Emma Barnes talks about running her Monkey Music business in Chichester and Petersfield
How many years have you owned a Monkey Music franchise?
I am in my first year, my classes launched in April 2015
What is your career background?
Before becoming a Monkey Music Franchise Owner and Teacher I worked as an IT Project Manager for Harley-Davidson Ltd for almost 10 years. Music has always been an important part of my life, I play the Piano and Flute and I used to teach both instruments.
How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
I first attended Monkey Music as a Mummy 5 years ago. My son and I loved the classes then and when we moved to Hampshire several years later I was disappointed to find that Monkey Music not available here to enjoy with my second son. I was ready for a career change so I decided to invest in a Monkey Music Franchise.
How often do you work?
I’m currently working for about 40 hours a week during term time. I work one morning a week with fixed hours when I teach 3 classes, the rest of the hours are fitted in around my family. I also employ a teacher who runs classes for a further 3 mornings every week.
How does the job fit around your family life? It’s wonderful to have such a flexible career. My eldest son is now 5 and attends school. Not having to book time off means that I have been able to go on all of his school trips, all of his assemblies and I can usually drop everything and just be a Mummy when I need to, for example if he is unwell. This flexibility has meant the world to our family. My boys don’t complain about Mummy going to work anymore because as far as they are concerned I’m always here for them. I also enjoy being able to work from home, suddenly it’s not a problem to have a parcel delivered, I can get the washing loaded in between answering a few emails and I’ve usually managed to sort out dinner before the troops arrive home.
What aspects of your ongoing support and training do you value most?
The teacher training to become a Monkey Music teacher was very thorough and the standards are high. I was glad to be fully prepared when I took my first class. The information from Headquarters in order to setup a Franchise was also very in-depth and I was given access to as much support as I needed in the early stages.
The Monkey Music Franchisees are a close knit community and we regularly exchange tips on songs and for props, it’s invaluable really to be able to tap into so many years of experience and to know that there is help and advice available whenever you need it.
How many classes do you currently run?
We currently run 13 classes
What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
I’m not sure where to start! I love the variety, every day is different. I love the reward of working with babies and toddlers, it’s been great to see children grow in confidence and ability during my classes and it’s such a special time in childhood that I feel honored to be a very small part of it. I love that music is a big part of our lives – even if my husband is fed up of me singing Monkey songs in my sleep! I love the flexibility that this career offers my family and that I can be a Mummy when I need to be, and work fits around that.
Are there any downsides to the job?
When I worked in an office there was a lady who came round every day at 3pm with a trolley that had cakes on. I miss that.
What are your Monkey Music highlights so far?
Although I have only been running classes since April I have already seen babies develop into toddlers, toddlers becoming steadier on their feet and managing the musical movement pieces independently, and older toddlers learning to listen to music and identify sounds that they couldn’t a few months ago. It’s been a delight to see these developmental stages and share a little part of their achievements.
I was very shy myself as a child and there are a few children in my classes that were extremely shy when they first started, one boy in particular hid behind his Dad for most of the session during his first week. It has been so rewarding to see the transition in these children who are now banging drums confidently with the rest of the class.
Another highlight has been working with my very talented teacher Nathalie. She joined Monkey Music Chichester & Petersfield in time for our Summer Workshops which we ran together. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with someone else and sharing ideas, successes and the occasional failure.