In this blog, we try to provide children’s music studio
owners and teachers with valuable information that can help you become more
successful in your business. As part of our 2020 blogging topics, we will be
conducting interviews with several professionals in the children’s music
industry, from leaders to teachers. Our first interview is with Jeff Spickard,
president of Musikgarten, a leading early childhood music curriculum provider.
We will cover how the company has enhanced the way it communicates and delivers
its products to early childhood music teachers all across the globe.
Q. For those who
don’t already know about Musikgarten, can you briefly describe your
That is a bit of an open ended question and like most companies there are many facets to our organization. The cliff notes version is Musikgarten is the best of early childhood music education, offering teachers the best training and materials possible to help them use music to teach the whole child. To quote our philosophy, we believe:
That all children are musical,
music meets the needs of children,
music benefits the whole child,
music must be introduced early and involve the family,
and that adults should observe and follow the child.
We use the best quality resources and follow a carefully
sequenced approach to music literacy.
Q. Musikgarten has been providing children’s music curriculum to teachers across the globe for over twenty five years. Technology has drastically changed over that time. How has Musikgarten adapted to the changes in technology?
That’s an interesting question because unlike some of our competitors, Musikgarten still provides our teachers with printed materials such as teachers guides and class activity cards for our curriculum. While this may seem old-fashioned to outside observers, we find that even our youngest teachers appreciate the ability to hold physical materials in their hands. Plus these are materials they can keep for a lifetime, no matter where their journey takes them. Where we do embrace technology to better serve our teachers is providing a digital music download, along with hard copy discs, training via real time webinars, and teacher support via videos, recorded coaching sessions and live webinar coaching sessions. We still believe that in-person ways are best in relaying information, but we also understand the convenience and cost effectiveness of relaying information digitally.
Q. What is this
most recent project that Musikgarten has launched that we are going to talk
We just recently
launched a new website.
Q. Why did you
feel the need to create a new web presence for Musikgarten at this time?
For a couple of reasons. For
one thing we felt like we needed to update the look of the site to
function better with today’s browsers and mobile devices. In a way, it’s a rebranding of our web presence. As web based technologies such as screen sizes and
resolutions change, it becomes necessary for
organizations to make changes like this every 4-6 years. So it was just time
for a change.
Secondly, we also wanted to
move the website to, or have it built to better serve our teachers and
parents with new functionality and delivery methods. Now we have a site that gives us a great
foundation to continue to build onto. This will give us a lot of flexibility to
serve our teachers. The old site had really outlived this idea and any addition to it would be “clunky’ both
for the user and for the company to keep up to date akin to slapping a
band-aid on it.
Q. Who all is the
new website intended to serve?
It really has three areas that
serve those with different needs – Potential
parents who are interested in giving their child the wonderful benefits of
early music, potential teachers who want to take training, use the materials,
and offer classes, and our existing Licensed Musikgarten teachers by giving
them a robust log in section with help materials, great online ordering system,
and hopefully items that make it a little easier to run their business and
develop as teachers.
Q. How does
the web site serve those different customers and/or markets at the same time?
parents it gives them the basic info they need about Musikgarten’s philosophy
and classes to lead them to make a decision to find a class in their area all
in a colorful, inviting way.
In the same way, it gives the
potential teacher all the basic information they need about Musikgarten’s
philosophy to lead them to take the next step in information gathering at no
cost – our in-person webinar, Meet Musikgarten. This session allows them to
listen to and ask questions from an actual
teacher trainer who is also an experienced teacher and business owner. And
while we have had webinar training prior to this website launch, it
makes the registration process much more streamlined and user friendly.
For our current Licensed
Musikgarten teachers we are able to offer them a special login section. This
allows them to take advantage of the many perks of being a Musikgarten Licensee
and place orders safely while calculating all their license discounts.
Q. What’s new on
the new site that was not on your old site?
Of course there is new
photography and images, but one of the biggest additions is an e-commerce
ordering/cart system for the public and a customized version in the teacher log
in area that has Licensee pricing, items only Licensees can purchase, and
calculates all Licensee discounts.
Q. Why did you decide to make these upgrades or additions to
the new site?
We did this in the teacher
area for better convenience and service to the customer. But we have also added
more business building items, from photography to memes and recorded coaching
sessions on getting your business started or social media, plus items to help
advance them as teachers like class videos from Dr. Lorna Heyge and our teacher
trainers, and coaching sessions that focus on teaching topics.
Sales to the public are
something we have always conducted. We have always had a list price on our
materials for sales at conventions, training workshops, general inquiries and even physically mailing price lists to our entire
mailing list. Incorporating these resources into the website is simply a
more convenient, and incidentally less costly, way of delivery to our
Q. How does the
new site and its functionality help Musikgarten to better fulfill its overall
mission and goals?
We believe in what we do and
the materials we offer. We hope with the new site, fresh look, and more
exposure, Musikgarten will remind parents and
teachers of the importance of our philosophy of always putting the needs of the
Early childhood music
education conducted the Musikgarten way is fun and exciting, but also needed
today. When music and movement are a natural, joyous part of childhood, kids
benefit greatly in many areas of life. Language development,
self-expression, memory skills, concentration, social interaction, fine motor
skills, listening, problem solving, teamwork, goal setting, and coordination
are all impacted by early music and movement education. On top of that,
as a child learns to play music, other areas of development—creativity, family
bonding, self-esteem, confidence, emotional development—are also positively
Parents and teachers, or
rather adults in general, need to be reminded that children need and thrive
under certain circumstances, circumstances that our current society may not be
providing. Our classes provide this space for children and their families. So
it’s a funny kind of balance we are
managing in our organization, while we are trying to responsibly provide the
most up to date technology to our parents and teachers, at the same time we are
reminding them of the importance to “un-plug” from the world of interruptions,
listen to the music and just be with your child.
Q. What would you
advise a newcomer to the site to do in order to get a good idea of what
Musikgarten has to offer? Is that different for different types of site
I always like to start with who an organization is first, so I really recommend the About Us section of the site and specifically the Our Philosophy and Benefits of Music and Movement pages.
From there it depends on the type of visitor. If you are a parent, I really recommend the Find a Class page. See if someone in your area teaches and then join a class. I have two kids, 6 years old and 8 years old. They have taken Musikgarten classes since birth and I can personally testify to the benefits of Musikgarten classes. Watching their musical progress is a joy, but seeing them grow emotionally and socially is just as powerful. They sing in tune and joyfully make music a part of their everyday, whether they are playing a game, dancing, or just being silly. On top of all of this, they love their family, they love being in nature, are open to learning, and have empathy for the people around them. These are things that will carry them forward no matter where their journey takes them.
If you are a teacher, go through the Become a Teacher section. We offer both in-person and webinar training to fit everyone’s schedule. Register for a Meet Musikgarten session or if you have more questions please use the Contact form or call us 800-216-6864.
We want to thank Jeff Spickard
for this interview, and stay tuned for more insight from industry professionals
on how to be more successful as a children’s music studio
teacher and owner.