Jessica Peresta of The Domestic Musician talks about music curriculum support through her membership community. She also talks about how she was able to quit her teaching job to pursue her true passion of helping other teachers online.
Her story started at 6 years old. She always saw her teacher playing piano. Her dad got her a piano that was given away. Her mom saw her tinker around the piano and learn how to play the melody of Jolly Old Nicholas. She then got piano lessons. Music became her passion. She started as a Piano Performance major and then switched to Music Education. She also played clarinet. She played that through college as well as in orchestra, band and all the things. She started her career as elementary music teacher but also taught private lessons. She was also a piano accompanist.
She started at a school that hadn’t had a music program for years. She helped build that from scratch. She had to move since the school was closing. People always asked her to teach their kids piano lessons. Since some do not live near her, she developed an online piano course. She met a friend who taught her how to start her business online — build a website and a blog. A membership site was launched, a course and a book. She also had two shows. She was always doing a lot of things.
It was good for Jessica that she started in a lot of things because she was able to figure out what she really wanted to do. She learned to narrow in and focus on who she wants to serve, the offerings she wants to serve and focus on that well. You can do it all but it’s hard.
When she was a music teacher, she literally started from nothing. They did not have instruments, so they did body percussion. She also started them singing. She started with what she has. The year after she started, she went to various workshops, professional development opportunities and bought new resources. She bought her first instruments which were rhythm sticks because they were the most inexpensive. Then she found out her school was closing and they needed to move. It helped her transition to online business.
Jessica shares, “There are exceptions to the rule but for me, things don’t happen magically right away. It takes a lot of work, pivoting, trial and error, seeing what works, what didn’t work. That’s exactly what happened in my classroom. It was overwhelming, “What do I do? I don’t have anything.” It was getting the kids singing and interested in music. That was what created a passion for music. I still get emails from some of those students of, “I went and did middle school music or high school music.” Some of them became music majors in college. It’s neat to know that I helped plant that seed. It was tough.”
She did a membership for music teachers. She did not really know what she was doing back then. Retention was terrible, but her passion was still there. After figuring things out, she eventually offered done-for-you lesson plans, implementation videos, planning resources, monthly mentorship calls and one-on-one coachings. She also has an active Facebook community where she does members of the month and member shares. It offers them support in various ways.
You are always going to see people leave but it’s cool. This launch in winter, two people came back who had left previously. Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. I saw a cool quote. It was relating it to a college course of, “Don’t take offense when people are leaving your community. It’s not you. It’s maybe that they have gotten what they need from it.”
Jessica started her business while being a mom of 2, 4 or 3, and 5 year olds. She was working from home, building a membership site from scratch, and taking care of your kids. If you are a parent, it’s okay to have multiple passions. You can be passionate about work and being a mom. Everything is a stepping stone. When people come into an online business, it’s overwhelming if you look at all the things, instead of taking it one step at a time. Everything doesn’t have to get done right away.
Jessica shares, “I don’t like working on the weekends. When I was working when they were little, there would be times I would have to work on the weekend a two-hour block of time. It was amazing how much time I was able to get things done. I love the time-blocking method. If it’s on the calendar and I’m blocking out a two-hour section at a time here, stuff’s going to get done. I turn my phone over. I don’t have any distractions around me. I have a to-do list sitting in front of me of what I need to get done.”
Jessica has one of the founding members of her membership site become her community manager. It’s the same with how it is for my business. Having systems in place help a lot when the kids are little and also help once COVID happened, and you have to get things done.
When COVID hit, she had to help her members modify the lessons they offer for virtual education. There was so much mindset stuff the teachers dealt with. It’s the simplest things that we think everybody knows that they needed help with the little things like navigating Google Classroom or using Zoom. Good thing Jessica started her Masters in Educational
Technology in 2021, which she planned to do even before COVID happened. Now, teachers are being asked to use technology more, even in the classroom. So it’s helping Jessica with her online business with systems and websites.
Jessica can be found on Clubhouse at Music Educators of Clubhouse. She also has one called The Elementary Music Teacher Club. You can also find her at TheDomesticMusician.com. She has a show called The Elementary Music Teacher Podcast, and Learn Music Together Podcast. Her Instagram and Clubhouse handles are both @JessicaPeresta.