The Avalon School of Music

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Spotlight
• Created: July 4, 2013

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While neither a franchise operation nor one that fields many outlets throughout the country and beyond, Florida’s Avalon School of Music (two locations in Orlando) is a prime example of a smaller-scale performance-based music school that’s finding great success in its community.

In connection with our feature story on music ed franchises, we got a quick overview from John Kolbrich, who co-owns and manages the business with his son, Philip.­­­

Our school got started as a result of a very vivid and awakening dream I had just over 10 years ago – the kind of dream you wake up from in a panic and have to write and draw out, so you don’t forget the details…

This is what happened to me and I am not kidding: I woke up and drew out the school as I saw it (kind of a Bruce Almighty deal except instead of lumber and animals showing up, we had students and teachers start showing up!). I quit my day job of 20 years in sales/marketing in the Information Technology field back in April 2003, and never looked back once. I have never been happier in the work I do since I started the music schools. Money cannot buy this kind of happiness and satisfaction! Providing a service to our community in the fine arts is a huge contribution to making the world a better place in general.

We have both Sam Ash and Guitar Center in our area. About five years ago we did some cross advertising with Sam Ash, gave them free lesson cards to be used with the sales of instruments, et cetera… Recently they started a lesson program, so we have not done much in cross promotions [since]. We are on friendly terms with all the retailers in the area, as our lesson program is completely different than what they offer. We specialize in young students and do formal recitals, piano festivals, voice recording festivals, and regular rock concerts and performances with our 15 rock bands in the community. I don’t believe [local MI stores] offer anything beyond weekly lessons.

We are not a combo retailer – only accessories, print music, et cetera. We purchase through distributors, not directly from the manufactures, as we are low volume in comparison and want only a couple of key suppliers: KMC Music, Harris Teller, Southcoast Music, and so on. We have excellent relations with these folks!

We have had “x” number of students go on to University and get some very sizable scholarships. So many only take music lessons for recreational reasons, but there is a small percent that make it a career.

We are a business partner with probably the best software company in the U.S. for appointment based/retail business, which we showcase along with a couple of our other key partners on our website:

In the coming months, we will be adding a few more key partners that provide goods or services to the music industry, like background checks.

We are looking to a very bright future. Our goal this year is to double our student count from 800 to 1600 at our three locations by Jan 1, 2014.

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