Every so often, someone will ask me how long Eclectic Music has been around. And I'll say, "I've been in Atlanta X number of years, so..." And they'll say, "No, but when did it really start?" implying that it didn't begin until I brought on my first contractor.
That was in 2007, and I can understand why that is a more interesting milestone for people. We started growing faster, having more visibility and presence in the community. That's also about the time my life changed significantly in the way the life of a new parent changes - no more going off the grid, no more sleeping in, and no more keeping up with movies, TV, and radio.
I guess Eclectic Music is my pride and joy. I might or might not feel a tiny pang when I hear Marvin Gaye sing, in the song of the same name,
"You've got kisses sweeter than honey/And I work seven days a week to give you all my money."
Yeah, I know just what he's talking about. Minus the kisses.
Except, figuratively speaking, there are sort of kisses. There are "I love you, Mommy" moments when it's all worth it, and everything comes together. There are really a lot of those moments, because music facilitates such a strong soul connection between people. And because I tend to work with a lot of children, who can't help but make you feel that sense of legacy - of investing in something bigger and more meaningful than yourself.
Today I got a call from a family I haven't worked with in several years. I started teaching piano to their youngest daughter when she was eight. She was one of the fastest-learning young piano students I've ever spent time with, with a sweet demeanor and an intuitive understanding of musical concepts. I can't remember exactly why we stopped working together - something logistical. Anyway, they found my website and are coming to see me next week. Her mother said something really touching: that no one else has been able to her daughter to find the joy in her music the way I was able to.
This story is obviously meaningful to me, and it reminds me that I didn't start in 2007 - I began building this school almost ten years ago, in 2002. I did a lot of work that I never thought was going to pay off to anything more than helping one more student advance toward his or her musical goals. I did that work because it mattered. It clearly still matters - the only thing that's changed is the scale.
The scale is sometimes unwieldy. I'm playing a waiting game right now, hoping that the fall enrollment numbers are going to look good and that they will sustain three gigantic rent payments and a too-big-but-essential office staff. They will, they will. They have to!
When I first moved to Atlanta I distributed flyers around town and waited for results - and now I'm doing the same thing again. I could see that as evidence of how far I haven't come, or I could look at the network of relationships that has evolved as a result of my work and feel the pride. And joy.
Why would any of this end now? Because of that network, it won't. Because I keep trying, with all the love that I have, to grow as a person and as a business owner.
My Aunt Marie said recently that, if she could raise her two daughters over again, she "would have enjoyed it more." I'm trying to take that wisdom and apply it to my current situation. To see the end in the beginning, and the beginning in the end. And to appreciate the moments as they happen.