If You Told Me….

3/31/2020

So… here we are. Two weeks into this crazy new world.  If you told me a year ago or two months ago, or even three weeks ago that I would have to recreate the entire structure of  my business, my life habits, and social interactions with clients, family and friends I would have shrugged it off of as crazy talk.

If you told me after our JTB concert weekend March 7th and 8th that we would be shut down by March 14th, I would not have been able to even begin to imagine this as a serious possibility.   The concert weekend was insanely busy. I could not believe the attendance both days. At that time, conversations were just starting about the need for social distancing. However, based on the attendance over the concert weekend, no one would have  guessed that this was even an issue.

Lessons and bands proceeded as usual the week of March 9th.  But by the weekend, I could feel and see a paradigm shift taking place. The concern regarding the virus was growing and growing fast.  Social distancing was becoming the norm. Band member, and personal friend, Peggy, would like us to think of it more as “physical distancing”.  I agree. We can still be “social” but cannot be physically close. 

Then on Sunday the 15th, the proverbial “shit” hit the fan.  On March 16th, we could no longer run our business as usual.   If you had told me that I would have all our staff virtually teaching  that week I would have said it couldn’t be done that quickly. It’s just crazy talk!  But, we ran full speed into the problem…what I refer to as “running into the burning house”.

It is easy to take for granted the team you surround yourself with.  It is easy to get complacent when everything is running just fine. It is easy to watch the cogs of the machine you created run with little effort.  However, as I have said many times, “there is nothing more damaging to moving forward than being a complacent fool”.

I say this as a testament to the team of teachers and staff at Join The Band.  Were we scared? Hell yes. Are we still scared? YES! But, we all ran into the burning house together.  Everyone worked as a team to learn new software, setting up their home “studios” to teach music lessons. Again, if you told me in five days that my team and I would have created a music school where students don’t actually play together, I would have told you “that’s just crazy talk.”  It’s like a ridiculous plot to a really bad reality show.

However, like many of you, we tried stuff.  We failed at stuff. Then we tried more stuff.  Most importantly we learned “stuff” together and created a new system for teaching music.  We even launched our group band classes online after hours and hours of brainstorming and Zoom conferences with our band leaders. We shared ideas. We moved from one online platform to another and started to see clearly what was working and what was not.

If you told me just a week ago that on Saturday, March 28th JTB would have nine band classes online, I would have told you it just couldn’t be done. Crazy talk! But there we were.  Coaching kids on their songs. If you told me I would have two computers and an iPad monitoring three different band classes at once with our Band Leaders, I would have told you, “that’s just crazy talk.”  But, crazy talk creates new ideas, crazy talk opens the mind to what is possible, and crazy talk gets us out of our complacency. 

During this time if you told me that we would retain our client base I would have said I doubt it. Though we have taken about a 35-40% hit we still have teachers online teaching. I am grateful for our clients that are able to continue lessons and keep our teachers working.  We also understand that many people flat out lost their jobs and could not continue. 

Finally, If you told me that being isolated at home would bring me closer to my clients, staff, friends and closer to out-of-state family, I would have said that’s just crazy talk. But again, “crazy talk” has also helped me with my perspective. In many ways I feel closer to everyone in my life. Because we are all in this together, we are learning how to share new ways of doing things and learning new ways to support each other. 

Wishing all of you the best during this crazy time. And, let’s keep the “crazy talk” going…

Be safe, be well and “Please pass the “Charmin.” :)   

John Mizenko

Join The Band

3 replies
  1. Rick Duchateau
    Rick Duchateau says:

    John,

    In the short time that I’ve known you, I know one thing that’s certain. No one is more dedicated and capable of making this work. Keep the crazy talk coming and the music playing.

    Stay safe and healthy.

    Rick

    Reply
  2. Steve Miller
    Steve Miller says:

    John, thanks for writing about your experiences. This isl like being in a science fiction horror film or a grim novel! It is the most shared experience we will ever have. And the worst thing about it is that we know it will go on for a long, long time. The doctors are already talking about a recurrence of the virus in the fall. All of our lives have been changed forever, in ways we can’t even imagine yet.

    Reply

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