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Meet John Henny of John Henny Music Academy in Glendora

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Henny.

John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My first musical memory is listening The Beatles, “Help” album with my dad on his reel-to-reel tape player. I can remember being completely transfixed on Paul’s voice as he sang “The Night Before.” This began a life-long love of music.

I then received a surprise Christmas gift of a drum set at age 11 (I had asked for an air hockey game). I can remember my dad predicting I would quickly lose interest in it. I didn’t.

I practiced diligently without ever being asked by my parents (I would play them to the exclusion of almost everything else.)

I made my living as a drummer though my 20s playing professionally, and did quite well as a working musician. At an early point in this career I realized I could get even more gigs if I became a competent backup singer – so I embarked on working with the best voice teachers I could find, including Seth Riggs, who taught Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder at the time.

Soon I had moved from behind the drums to the front of the stage as a lead singer (not my original intention but a happy accident).

I soon fronted original bands and even signed a deal with a record label, only to have the whole project implode just before we were to release our first CD.

In my frustration in losing the band I looked for a way to make some money as I plotted my next move.

Again, a happy accident happened.

At the urging of my teacher Seth, I began teaching, and found I had more than a knack for it.

I was soon training other voice teachers around the world in Japan, Australia, and Europe, and lecturing at institutions such as USC and the Paul McCartney Institute in Liverpool.

I also began working with celebrities such as Britney Spears and backup singers for Adele and Rod Stewart, to name a few.

With my wife, Tracee Theisen, I then opened up The John Henny Music Academy in 2013 and within two years we were voted Favorite Music Lessons in a large newspaper reader’s poll.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest struggle was underestimating the learning curve from being a voice teacher with my own small studio to running a large academy with dozens of employees and hundreds of students.

I made a lot of mistakes initially on the business side, although I’m happy to say the student experience was great from the first day.

The experience I gained was valuable enough that I now do consulting for other music teachers and studio owners to help build their businesses the right way.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about John Henny Music Academy – what should we know?
I created the John Henny Music Academy to be what I would have wanted when I started playing an instrument.

Our 2,000 square foot facility is state-of-the-art, with soundproof teaching rooms, a fully equipped stage, and a Pro Tools recording studio.

We are able to assist students in everything from getting started on their first instrument to songwriting, audition coaching, music production and even serious artist development.

My wife and I also spent a lot of time thinking about what parents don’t like about our industry, and we set out to change this.

We instituted all-inclusive pricing, no nickel and diming parents for registration fees, recital fees, books, etc. Here, everything is included in your monthly fee.

We insist on having our teachers as employees, who are background checked at the FBI level, not independent contractors who rent a room, like most other schools.

We also have a full-time front desk that handles your scheduling and questions promptly – we even have our own smartphone app so you can check on lessons or even cancel a session with a click of a button.

And because we know parents are busy, our lessons start and end on time, and all of our coaches provide constant communication so you know what your child is working on and what they should practice.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The one thing, I feel, that has helped me in my professional life is being able to honestly look at my skill sets, realize where I am lacking, and then to go improve these skills.

When I first opened my Academy, I realized I was not knowledgeable in advertising and was, in fact, prey for ad salespersons. I wasted a lot of money on ineffective ads, so I went out and got certified in Facebook Advertising, learned to write persuasive copy and to produce video ads. I was able to triple our revenues in just 18 months with what I learned.

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