Editor’s note: This month’s Business Beacon is a spotlight on Grow Your Gift Conservatory of Music, the only music school dedicated to music performance in the Fort Walton Beach area. Founder and director Marlayna Goosby talks to us about why she started it and why music is cool again.
Do you have an interesting topic you think we should cover? Leave a comment below!
1. How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
MG: It began with the desire to teach music in my home. My student roster grew to 23 with 11 on a waiting list. I was then led to open a full-service community music school.
2. Let’s discuss numbers: What year did you open? How many locations do you have? How many people do you employ?
MG: We opened in 2019 with one location to begin. Twenty instructors and one dedicated staff member made up our musical team. We expanded to Crestview in the summer of 2020 but did not fare well due to COVID and closed that location in April 2021. We now offer music lessons both in-studio in Fort Walton Beach and virtually through the Tonara platform.
3. What do you sell or what service do you provide? What’s your best seller?
MG: We are the area’s only community music school teaching 16 instruments to musicians of all ages and levels. We currently serve 142 musicians and many more through our community partnerships in schools and non-profit organizations. Our best seller is the experience of improving the quality of life.
4. What’s unique about what you do or offer?
MG: While many organizations allow people in our community to experience music by providing opportunities to listen, Grow Your Gift encourages people to be a part of the music by learning to make music of their own and performing for others.
5. How would you describe your business to a potential customer?
MG: Our youngest student musician is six months old and our oldest is 74 years old. It’s never too early or too late to learn how to play music well. Learning at Grow Your Gift provides almost instant personal satisfaction with a hobby you will never outgrow!
6. What do you love most about your line of work?
MG: I love how teaching music changes lives. No matter the age or background, we witness personal growth through musical growth each and every year.
7. What sorts of trends are you seeing in your industry?
MG: Music is becoming cool again. I think because of what society is experiencing, people are taking the opportunity to figure out what new things they are good at. Music is a constant experience that brings a great quality of life … even while practicing to get better.
8. Tell me in just a sentence or two what you feel sets you apart from your competitors.
MG: I don’t believe we have “competitors” because there is room for all of us. We provide a high level of value and are more than just weekly music lessons. We offer a lifetime connection and memorable experiences through performance opportunities.
9. Who or what inspires you? This could be a family member or celebrity, a particular quote or even a book/movie/podcast. The sky’s the limit!
MG: I’m inspired by our community. The more I share about what we do at Grow Your Gift, the more others share how music has impacted their lives. Never have I heard a story where someone’s life was negatively impacted by music. We need more of this here!
10. What’s the best thing about being a part of the Emerald Coast, personally and/or professionally?
MG: Having grown up here, I love seeing the generational progression of people I went to school with now making a difference in our community. It really warms my heart.
11. Are you/your business involved in the community in any way? Volunteering or giving back? If so, how?
MG: Grow Your Gift launched a foundation in July 2021 that allows people in the community to help support the musical enrichment in the lives of our youth. With those funds, we currently serve the Choctawhatchee Style Marchers, The Montessori Learning Center, The Sinfonia Gulf Coast Youth Orchestra, and are in the planning phase of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast Band! Our instructors visit our partners and continue to pour into our young musicians. Also, Grow Your Gift often performs throughout the community at the request of other organizations.
12. What does a typical day in your business look like? (Pretend it’s Monday (or Friday!) and take me through the highlights of your day.
MG: Our weeks kick off on Monday mornings with our three baby bops music classes. For 45 minutes, young musicians ages 0 – 5 learn about rhythm, pitch, and develop social skills with their classmates. Our private lessons and classes start at about 1 p.m. each day with musicians pouring in until around 8 p.m. each night! The highlight of my days is hearing the music coming through the walls. To some, it could be distracting and irritating. To me, it’s the sound of lives being changed!
13. What’s your best “insider tip?” (This could be a community tip for vacationers or homeowners or even a tip for customers related to your business.)
MG: Get plugged into people who know your community well. I’ve lived here for 30 years and still find new adventures our area is known for!
14. How do you recharge or relax when the day is done?
MG: A few times per week I attend a combat kickboxing class which is so much fun. Every Tuesday, I participate in the Emerald Coast Community Band. Both activities both relax and strengthen my mind and body.
15. Just the deets, please! Where are you located? Business hours? Social media profiles and/or website links we need to know about? (Please feel free to add social media handles or direct links!)
16. One final question: If there was just one thing you wish the public knew about your business, what would it be?
MG: While we do take learning music pretty seriously, our goal is to make sure you’re progressing and having fun while doing it. That’s it!