Progressive Music Studio adopts hybrid virtual-in-person lesson model

by Andrew Seale   |   February 02, 2023   |   Share this:  

It’s hard to emulate music lessons in a virtual environment – there’s a feeling that’s lost in the exchange. At least that’s what James Gannett found when he and his wife Hollie Gannett had to translate Progressive Music Studio’s in-person music lessons to a virtual model during the pandemic. “Music’s such a personal thing,” says Gannett. Lessons aren’t like business meetings, there’s more exchange going on. “You have to somehow transmit musical emotion and empathy and all that kind of stuff through this screen to somebody you (may not have) actually seen in person.” 

However, the transition allowed them to keep their clientele and continue to grow the business. 

Gannett (who has been teaching music since 1993) and Behm, both professional musicians and music teachers, started the business in the small Haldimand County town of Cayuga in 2010. “It’s a satellite situation where there are a lot of people living in the rural areas and small towns,” says Gannett. Most clients come from a 20-minute radius but some make the 30-minute drive from Hamilton to sit down with Gannett, Behm or one of the other three teachers at the studio. “I teach guitar, bass, and ukulele. My wife does piano. We also offer violin, cello… all kinds of different stuff,” says the music teacher. “We have just over a hundred students a week.”  


Gannett says Progressive Music Studio has brought back in-person classes and will occasionally do group classes or semi-private classes but online continues to be a key source of revenue for the business. Sometimes it’s the difference between having a class or cancelling and losing out on revenue, says Gannett. “I only have a few students that are always online, but sometimes parents are getting home late from work and their kids can't make it in, or we have a potential snow day, and we'll just transition (to) online immediately.” 


However, it can be costly to go from an in-studio setting to an online setting so thankfully Progressive Music Studio got a bit of a boost when Gannett connected with the team at Digital Main Street. The program combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. Gannett received the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and digital training.  


Some of the grant money was put towards purchasing several iPad tablets to allow every teacher to conduct online lessons. Gannett says the remaining grant money will be put towards improving Progress Music Studio’s digital presence including online advertising and SEO for the music school’s website.  


Armed with the ability to offer any class online, Gannett sees an opportunity to grow the music school’s client base. Redesigning the online lesson experience will help do that, says Gannett, who’s started to do with some of the insight he gleaned from the digital training. “There was a lot of useful information about how to engage your clients and make an online environment not seem so sterile and more personal,” he says. “Which is really important for our line of work… I think that’s the biggest challenge… you have to make it a personal kind of environment.”    


Looking for excellent music lessons? Check out Progressive Music Studio here!

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About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.

Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.

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