The Hive Five Podcast
5 Key Takeaways from Graeme Winder
1. Be focused on where you are at the time – Focus on work when at work; focus on family when with family
2. Know that you will succeed, but will face many failures along the way
3. Educate yourself as often and as much as you can
4. Be very zealous and protective of your company’s culture
5. Don’t fall into the “raising capital” trap
Join us for Episode Five of the Hive Five podcast where Keagan and Katherine talk with Graeme (pronounced “Gram”) Winder, the founder of PAZU Music. Graeme has a long history with music, having begun piano lessons at five years old. However, because his learning style was more attuned to playing by ear, he was having trouble with reading music and his lessons, so he failed. He failed at music again in high school, and then again in college. He loved music, but just didn’t fit into the traditional music education format. This plays right into the statistic that eight of ten music students will quit in their first year of learning music. Graeme set out to fix this problem.
Graeme started the Winder Academy of Music with his wife nine years ago in California. In the podcast, he talks about expanding to Colorado, but having to commute back and forth from Colorado and California for weeks at a time, and not being able to be with his family. He lays out the challenges that this posed and how he and his family were able to cope with it.
Now for about two and a half years, he has been not only running his music academy in both California and Colorado, but also working on building PAZU Music, which aims to rewrite the book on music education. Instead of a one size fits all curriculum, PAZU examines each individual student’s learning types and tailors an online program specifically for the individual. He talks about the failures he has made, and the lessons that he’s learned from those failures. Graeme never set out to be an entrepreneur; he was a music teacher. However, he felt called to fix this problem with music education and help others take advantage of the opportunity to get closer to music.
We hope this episode is encouraging and that Graeme’s passion is inspirational in your life!
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Everyone has a story and everyone has been there for business owners, to parents to young adults. The hive five aims to tell stories about overcoming the struggles and adult team while celebrating the little victories of life in each podcast. Our guests will give insight to five key takeaways from someone who’s been there and done that, leaving you better than when you started.
Thank you so much for listening today. My name is Keegan with bright B and we also have Katherine Parker, a marketing director of Bright V as well. Hey, hey. Hey. And today we have a wonderful guest speaker today and his name is Graham Winder and he is the founder of positive music. How are you doing? I’m doing great. Thanks so much. Kagan, let’s get started. Tell us a little bit about pausing music. What in the world is that?
Yes, so positive music is transforming the way that music is learned and that’s a, that’s a mountain to tackle. But, um, basically we’re just trying to rewrite the book on Music Education,
so rewriting the book, that sounds like a major problem and a very difficult, as you said, to, to tackle. So tell us a little bit about how, how you’re doing that,
right. So, you know, everything that we’ve done up to this point basically for my entire life when it comes to music learning, um, has been rooted in failure. You know, my own personal failures. Um, I failed the music system when I was five years old. I’ve failed it in high school, I failed it in college. So somebody who loves music more than anything else, I mean this was very confusing for me. Um, so I’ve, I’ve experienced, uh, the problems that a music education faces, you know, firsthand, obviously, but I found out that so many more people have also experienced the same things as I have. And so, you know, that’s kind of how everything came to be today.
So all of it is based upon your past failures. Is, is that accurate?
That’s completely accurate, yes.
Well, I would say that, you know, in, in the, in the music realm as well, you know, as, as we’ve talked before, I, I enjoy music as well, but honestly I feel like I feel like I failed multiple times. Um, and in that area as well. And I, I think it’s to your point that there is a
problem with the, with the way we learn music. Yeah. I think that this was something I discovered very, very early on in life at five years old. You know, I got, um, we were lucky enough to have a, a neighboring, uh, some neighbors in the apartment complex that we lived in. My Mom, my sisters and I, they, they didn’t want to move their little upright when they move. So they just said, hey, do you want it? Um, so I got a little upright, a spinet piano given to us when I was five years old and I was immediately enamored by the instrument and by music and you know, my mother said, you know, would you like to learn how to play this instrument? And I said, of course. Yes. And uh, and so she started to get me letting lessons with the local church organists very strict German teacher who was very quick with that ruler I might add as we were learning, uh, in our lessons I realized that I was doing something but I didn’t realize at the time, but later on I looked back.
So wow, what I was doing was on the song that she wanted me to learn, I’d have replay it for me and then as soon as she left I’d run back to the piano and try to pick out the sounds that I heard. And I basically disregarded the music, the sheet music in front of me. And I did that for about eight years. So you could say kind of fake that, fake it till you make it, I guess, in that system. But something was not quite right and never quite felt like I fit in that system, you know, the square peg in the round system for, you know, since the very beginning.
Well, and I can actually relate to that, um, because when I was five I asked for a guitar and I still have that guitar in my closet today and I’ve never learned how to play a single thing and I’ve tried to read the music, have tried to learn the chords of the youtube videos and nothing, nothing works. I mean, so I think that this is definitely a problem for now hearing y’all side of the story problem for more people than just myself. And then I played piano for several years when I was younger and I kinda had the same experiences. You Graham, I would, I would learn by my ear, I would play by my ear. And so instead of actually, you know, reading the music and processing it and understanding it all, I would hit keys until I found the one that sounded right. So it sounds like this is exactly what you’re trying to address. Very, very poor experience. Yeah, absolutely. Especially for my parents who were at the other room
that is true for parents, you know, they just, you know, parents want what’s best for their children and to your experiences. Um, you know, you’re not alone. In fact, eight out of 10 students will quit music in the first year of trying it, you know, that’s a problem. That’s a huge problem. Especially when you look at how many people listen to enjoy music. Well, I think it’s safe to say, you know, the market, there’s the global market, it’s everybody on the planet, you know, you’re, you’re experiencing music just about everyday of your life. And so music is such a core piece of humanity. It’s not just for the select few. And I think that what’s really frustrating for so many like all of us, is that we want to engage music at a higher level of enjoyment, but there’s just so many obstacles in the current system that, that doesn’t allow us to reach those levels.
The grandma, tell us a little bit about what those obstacles are. So our listeners understand what to be looking for when they’re looking at their children learning from someone else or maybe they’re wanting to learn themselves.
Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, and I want to be really clear here that I’m a huge advocate of anyone who teaches music. You know, I think that it’s such a critical piece of who we are of that. So few really get to connect to. But what happens is that these, um, the teachers are really limited in the way that they’re able to teach music. So for example, let’s say if you’re wanting to learn the piano, if you go hire a teacher, then chances are you’re going to get, you know, music books and you’re going to get visual pathway. We call that. And so you’ll be taught how to read notes and how to play. Well, that’s a skill, that’s a very good skill to have, but it leaves out so many other ways of learning. And then the most important piece to learning is what we call the creative piece.
And that’s, that’s where you start creating music that comes from you. And that’s the most powerful type of music you will ever experience is music that comes from you. So limitations on outdated and traditional pedagogy is really a huge problem. And then no creative development is another huge problem. And then there’s actually a another very big problem that faces not just music educators, we’re just educators in general and that’s dealing with all the different learning types that you have in your students. And so you speak to any teacher anywhere, they’ll probably tell you, yeah, I have a whole classroom full of students who learn differently. And so if you have a one size fits all formula, you’re going to have that, that bell curve. You can have some students that do really well most do, you know, kind of say, okay, across the spectrum and then you’ll have some that just do not connect to that learning style at all. And then that leads to a lot of problems with those students. And so we had to come up with a way that addresses all of those problems, the uniquely and in a way that it really focuses on the individual versus having a formula for everyone
with pausing music, what you have done as really try to address or not try, but you’re doing it, addressing the problem that everyone’s got different learning styles and you’re able to infuse that into the classroom or for an individual as well and meet that need so that each individual has the same opportunity.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. The very first thing that we do, whether it’s in our physical school or whether it’s through policy program, we to know what type of learner you are, because that will immediately put us on a pathway to success. If I don’t understand the type of learner you are and I try to teach you in a way that’s not in alignment with that strength, then it just makes the journey a lot more difficult. And the chances of being successful, um, you know, decrease
positive music is not your actual first thing that you’ve done. If, if I’m right, Winder Academy of music now that is in California,
that is what we started nine years ago. My wife and I, you know, we, we wanted to, you know, we took a look at those numbers, you know, eight or 10 students drop out. We look at core attention across the board. We look at music lovers who, who can’t, who are unable to be developed properly through the music learning system. And we said we have to, we have to tackle this pretty, pretty strongly, especially because I had my own personal experiences with it. I knew firsthand the frustrations that go along with that. And so we started our school, uh, nine years ago in California. And then, um, as you know, as I got married and as a, we started having a family, I realized that, okay, I actually want to go back to my roots, which is Colorado. This is where I want to raise my kids. And so we had to actually open up a new market in Colorado as I was traveling back and forth with the California school every week. A very difficult thing to do. But um, thankfully I can say we, we accomplished that and in about an eight month period, um, we were able to build up enough clients here in Colorado that I was able to stop traveling so much and, and, you know, give my students up to our other instructors.
Wow. So you actually do, you still have winter academy in California but you do not travel anymore,
correct? That’s correct.
Okay. Okay. So, so is it safe to say. So we have winter academy in California, but we also have winter academy in Colorado as well, or just positive music. Wow. So you’ve got a lot on your plate.
Oh yeah, you could say that. Um, you know, it’s your consult two fulltime jobs obviously one is to provide for the family and cover the bills. And then the other one is meeting a calling on my life to really do something that I believe is what I was put here to do. And um, and that one doesn’t pay it. So, you know, that’s a very difficult road, you know, you know, that’s something that I’ve always known I’m going to do.
Yeah. Well, I want to talk about it, I definitely want to get into it so you know, pausing music, we understand what that is, but I really want to talk more so about, about you and your family and just the general idea of starting starting another business and what that’s looked like for you. You and I met by introduction and honestly I think it was because I needed some encouragement and in time of my life and I explained some things to, to a friend and she said, Oh, you’ve got to, you’ve got to meet gram and you are just that. And so I really would love for you to speak some of those words of wisdom and also encouragement that, that you gave me a few weeks ago. Actually. Tell us a little bit about the struggles that you’ve dealt with over these last two. You two and a half years of starting zoo and what you’ve done to overcome those and moving forward.
Appreciate those kinds of wars. Kagan and um, you know, it goes both ways. I was very fortunate to meet you and hear your story and you know, I think that the founders in general, they’re just, they, they experience things that very few people kind of go through. It’s kind of a unique journey and I never set out to be an entrepreneur or a founder. I, you know, I was just a music teacher for many, many years. I never had any. I didn’t even know it’ll start up was, you know, and so I just knew that I needed some kind of vehicle to, to scale and to get what we have because I knew what we had was so special, uh, in the school. But I just didn’t know how to grow out beyond, you know, the small sphere of influence that I had, you know, the obvious answer was, well, you better create some software that you can reach a lot of people.
Then then that kind of started the whole journey. And what I, some of the challenges, I mean, boy, the laundry list of challenges. But, um, I think the one that really stood out to me is, you know, you know, you’re going to face a lot of adversity, you know, you’re going to face a lot of challenges, you know, eight out of 10 startups do fail. And so what does that mean for the founder and the journey that they’re on and, you know, and what does that do for, for just your, your overall wellbeing, emotional, psychological, physical, um, it takes a toll and I think that you’ve got to have a source of strength that you can lean on during those really tough times. And, you know, for me it’s my faith. It’s knowing that this is what I was called to do, but it’s also the people that are part of this team, whether it’s my wife and my family or my co founder, or it’s my advisors.
It’s surrounding yourself with people that really can support you in the right way. I think that’s huge, uh, to overcome these obstacles. Uh, you know, learn as much as you can, uh, that, that to me, I feel like I’ve gotten a second degree and just how to build a business. I had no business being in business, if that makes sense. And so, you know, I had to really kind of go back to school in a lot of ways and thankfully because of the rigorous traveling schedule I had, I did have time, either it’s in the car to the airport or it’s in the plane to just listen to audio books to read, to really study up and do the best I can because now, you know, now that I have a team, uh, I don’t want to let them down, I want to give them my all. And so, um, and I don’t think there’s a finish line with that. So you’ve got to have a really strong source of strength and which to rely upon because it’s too easy to find yourself on an island as a founder and just think that you’re the only one that’s trying to lift a, you know, like atlas with the world on his back. And it’s, it’s not, it’s not fun to feel that way. Gosh, I feel like that every day,
exact conversation before and failure is, that’s a hard word to say. Like for whatever reason, the hard word to talk about. And at the very beginning of Bratby Kagan sat down with all of us and said, we have to be completely transparent. We’re a startup or doing something that’s never been done before. The chances of failure are very, very real. That is a real life possibility, you know, as much as we may not want to think about it. And so I think that I think that you’re speaking to that fact until you’re actually there and you have time and money and just your heart like all poured into this idea. It makes it hard to talk about failure, but it is real options. But also, you know, failure’s a good thing because every time you fail it’s a learning opportunity. And so Graham, I know you don’t want to go into too much detail, but if you would just give us one example of maybe a failure that you’ve learned from and how you overcame it. Just for those people out there who may be struggling with, with that idea of failure right
now, I can give you a whole list of, you know, one of the first things that I did that I probably shouldn’t have done was I got a little too eager when it came to hiring people. I thought, you know, what? I need it because early on we were, we were fortunate enough to get some early investment from an angel who just completely believed in the way that we taught music and the way that he believes in that is actually I taught him and his daughters. And so they experienced the power of the method ambassador, right? That’s the best kind of investor one that really has experienced the power of what you do. And, and it just so happened that I had no idea of his background. But, um, I asked him if he knew anyone because of what I was looking for some early, you know, friends and family round.
I thought, you know, maybe this, he’s very, very successful, very connected. And I just really liked him as a person. I thought he might want to help me on this one. I said, do you know anyone who might be interested in investing in this? Um, the startup idea I have that was a little more than scribbled on a Napkin at that time. And he looked at me, said, well, Hey, I’ll help you. And that really surprised me because you don’t usually get that kind of response. And I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t have a pathway to profitability. I didn’t have revenue projections, I had none of that. I had a great idea. And everyone says, well, it’s not about the idea. Well, sometimes you have a great idea that people can really experience the power of when they see that you’re, you’re completely convicted on that.
Uh, that’s, that’s all he needed because he knows that one way or another I’m going to find a way to make this work. So we got some early, uh, friends and family and I just started hiring people, you know, marketing and business strategy. And I just, you know, these, um, these consultants, if you will. And I was shelling out a lot of money thinking this is how you do it. Um, that was the wrong approach because most of the, of the value that I got back from the consultants I could have found on my own. And so, you know, that that was a big mistake. Another big mistake was, um, you know, kind of pursuing the wrong channel, you know. Um, I, I thought early on that, um, we had a really good channel. I’m in this particular segment, charter school segment. Um, and what ended up happening was that the sec, the channel is good, but the people I was working with, they weren’t in alignment with, with, I guess our culture.
And so, um, and I kind of knew it in my gut, but yet I kept kind of trying to force it, you know, and I think that that because I was so, I guess not, I wouldn’t say desperate quite yet, but I was really excited to make things happen. Uh, and for young founders, I mean, that’s, you know, you get a little nibble from somebody, you’re, you’re jumping up and down and it can be a good thing. It can also be a trap and ringing the bell all the time. Yeah. And, and so I just, you know, I got real excited and I just put, my gut was telling me kind of warning me. I don’t know if this is the best place for you to pursue, but I thought, no, it’s, it’s gonna be good, it’s going to be good and I probably wasted a good three months of our team’s time and energy and resource, you know, pursuing this channel, which at the end certainly did not work out.
And it frustrated my team, you know, because I think that they also sought early on but yet I was just so eager to make things happen for the, for the company. And so, you know, some of that was pride and ego and mixed in there, which founders really battled with a lot, you know, wanting to make things happen to validate your, your position in the company and say, look, I can make things happen and you know, so there’s a, there was a lot of things that I was battling with early on. And then of course you get, you know, you know, your legs taken out from under you, you get knocked down and you kind of stare at the ground for a second and say, wow, how did that just happen? Okay, let’s take a look at the mistakes there. And when you pick yourself back up and you dust yourself off and uh, often you apologize to everyone that was impacted by your decisions. And then you move on and you, uh, and you say, okay, I’m not doing that again.
What was the response? I think failure when I, when I think about it for myself, I think yes, that, that does scare me a little bit. I think I’m more fearful for the people that are involved with, with me. Right? And, and thinking about that you’ve shared this dream and they have this belief in this dream with you. And what if I crush it? What if I crushed their dream? I mean, what was the response of the people that were with you? Were they forgiving?
Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. So I’m going back to the culture that you kind of create in your company. You know, forgiveness flows freely now. We don’t have a lot of tolerance for repeated mistakes, but we are, we are very understanding of, okay, you know, they looked at me, okay, he’s, he’s a new founder. He certainly is going to carry this thing one way or another, but he’s learning and they were, they were very forgiving, but also with a little caution like, you know, make sure that that mistake that you were kind of blinded by doesn’t come up again. We don’t want to see that again. And I thought that was a really fair response because, you know, that’s, that’s exactly how I was feeling too, was thank you for your forgiveness. I will, I will try as hard as I can not to fall in those traps. Again, there’s a lot of traps for founders and that’s one of the struggles early on that I’m noticing is that there’s a lot of, it’s almost like the Indiana Jones and the temple. You just have to really step carefully or else you’re going to get that dark.
And for founders it’s like going to what if the website, like m medical md or something, you know, where you can diagnose yourself or whatever, web md, if you look on Web md and always tells you you’re dying. You can google all these things or you can go and someone can kind of prescribe you this and they can prescribe you this for your startup and they can do all these things and honestly there can be a lot of deception as well and, and kind of lead you in a, in a different direction. Um, and so that’s something, that’s something that I think is very important for people to understand and to be very grounded and, and what you believe in your faith and, and also in your mission. And what you’re trying to accomplish,
that’s an excellent point because there’s so much out there when I said, you know, educate yourself, you know, and all the audio books and reading from, you know, the great business leaders, I take more of the principles that they’re teaching versus the actual, you know, the details of the experience because every, every founder, every company is different in its own little way and you’re dealing with different people, different personalities. So there’s a lot of nuances that go on in every day and the startup. And so what, what I like to do is take principles and apply them the way that they need to be applied in our startup. But certainly there’s a lot of misleading information out there. So you just have to be careful about, you know, what sources you’re taking it from. And just a quick comment on the whole failure thing. I’m the one thing that’s really helped me overcome failure.
You know, I think that there’s certain levels of a, of a founder, I think that there’s the founders that you know are really interested in a new idea, a new product. I think those founders are passionate about a new product and new idea and I think that those founders who were like, what? I didn’t realize that this level existed, but a calling on your life, and I think I said that earlier in this podcast was, you know, what I do today and what I’ve done in the last two years, I’m going to be doing this rest of my life and why do I know that is because this is what is spoken on my heart. This is, this is why I’m on this planet. So what that does, it kind of gives me this, this kind of quiet resolve of failure is going to happen. You know, it might even be a failure to the point of pause.
Zoo doesn’t make it, but does that mean I’m going to stop doing what I’m doing? No. I go onto the upgrade, a new startup, you know, so there’s this. It just doesn’t, doesn’t become such an obstacle or a paralyzes me in the process. It just, Yep, you failed. Learn from that move forward. Try to learn as much as you can from others who have failed. So that you don’t make the same mistakes and limit your failures if possible, but every circumstance is unique and you will have your own type of failures. But just knowing that you know, you just have this quiet confidence that you’re going to make it happen and eventually you will be successful and eventually you will win. That’s really helped me kind of overcome all the mistakes I’ve made early on.
Your passion and persistence is very inspiring. It inspired us and I know it’s, it’s going to inspire others who are listening to this and obviously Graham, we could talk to you all day about dreams and Bosu and just about you. I think you’re. Everything you’re doing is so fascinating and in true fashion, we want to leave the audience with five key takeaways. I know that you’ve mentioned several throughout the podcast, but if you don’t mind just going ahead and summarizing those before we finish up here.
Yeah, absolutely. And these are the five takeaways are against, for a first time founder, someone who’s never thought of being a founder, never thought, you know, just a couple of years ago of having a startup business. And so if any of this, if any of these five can help anyone out there, I’m very happy to share with you. So the first thing is, um, this really helps me with my personal life kind of balancing family and, uh, the startup life was number one, is to be focused on where you are. When I’m at work, I’m working, I’m working, I, I’m focused on what I need to do, but when I come home, I’m home and I know that a lot of founders struggle with this one because there’s always things that you have to do and there’s always things that are pressing on your mind. But you have to look at your balance of your life and say, well, is my family important to me?
Well, of course it is. And so where’s the balance for them? So when I get home, cell phones off, laptop stays in the bag in my office, I don’t touch it and I am focused on my wife and my kids. Uh, I don’t get a lot of time with them, especially when I was traveling back and forth from California, you know, working a week every week out in California. I saw my family four times a month. Wow. And so it was so critical for me to, to be present with them when I was home and yeah, guilt was huge and they, you know, everyone missed me and I missed them. But there was a really good study at Boston college that said, you know, a child’s sense of wellbeing is less affected by the long hours that parents put in at work and more by the mood that their parents are in when they come home.
I thought that was a really interesting study. So I make sure every time I come home I’m home. Yeah. So that’d be the first takeaway. The second one is just, I think we spoke about this earlier, just having an unwavering personal belief that you will succeed. We don’t know when or how, but you will succeed. It’s a, it’s a calm resolve, and this is not to say that you’re not going to fail because we certainly will, but just not to be afraid of it, but just try not to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past or for those that came before you. And so one way to do that as number three is to educate yourself as much as you can, you know, read audio books, Youtube Videos, um, and you’ll learn quite a bit on things that haven’t worked in the past for others and hopefully you can avoid some of those failures in your own business.
Number four, we also spoke about which is to be very zealous and protective of the culture of your company. Um, it’s, it’s very disheartening when you have some kind of toxicity in, in, in the startup that’s working against you, the people that you surround yourself with. Just make sure that you’re in alignment. I’m not saying personality wise, certainly not skillset wise, but just your core. You know who you are as a human being. Um, if you surround yourself with people that are cut from the same cloth, I think you have a much higher chance of being successful and certainly limiting the obstacles that come up. And then number five is kind of a funny one for me. So don’t fall into the raising capital trap. And uh, and I’ve, I’ve spent, I can’t, I can’t tell you how many days, weeks and months I’ve wasted. I’m getting kind of falling into this trap of, oh my gosh, I need to raise money so I can do this, this and this when really all along at a very lean and mean, you know, kind of a development, um, a strategy I could get through quite a bit with very little capital.
And I think that you kind of want to reverse engineer this one. You know, every second you spend on trying to raise capital is really a second or you’re not spending on building a great business and attracting customers. So I think that if you reverse it and you just focus all all your might and creating a great business, the investors actually will seek you out at some point because now you’re winning and they see that and you’re in a much better position and have much more leverage at the negotiating table. I just think that it’s really a trap because there’s so much, like you said earlier, misleading information on, on, you know, everyone’s telling you to go out and raise capital. I just. What I’ve seen so far is that. Let that be, let that be kind of a natural progression and don’t let that be the focus of what you’re trying to do. You’re focusing on building a great business and getting customers and that’s business 101 and once you’ve established that you’ll. You’ll have a much, much easier pathway to raising capital down the road.
Completely agree and definitely a struggle that we deal with daily. But I, I feel like we have not even scratched the surface of, of what I want to know more about you and just what you’ve been able to do. But today that’s about as far as we’re going to be able to go. So tell us real quick, how can other people know about you and what pausing music is doing? What is the best way to reach you?
Yeah, so the best way to reach us is going to be through our website. It’s www dot [inaudible] music.com and that’s a Paz, you music.com. And then if they want to try out our prototype and actually discover their music mind and they can go to the same address, www dot [inaudible] dot com forward slash home. And that’ll take you to a little prototype that you can kind of test out and have some fun with.
Fantastic. Well we will definitely put that in the show notes as well to make sure that everyone has that and we look forward to seeing what pausing music is it going to do and also what you’re going to do a. We know it’s gonna be amazing. The last thing we always have to say is if you are looking for insurance quotes that don’t staying always go to [inaudible] dot com and click get a quote and we’ll be more than happy to serve you a further. If there’s anything else we can do for you, please just let us know, but have a wonderful day.
Find PAZU Music here: http://www.pazumusic.com/
Find Winder Academy of Music here: http://www.winderacademy.com/
Studies Mentioned By Graeme:
Book Quoted By Graeme: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t