Jessica Schatz of Walled Lake always knew she wanted to teach music, and now her business is doing better than she ever dreamed.
Schatz is the owner of Expressions Music Academy in Novi, which opened two years ago, and she plans to double the size of the business in January by expanding into the neighboring suite.
The school is located at 43370 W. 10 Mile Road near Novi Road and will be growing from six studios to 13. The expansion will also include the addition of a music lab, which will be equipped with iPads loaded with music education programs and practice keyboards.
Expressions offers private lessons in piano, guitar, voice, violin, viola, cello, percussion, clarinet, flute, oboe, saxophone, trumpet, horn, tuba, trombone and euphonium. The business also has show choir classes for different age groups of children.
Starting a business
Schatz grew up with a love for music; she started playing the clarinet at age 8 and switched to piano at age 10. She went on to study music performance at Rochester College and decided that she wanted to make her career in music.
She first opened a piano studio in her father's home in 2009, which quickly grew to 40 students in just eight months. She dreamed of opening her own music studio, but never thought she could do it, until her dad gave her the push.
"He said the best way to start a business is just to start," she said.
So she did.
She put together a rough business plan, read business books and attended a seminar in Washington, D.C. about how to run a music school. She acquired the suite on 10 Mile and began painting. She bought pianos from sellers on Craigslist and emailed local university professors to find instructors.
With the help of her father and sister, Joann, the business started to gain steam.
Today the business teaches more than 300 students, 40 of whom are adults.
And they're successful, too. Each year, some of the students go to the American Guild of Music Great Lakes Regional Contest. This April, 21 Expressions students attended, and they took home 35 awards.
A diverse love of music
Although Expressions is located in Novi, its students come from more than a dozen cities from Ann Arbor to Brighton to Southfield. The academy also has many Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian students, as well as students who recently moved here from Mexico, Germany, France, Poland, Africa and Russia.
The students range in age from 6 months to 64 years old.
One of the business' newest classes is called Music Together and is for children 5 years old and younger.
Kelly Masters brings her 3-year old daughter, Grace, to the class because she saw her propensity for music at a very young age. She said the class is very organized and has more purpose than other classes she's tried for infants.
"There's not a lot of options out there at this age," Master said. "Why would I want to waste the next two years to validate my daughter is learning?"
Schatz said Music Together has been a great addition to the academy, and she enjoys seeing all the students learning.
She said her favorite part of owning the business is getting to interract with students and instructors.
"It's bustling with activity all the time. I'm surrounded by people and I love that," she said.