of the Wychwood Barns Community Association in tandem with the Wychwood Barns Farmers’ Market on selected Saturdays through the summer.

School Fairs – We took our Rock Band on ‘tour’ this past spring, as we have for over 5 years, to play at local school fairs.  This year we played at:  Forest Hill Jr. & Sr., Holy Rosary, Rawlinson.  New this year was an ‘Instrumental Petting Zoo’, which allowed kids to try a variety of different instruments.  It was loud, but great fun!

We were also invited to take part in the BIG on Bloor festival, but were not able to make it work this year!

New Partnerships

In the last year we established some key partnerships that we’d like to fill you in on.  There are two types of partnerships; Discount Partnerships for Organizations, and Collaborative Partnerships with Similar Businesses.

ORGANIZATIONS

We offer local organizations the opportunity to have their constituents come to ABC for special, ongoing discounts.  In the past year we have added the following organizations to this program:

  • Toronto Concert Band – local adult concert band
  • New Horizons Band – concert band programs for retired folks
  • Toronto District School Board Employee Discount Program
  • Fieldstone Day School

We are delighted to have these partners, and if you think or know another group that would like to take advantage of this, please let us know.  You can see what they are getting on their custom partner pages:  ABC Website>+ Programs & Links>Partners

COLLABORATIONS

We are delighted to be working with the following partners to mutually refer business and create a community of growth:

  • West End Naturopathic Doulas
  • The Bump to Baby Show
  • Tiger Dragon Martial Arts
  • Hop, Skip, Jump
  • Jill & The Beanstalk

These are businesses that are in alignment with our target market and demographic, and that have great service for their existing clients.  As before, if you know anyone that would be interested in forming a collaborative partnership, just let us know.

New Locations – Music Together

Our Music Together program is a fantastic curricular program for children from birth to the time they turn 5, and we have been putting considerable effort into growing this program, as part of our core mission.

In the past 12 months we have been very fortunate to add 2* fantastic locations for these classes to happen, which allows us to better serve a broader local area.  We now have classes at:

  • Oakwood & St. Clair West (Tiger Dragon Martial Arts)
  • *Wychwood & St. Clair West (Hop, Skip, Jump)
  • *College & Ossington (Jill & the Beanstalk)

In-Home Music Lessons – Pilot Program

We are pleased to announce that we have developed and are testing a new In-Home Lesson Program.  We invite you to visit the page on our website and post it up on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

Because we have a great reputation and rating online, we often get calls from far away, so now we’ll be testing extending our service area to help get people in touch with that high degree of excellence in music education.

What makes this better than similar services?

There are 3 big reasons:

  1. This brings ABC’s specially selected and trained teachers to a broader geography, and includes all of our regular teaching features, including Student of the Week cards, Homework Posts, Reporting twice a year, and access to our student Recitals.
  2. It does not force teachers to go beyond reasonable distances – there are zones that the teacher can offer from a ‘home base’ intersection.
  3. It guarantees your teacher a fixed travel stipend for greater zones travelled.

An additional bonus of this system is that the rates are not much more than lessons at ABC’s campus.  In fact, Zone 1 lessons (1km of walking from the ‘home base’ intersection) is exactly the same price as coming to ABC’s campus.

The catch – there isn’t really a catch, but we do have an exclusion zone within which people must come to ABC’s campus location.  This is simply to avoid cannibalizing our existing teachers’ schedules.  The exclusion map is on the In-Home Lessons page.

What do you think?  We’d love to hear from you about this.

Buying Books from Home

We are rolling out a new feature on this year, the ability to order a teacher’s most recommended books right from their page on our website.

It is our hope that this will save parents and teachers trips, time, and possible frustration by enabling them to order exactly the book they need without having to go to the music store.  They will be able to select from multiple merchants, such as Amazon and Indigo when an online option is available.  We are looking at other retailers, but for the moment these two are most likely to be the primary suppliers.

We love using technology to eliminate barriers to the best possible experience for our students.

Homework Posts

Last year we piloted and quickly added a method to get students their homework by email, and onto our website each week.  This allows for students to always have access to their homework, even if it is lost.

For parents, it is a point of accountability, enabling them to know what is expected of their students, and of them.

Important Upcoming Dates

October 1 – Fall Music Together Classes Begin

October 14 – Barnaby @ UofT Faculty of Music

November ? – Rumored Holiday Pop-Up at the Barns

December 4 – ABC Student Recital

January 3 – Regular Lesson Schedule resumes.  NOTE: This is a week earlier than schools this year.  It is not an error.

January 7 – Winter Music Together Classes Begin

April 1 – Spring Music Together Classes Begin

May 7 – The Bump to Baby Show @ Wychwood Barns

May 14 – ABC Student Recital

Late May/Early June – Rock Band School Fair ‘Tour’ with Instrumental Petting Zoo

Now What?

Well, this year is going to be a year of focus for us.  We want very much to do the things we have in place with the people we have in place, well.

We’ve laid a lot of groundwork over the past 2-3 years, and it is time to make that infrastructure work at peak efficiency.  We have great teachers, great contact with our clients and partners, and now it is time to make sure that we pay attention to those things so that they become great.

There are a few ‘simmering’ projects in the back of my mind, but they are not pressing, and will come to fruition in their own good time.

 

I hope that you all have an excellent academic year, and that we stay in close touch to compliment each others’ efforts as we work through the months.  I am delighted to work with you, and to form our own community that not only has an eye on saving music, but that fosters a tighter-knit community in education, business, and friendships in our area.  As small operators, we are the glue that binds!

Yours with thanks until next time,

 

Barnaby Kerekes
Director, ABC Academy

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