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Melbourne, Australia

Interview with Wendy Brenthall, Wendy’s Music School

An Australian Franchisor Interview


Franchisors name: Wendy Brentnall
Name of franchise: Wendy’s Music School

Tell us about how the business was started and the motivation behind establishing it.
Wendy’s Music was started in the 80’s by me (Wendy) as a sole music teacher but I soon had such a demand that I started to employ teachers to help me.

We progressed over many years to operate through retail premises, teach in primary schools and in 2000 we franchised to enable the teaching and admin quality to be the best possible.

I have spent many years writing and developing a complete teaching package and admin system (using licensed software) so that we are now launching a new home-based music teaching business to Australia.

My aim is to eventually become global and offer a large variety of instrumental and singing lessons to students of all ages in teacher’s homes and online using technology.

When and why you decided to go down the franchise route?
As described, we first franchised in 2000- for quality control. We had grown so big that we were continually employing new admin and teaching staff to keep up with demand and monitoring the actual quality of service and teaching delivery became onerous.

The person who owns the business is always going to take more care of it than an employee, and students like to have a connection with the teacher, so it made sense to have the teacher running the business giving continuity of teacher.

What have been Wendy’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
The creation and use of over 110 music teaching books PLUS other resources in multiple instruments and training hundreds of teachers to use our method and thousands of students to successfully make music.

We have students who have gone on to become music teachers or performers and a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Also a composer now based in England!

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Some people don’t react easily to change. Developing new systems, either admin or teaching, meant training people to do something different to what they are used to.

Dealing with school managements was always interesting!

Music does not have a high priority in the school system but it is always a pleasure to put on an amazing concert at the end of year and show what the children have achieved.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
Everything online and being part of the local community! Social media and word of mouth is also very important for us.

What makes Wendy’s Music stand out from the competition?

  • Our unique library of music teaching resources
  • Simplicity of method
  • Longevity and success over 35+ years
  • Experienced and qualified director
  • Unique and licensed software systems
  • Easy to operate, easy to learn

In your opinion, what makes a successful Wendy’s Music franchisee?

  • Someone who is willing to learn and keep learning
  • Someone willing to listen and take advice if needed
  • A person who loves making music
  • Someone keen to earn money!

What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how have you adapted to them?
Technology has given music teaching access to a myriad of teaching tools and we are developing these tools to deliver lessons online in several different ways in addition to face to face lessons.

What does the future hold for Wendy’s Music
Big things! In 2014 we aim to open 10-15 franchisees in Australia and then keep growing!

What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
BIG BIG plans! You won’t be able to stop us! We have been advised that our franchise should suit almost any country.

What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Get lots of advice from franchise experts to make sure you have everything in place and documented before you start.