How I founded one of Perth's fastest growing music schools

Last year was an amazing year for us at West Coast Music School. Over 12 short months, we 10x our number of students and opened 4 schools. Founding West Coast Music School was the best thing I ever did. I went through a huge amount of change in not a huge amount of time! People often ask me what I did before WCMS. So I thought that it may be time to share that journey with you all!

I guess you could say that it all began 18 years ago when my parents enrolled me in piano lessons. Piano has always been a constant in my life and music became intertwined in my very being. As I grew up, it provided an escape, and a way to channel my emotions. Today, it still offers exactly that, but more importantly, it is my ‘me time’. It provided a strong foundation and coping mechanism throughout high school, but I never thought that it would be the foundation of my livelihood in the future. 

After I finished school, I went to University to study (no, not music), two Bachelors of Science. I graduated as a Registered Nurse and a Registered Midwife at the end of 2013. It was while I was studying these degrees simultaneously that I started my first business - ‘Kathryn’s Piano Lessons’ (very creative name, wasn't it!?). I began to pass on my knowledge to my students, and before I knew it, I had 25 amazing little souls under my wing. 

So there I was, 18 years old, running a business and studying two Bsc’s. My stress levels began to spike and aggravated an autoimmune disease that I had been living with since the age of 16. I became very unwell, but being my determined (stubborn?) self, I didn't want to give anything up… so I powered on. In hindsight, this probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I just dealt with everything as it came my way. 

As my nursing and midwifery studies began to come to an end, I was forced to take a step back and reassess it all. Although my original end goal was to go into Medicine and specialise as an Obstetrician, I couldn't ignore the fact that I had been sick for a huge portion of the past 4 years. My immune system was compromised, and that made working in a hospital environment not ideal. So after graduating I decided to change career paths. I was gutted. I absolutely adored working as a midwife - there is nothing more precious than bringing life into this world, but the universe clearly had different plans for me. 

Following in the footsteps of my artistic family, I decided to pursue my diploma in interior design. I had always enjoyed interior design and was surrounded by creatives at home. Draftees, an architect-to-be, an interior designer, an international model, and not to forget my father, a Lucas Film artist. And so, my creative side began to flourish in a whole new way. I continued teaching while I studied and began work as a Nanny for the most beautiful family. I completed my 12 month diploma with a high distinction in just 4 months and jumped head first into the deep end by starting my own design firm - Adorn Interior Design. I loved working as a designer, I met some amazing people and was able to channel my creativity through a completely different medium. Still, while doing this, I continued to teach piano. I loved my lessons with my students - I never even looked at it as a ‘job’.

After working as an Interior Designer for 8 months, I began reflecting on what I would like to achieve in this life time - I came back to music education Every. Single. Time. It was at that point that I started exploring options for expanding my Piano school. It started with just one other piano teacher, then grew to a team of teachers of various instruments. Before I new it we were planning on opening another school. It was mid 2015 when I decided to close Adorn Interior Design. WCMS was taking up 100% of my headspace by this point and the vision and the mission was growing and catapulting me forward. 

By the end of 2015, with the help of my amazing team of 20 teachers, I had opened up 4 schools. My team had positively impacted over 150 lives, and that number continues to grow on a daily basis. I can't deny that this is the most challenging, but empowering ‘job’ (still doesn't feel like a job) in the world. So what drove me to creating one of Perth's fastest growing music schools? I believe that every experience I've had up to this date has influenced the way I approach WCMS. However, more importantly, I have an extreme hunger for change, and I wont stop until we achieve our mission: To create a holistic music education syllabus. But more about that next time...

Kathryn x

Kathryn Raats1 Comment