Setbacks Didn’t Stop Dave and Angela Hill from Living Out Their Dream of Bach to Rock School Ownership
Posted on: May 22, 2023
Let’s get to know Angela and Dave Hill, the owners of the Bach to Rock school in Leawood, Kansas, which opened in June, 2022. Their journey to Bach to Rock school ownership didn’t materialize overnight; it evolved over five years, but they kept their goal in sight, knowing that independence and entrepreneurship through Bach to Rock would be the ultimate reward.
According to Angela Hill, timing is everything. They learned about Bach to Rock in 2017 from Rick Schmidt, who owns two Bach to Rock schools in Florida. He and Dave have been radio industry colleagues for about 30 years. “When Dave and I started looking into ‘what’s next’ for our family, Dave noticed a post by Rick about his Bach to Rock school,” said Angela. Soon enough, Dave was on a flight to Florida and spent a day at the school. “From that moment, we knew it was for us,” said Dave. Dave’s career as a radio station program manager had taken the Hills from Baltimore to California, Florida, Indianapolis and finally Kansas City, over several years. During that time, Angela worked in sales and project management, and they started a family. “We wanted to make an investment in our family’s future, and also find a business that we genuinely cared about. Given my management and operations background, Dave’s radio and marketing experience, and more importantly, how much we loved music and kids, we just knew our future was with Bach to Rock.” Now they just had to find the right location.
Here’s where the timing comes in. “We considered opening a school in Florida, but the logistics just didn’t work out. And then Dave was transferred to Indianapolis. We were eager to open a school there too, but the current franchisees had right of first refusal where we were interested,” said Angela. So, the Hills had to put their dream on hold, again. “As luck would have it, we moved for Dave’s career to the Kansas City area. Bach to Rock didn’t have a school there, which was a good sign for us. But then the pandemic struck! So, we had to put the dream on hold just a bit longer,” added Angela. The couple began researching the feasibility of opening in Leawood while waiting out the pandemic. “After all the obstacles, we knew this was the place and time. Everything happens for a reason.” So, just two years after Dave and Angela moved to Kansas, Bach to Rock Leawood officially opened on June 13, 2022. And now they are celebrating their one-year anniversary!
Angela is the site director and manages all of the daily operations of the school, while Dave assists with marketing, branding, strategic planning, and social media. “We feel like we are an American success story,” said Angela. “We work very hard and are extremely dedicated to growing our school.” She credits her work ethic to her childhood and her innate drive to succeed – her first job, at age 10, was a newspaper delivery person! “I have worked my whole life, put myself through college and have striven for financial independence and security,” shared Angela. Dave, fortunate to have worked at some of the country’s top radio stations, is the ‘music man’ whose network and knowledge have been key assets in the development of the school. The school is growing quickly with approximately 200 active students, and more in the pipeline. “We are eager to meet more families through our community events and connections, so they know that we are here to provide a solution to their needs. And that we are part of the community. Bach to Rock ownership was our dream, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be living it in Leawood,” shared Angela.
Franchisee Insights – Angela Hill:
How have you made your business successful? What have been the keys to success?
Success starts with hard work and determination, and we were determined! It also takes the help of a talented team. Not only the immediate people you hire and work with, but friends, family and Bach to Rock corporate – remember your team is always there for you.
What would you tell a prospective franchisee about starting a Bach to Rock?
Put in the work, read the manuals and have some fun! Bach to Rock takes pride in putting fun first at the core of our teaching. Have fun and rock on! Be prepared to put in blood, sweat and tears when starting a Bach to Rock, because you most definitely will, I know I did, but trust me, in the end it will be worth it.
What words of encouragement would you give? Hire competent people and let them do their jobs. Be flexible. I often use the words “turn and pivot.” Plans will change, but you and your team will get it done together! And, I will say it again – have fun! Some days are long and tough, but always remember you are providing music education in your community, how cool is that? Be proud of what you have accomplished.
What do you enjoy most about owning/operating a B2R? The joy and smiles I see on our students’ faces. It warms my heart when I hear our students telling their parents how much fun they had and that they cannot wait to come back. We are big on culture here. Just knowing I am providing a space for kids to have fun but also feel like they have a place where they belong – with other like-minded individuals – is so important to me.
When you meet prospective families/students or are talking about B2R in the community, what 3 key ideas that come to mind?
Fun first. If the students are not having a fun time, then they are not going to want to come back and they are definitely not going to practice at home. It is called “play” for a reason.
Parents are parents, not a “sale.” When I meet prospective families interested in signing up for lessons, I do not think of them as a “sale.” Instead, I provide a solution to a problem and/or need they have shared – just through casual conversation, not high-pressure sales.
Share the importance of being in a band. I always talk about our goal of having our students join a band and all the benefits it brings. Not all students are athletic, and this can be their ‘team sport.’ Parents love to hear bands being described this way. And we talk about Bach to Rock’s commitment to getting bands and solo artists performing in public. Yes, while I do have a dream that someone will be thanking us in their Grammy acceptance speech, knowing that today we are giving students the confidence to perform in public is very gratifying.
Tell me a little bit about the atmosphere of your school. What do you think keeps students coming back? We all have a passion for music. Our school is my second home and I treat it as such. Our lobby is always warm and inviting. I make a point to hang out in the lobby and chat with waiting parents. They are like my friends, and I believe many of them view me as theirs too. One of our parent reviews says it best: Such a fun, inviting space. Not just where my kids have to go for lessons, but they genuinely enjoy it! Staff and students and parents are all so happy to be there. Such a gem in our community.’ We are caring, enthusiastic people and I think that shines through.
What are your goals for the future with your B2R school? Wow, that’s hard to answer because we have many! Primarily, we want to grow in our community to ensure everyone knows how wonderful it is to take music lessons at Bach to Rock Leawood. We will continue to provide a space for people who enjoy music and want to feel part of something meaningful. Plus, I see additional locations in our future!