Today we're meeting one of my college roommates I have always adored, Stephanie. She's one of the most artistically talented women I've ever known... she can sing! she can dance! And now she teaches children how to love music out of her home. Check out her amazing site to learn about what she offers her students and get a taste of her beautiful voice.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career
My family always likes to say I could sing before I could talk and dance before I could walk. Growing up in Bellevue, WA I was blessed to immerse myself in music-related activities like drama, choir, voice lessons, competitive dance, and even an all-girl band! At 16 I knew that whatever I aspired to, music was a top component. I worked harder and was genuinely happier when I actually cared about what I was doing.
College was amazing! I traveled, performed and toured in several university performing groups, and learned all about music and business. I fell in love and got married at 21. I then bounced around the United States to support my husband’s career. This period of sacrifice was especially hard as I kind of had to put my own career aspirations on hold and had a lot of passionless jobs. During a particularly dark time my dad encouraged me to keep myself busy, work HARD, and find purpose in any job no matter how humiliating. So whether I organized files at a bank, managed the payroll at a small boat shop, or imputed billing data for a hospital, I found purpose and that purpose became my passion. During that time I learned a lot about endurance and how to be happy. I found music outside of the work day performing in bars and songwriting in the evening to eventually release my solo album Refinement in November 2013.
My husband and I landed in Houston, TX in August 2014. This is the point in my life I like to call “The American Dream.” I started my own business teaching voice and guitar, we bought a house, and a year later we had a baby girl! My voice and guitar studio started off slow as I got to know my local community and how to properly market my services. However I quickly evolved from having three students in 2014 to a current thirty. I have even kept my entertainment career healthy performing solos at local restaurants, directing a regional choir, participating in local musical companies, and even performing in another all-girl band!
In my free time I like to cook (and eat), take baths, take pictures of my daughter, and practice yoga!
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
Strong women are as consistent as music in my life. My mom slaved tirelessly as the most supportive mother to all three of her daughters (I always wondered the total mileage she drove carting me to my extracurriculars). My aunts all worked in different professions including engineering, hairdressing, and teaching. My older sisters prioritized education and hard work in their careers and home life. I attended an all-girl middle and high school where I learned every voice was valuable to find truth. The lifelong friends I made in college (shout out Brittany!) tenaciously dreamed big and have achieved more than I even thought possible. The women at my current church congregation in Houston inspire me weekly as I am spiritually edified.
I would also like to give a shout out to the amazing and supportive men in my life who have encouraged me to fight for my passions and have respected my career path as a musician AND a mother.
Why did you decide to teach music from your home?
Honestly, it was the most economical and easiest for my family. I can have a babysitter come to my home while I teach. Also, I look lessons from home studios growing up and feel it provides a safer atmosphere so students can take greater risks. For this purpose I even chose our house! I wanted to keep my recitals in my home for my students. Every spring and winter my husband and I haul all our living room furniture into the master and upstairs rooms and “borrow” chairs from our church so my kids can feel as comfortable as possible.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I wish I could have told my younger self to have more patience and perspective. Our generation is notorious for quitting early because we don’t feel we are making enough of an “impact.” But so many of those small medial jobs shaped me into the woman I am now. And looking back I find satisfaction that I found jobs everywhere we lived starting from zero. I never gave up on my dream but many times it was hard to realize I would be out of my current situation or that I was learning things that would help me become a better business owner and teacher.
What is your career-related mantra?
Vocation resides where passion and skill collide.