Bach to Rock Franchise Review: Q&A with Wayne and Sue Chattaway
Posted on: July 8, 2015
How a husband and wife with high-level jobs in the corporate world were inspired by their son’s passion for guitar to open a music education franchise
Wayne and Sue Chattaway are used to being busy — they both have full-time jobs in the corporate world and are raising four children. Wayne is vice president of sales for a software company, and Sue runs her own health insurance agency in Jacksonville, Florida. As they watched Wayne’s son, Noah, develop a passion for playing guitar, they looked for somewhere Noah could go to further his burgeoning talents. What they found was an absence of musical education franchises in their area.
So, with their own love of music and devotion to Noah in mind, the Chattaways decided to open a Bach to Rock music education franchise in their hometown. Their doors are schedule to open in very early 2016, but Wayne and Sue already know they want to expand into nearby areas. They are true believers in the Bach to Rock experience, and they want to strengthen their community by providing a place where kids like Noah can learn to play the music they love. And Wayne and Sue are entering this business without giving up their day jobs.
This is their story:
What were you doing before deciding to start a Bach to Rock music education franchise?
Sue: I own a health insurance agency, which I started in 2001. I am still planning on running that day-to-day.
Wayne: I’m the Vice President of Sales for a cloud consultant business — we help to move companies from old systems to cloud-based systems.
How did you find out about Bach to Rock?
Wayne: We watched the Jack Black movie School of Rock, and that got us wondering if that type of music school was a real thing. Once we found out that it was, we met a friend who works as a franchise matchmaker, and he introduced us to Bach to Rock. The concept immediately appealed to me. Bach to Rock allows children to learn all styles of music, as well as to form bands and groups of many different genres: soul groups, glee groups, pop, rock, and country bands. It’s across the gamut, and that is exciting for us because we’re passionate about giving kids an outlet.
Sue: We wanted to start a music school. Wayne’s 11-year old son, Noah, is a very talented guitar player. He is completely involved with learning guitar, and he didn’t have the kind of outlet that Bach to Rock offers — a place to meet friends, start a band, and have performances. There is nothing like Bach to Rock in our area. We realized we could meet Noah’s needs and meet the needs of a lot of other kids in Florida by starting this business. His daughter Katherine is also a budding pianist and singer.
What kind of music does Noah want to learn how to play?
Wayne: I raised Noah properly on classic rock, so he wants to play “Crazy Train,” or anything by Angus Young of ACDC, as well music by Green Day, Metallica, and the Ramones. He’s 11, and he inspired us to start a business! I suspect that there are a lot of kids like Noah out there who are waiting for an opportunity like Bach to Rock to present itself. It’s a great matchmaking business for kids, because Noah’s next logical step is to be in a band. The business affords him the ability to get him grouped with a bassist, a lead guitar player, and piano player who are all on the same level as far as skill and interest.
How will the business work if you’re going to keep your day jobs?
Wayne: The plan right now is to hire a director to run the business. Sue plans to be a COO-type and will help with running the business. I will be more of a CFO-type, running the numbers. I also have a strong background in human resources, so I’ll be helping with the hiring and retention. Our plan is not to stop with one location; we hope to open multiple Bach to Rock music education franchises. Essentially, the director will run the show with direction from Sue and me.
What impressed you about the Bach to Rock music education franchise?
Sue: First the website is amazing. This business is very high-energy with a very well laid out business model. There’s lots of great innovation, and being able to see children performing at the locations we visited was very inspiring. As we continued our research into Bach to Rock and met the corporate staff, we found that they were all very intelligent and invested in learning. Education is a huge part of how they got where they are and also speaks volumes about how the program is laid out. The kids have attainable goals, there are four levels that they have to graduate. The students are really inspired by the instructors, and their successes are celebrated. The whole structure is designed to help the kids learn, as well keep the parents up to date on the children’s progress.
Wayne: Music education franchises are a needed business. It gives every child a chance to be interested in art and express themselves through music. Our kids used to be able to be in choir at church, and public schools used to have much bigger music programs. Now that many schools are cutting out music programs, there are fewer and fewer places for our kids to develop their creativity.
As we went through our due diligence in our research of the brand, we were impressed. When you walk through the halls of a Bach to Rock music education franchise, and you see the kids learning music that they like and the music their friends will think is cool, it’s simply amazing. I thought, “This is way different than the music lessons I had as a kid.” If I walked out of my lessons and I was playing John Denver, I wouldn’t be cool. If I had been able to learn how to play U2, I would be cool. On top of everything else, Bach to Rock acts as a club for the kids to hang out in and jam. We will also have a recording studio, which can be rented to local musicians.
Tell me what you want to contribute to the community.
Wayne: One of my goals is to have a family business in my hometown of Jacksonville Beach. I knew I wanted to own a business that brought the community together. There isn’t an adult who wishes they hadn’t learned to play an instrument. There are two kinds of people in this world: people who can play guitar and people who wish they could play guitar.
Sue: Bach to Rock is a place that gives kids confidence and allows them to take their talents and perform in the community. By matchmaking students for bands based on interest and ability, Bach to Rock takes traditional music lessons from an individual sport to a team sport.
Wayne: I recently spoke to a music education franchise owner in California. He said that on Saturday mornings, the dads drop their kids off for lessons, and they sit together as if the Bach to Rock is a community center. They sit and talk together at Bach to Rock! I just see it as a great place for the community to get together and do positive things. Who knows — maybe the next Taylor Swift or Angus Young will come out of my school. At the very least, we turn out hundreds of kids who know how to play an instrument, and that is extremely positive.
What do you think best exemplifies what Bach to Rock provides for its students?
Wayne: If you look at people’s biggest fears, public speaking often ranks ahead of death. That fear goes away if you are playing an instrument or singing. Since learning to play the guitar, my son has the confidence to get in front of 100-200 people and jam out. I know the pride I feel when Noah is on stage. Bach to Rock will make other parents feel the same way.
What kind of person would make a good owner of a music education franchise?
Wayne: There are two very important qualities a Bach to Rock owner must have: a love of music is obviously important. This is especially important when people are beginning to learn how to play music. It may sound like noise to them, but I’m sure that Jimmy Page sounded like noise to older people when he was starting out. The second quality an owner must have is a love of kids. Having 100 kids running around a facility might either be amazing or overwhelming depending on the person. You have to be able to multitask amid chaos and noise. Especially in the beginning, we may have 200 students who have never played music before. It’ll probably sound like the music equivalent of the Bad News Bears. The progression will be fast. It will begin the first time we teach them how to strum a guitar.
Sue: This business also provides an excellent employment opportunity for music teachers.
Wayne: I think it’s important to note that Bach to Rock is not just for kids. Adults will be taking lessons, as well. When you talk about us having a recording studio right in the middle of our facility, a local band can record there, or a mother with a great voice who has never recorded a song can do so. We can also host corporate parties with wine and cheese, and colleagues can jam together.