In Our Neighborhood: How I Turned My Passion For Music Into A Full-Time Profession
Meet our neighbor, Scott McGowan, owner of Playtime Arts Academy. We invited him to guest blog about his passion for teaching music.
Guest Blog by Scott McGowan, owner of Playtime Arts Academy
My family is very musical. Their example instilled a great love of music that has lasted me a lifetime. It has brought people who share my love of music into my life, lifted my spirits when I am down, and even provided a livelihood.
Growing up, the sounds of radio play and records filled our home as a constant presence. I cannot recall a ride with my parents without music blaring from the radio. My mother also played the radio as she worked in the kitchen or relaxed at the poolside during the summer. My father avidly collected record albums and my parents regularly played them as they danced together in the living room. My paternal grandmother was an accomplished pianist. She and my grandfather, who were both excellent singers, would sing while she played piano. This happened whenever the family got together, either at our house or theirs.
Inspired by my grandmother, I began piano lessons at the tender age of seven. At the age of eighteen, I began singing and have typically done so while playing the piano ever since. I taught myself to play basic guitar when I was thirteen years old and the flute when I was in my 20s. In college, I often played piano in one of the private practice rooms in the music building or in my dormitory. After leaving the dorm, I even bought a piano for the house that I shared with a few friends. When I was in college, I also performed at open mics. In more recent years, I have performed guitar with vocals on a weekly basis at local open mics as well as participated in weekly jam sessions. I even held a few at my house. I have played in talent shows on cruises and guested in their piano bars. Basically, I have sat down to play at least a few times a week since childhood. I am now in my early 50s, and except for a small amount of time spent mourning my wife's passing, nothing has changed.
Work after college was not fulfilling. In 1993, just a little more than four years after graduation, I decided to stake out on my own as a traveling piano teacher and musical entertainer for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Shortly thereafter, I met my future wife. In 1996, I convinced her to quit her sales job and teach piano to students on my waiting list. Like me, she immediately fell in love with the job. Within a year, we had a combined waiting list. Persuaded by my wife's insistence that we not leave such interest to waste, we decided to hire additional instructors. Before we knew it, within three years, we had nearly fifty part-time instructors traveling to the homes of well over 300 piano students and a waiting list of nearly fifty families despite our efforts to hire enough part-time instructors to keep up with demand.
Our niche, which we expanded in 2015, brings instructors into students' homes for piano/keyboard, guitar, and voice lessons. And although demands of the business have forced me to forgo professional musical entertainment, I have never been happier doing what I love and making a living from it. Today, the business is still my exclusive source of income.
My passion for music is undeniable. I practically live and breathe its essence. There's a spinet piano and bluetooth enabled jukebox in the rec room, a baby grand in the great room, and a constant supply of YouTube videos playing in the business office. Whether it's visiting my piano students, running errands, going out to get a cup of coffee, seeing a band, attending a party, or singing karaoke - which I do as often as four times per week - I can't back out of the garage without selecting music for the duration of my drive.
I am truly blessed to be able to earn my living in this unique little niche, to have shared it with my late wife, as well as the hundreds of instructors and the thousands of students we have involved over two decades. I couldn't be more grateful knowing that I earn my livelihood by spreading the joy of music.
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