Franchisee Spotlight: Chris Achzet, Drum & Production Guru for Music Industry Legends, Doubles as Owner of Bach to Rock Mt. Juliet, TN
Posted on: February 28, 2022
Parallel Careers Keep this Entrepreneur Immersed in Music & Inspiring Young Musicians.
Chris Achzet lives music. Chris Achzet knows touring, production and tech, and has worked with many famous bands and artists. To name drop…he’s worked with Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Cher, Peter Frampton, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez to share just a few!
With more than 30 years of diverse experience in drums, backline and production management, Chris recently added “Bach to Rock school owner” to his already stellar résumé. And he’s bringing all of his industry expertise with him to help get more kids excited about and into music like when he was a kid.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into music?
I found music at an early age when the arts were still funded in schools. I played snare drum from grades 3-6 before I sat behind a full drum kit. The seed was planted for sure. Junior high and high school were all about playing with my buddies. Of course, we started a band.
This passion carried forward and I knew the music business was for me. My big break came in 1987 with the opportunity to do stage assembly for Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse of Reason stadium tour. Lots of physical labor and long hours but WOW, what an experience at 20 years old. I did a couple other tours doing stage work before moving to Los Angeles, where my efforts became focused on backline tech opportunities (drum tech). Fast forward 30+ years, 92 countries visited, and over 3 million miles flown, I started a Bach to Rock in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. I still tour, and since I’m in the Nashville area, I have been doing tech work for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Why did you choose to open a Bach to Rock school?
I have spent my entire life in music, starting in third grade. My music class was so much fun, and my teacher was so inspirational, I knew then that my future would revolve around music. About three years ago, I really felt compelled to help provide quality music education to today’s kids after noticing a lack of funding and support in public schools. So, I sought out Bach to Rock and found the answer. I have had a blessed career in live music performance as a result of my grammar school music teacher. I wanted to bring the same level of passion and commitment to children in the Mt. Juliet area. Bach to Rock offers a curriculum-based music program that teaches all instruments with a strong focus on performance.
How long has your school been open?
We opened in July 2021
How have you made your business successful? What have been the keys to success?
We had a strong start! We did lot of networking and outreach prior to opening, so had over 60 students in our first month. Also, Bach to Rock corporate provides a great deal of information and support to help one succeed. Digest the information, know your area, and location, location, location! Once you’ve done that it’s about putting in the effort and being passionate about it. Hire good people!!!
What would you tell a prospective franchisee about starting a B2R?
B2R is a great opportunity for those that have business sense mixed with a passion for music and/or education. If you want fast growth and continued success, be prepared to be out in the community getting involved in events. To a certain degree, this is a numbers game. Prospects = opportunities to convert to members!! So, plan on getting involved in at least 10 events a month in your area. Do that, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Any words of encouragement?
If you like music, have passion and an outgoing personality, and if you understand the market you’re putting the school in, you’ll have fun and feel rewarded by the joy you and your staff bring students and families.
Have you run into any tough spots? If so, what are they and how did you work them out?
We’ve had no major tough spots. I attribute this to hiring the right people with the right availability. The biggest challenge of all is hiring and keeping your instructors busy enough to stick around. I’ve had very little instructor turn over and managing that can be difficult to do. It requires constant attention.
Key steps to smooth operations: Have a good grasp on how the school operates; know how to use Harmony (Bach to Rock’s proprietary business management software); understand the programs and how they function. Hiring is also key! Don’t settle, do a lot of interviewing and find the right people!
What do you enjoy most about owning/operating a B2R?
I often say, ‘I’m not sure who has more fun, the staff or students.’ It’s a joy beyond belief to be able to provide music education to students of all ages! Everyone leaves with a huge smile on their face and feeling special. The parent feedback has been amazing. I hear things like, ‘My son has finally come out of his shell and has never been this happy.’ When I hear things like this, I know we’re impacting kids’ lives in meaningful ways.
What is the most popular class or lesson at your school?
Well, that’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? On paper, our biggest revenue generators are Private Lessons, Early Childhood (EC) classes, followed by group classes.
Our EC programs took right off! Our location supports this with a ton of young families and home school groups. Glee Club, and Kids-N-Keys have been our most popular group classes. Off paper (for now, as we are still a new school), Rock Bands seem to be the most fun for students.
Tell us about your expectations of being a Bach to Rock franchise owner.
I had a good understanding of what it was going to take to pull this off. I knew that getting to lease and the buildout of the location was going to be a challenge (I wasn’t disappointed). The rest was simple, following the steps and suggestions laid out by the Bach to Rock corporate team, and putting in the effort. Like everything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.
What’s the best way to represent your Bach to Rock school when you meet prospective families/students or are talking about Bach to Rock in the community?
- Be passionate and excited!
- Know your programs (use #1 as a rule of thumb)
- Reinforce that Bach to Rock is curriculum based with a focus on performance, all instruments, all ages. (use #1 as a rule of thumb)
The school buildout is spectacular! Use that to your benefit. Get folks in the door and that goes a LONG way to help get families to sign on.
What has surprised you the most about owning a Bach to Rock school?
No real surprises! The corporate team laid out everything clearly, and their support was excellent.
Tell me a little bit about the atmosphere of your school. What do you think keeps students coming back?
Our school ROCKS!! We have an amazing vibe, talented instructors with outgoing personalities, great admins. We treat everyone like family and all our students like rock stars! The object is to captivate new students, make them feel at home. Welcome everyone that walks through the door like Norm from “Cheers.” We ensure students are learning but are having a lot of fun while doing it.
What are your goals for the future with your Bach to Rock school?
Financial Goals: To get to the top earning position in the franchise chain. Personal Goals: To provide top notch music education and give back the passion for music I’ve carried throughout life.
Visit the Bach to Rock Mt. Juliet website HERE.