Music & Sound Retailer November 2019, Vol 36 No 11

Page 30


JESSICA BUCHANAN District Manager of California, Music & Arts By Leslie Buttonow

Jessica Buchanan has had a long, enjoyable and varied relationship with music, starting from childhood. These days, she shares her love of music with many others, including her employees, their customers and music educators. A former early childhood music educator, Buchanan now oversees a team of retail employees and educators at Music & Arts, which is one of the largest school music retailers and lesson providers in the United States. Founded in 1952, Music & Arts now has more than 500 retail and affiliate locations and teaches over 2 million lessons per year. To further encourage the next generation of musicians, it also supports local school music programs in each community it serves. Buchanan shares some positive thoughts about how music is for everyone — all ages and genders — and about the dynamic shifts she’s seen in music over the 12 years she’s been with her company. She also discusses the important business of raising the next generation of musicians. The Women’s International Music Network: You work for a company that helps young students begin a lifelong relationship with music and helps established musicians continue on the path. What role did music play in your own life growing up? Jessica Buchanan: Music has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started singing with my brothers at an early age while growing up in a small town in Clayton, N.J. There, I had the opportunity to be involved with music programs from elementary to high school. I participated in multiple musical activities, such as band, choir and drama club. These 30

'The smile on a child's face the first time they see the instrument they picked out to play is priceless.'

activities helped me hone in on my passion for music, whether it was listening to a new local band [or] going to concerts, musicals or operas. I wanted to learn and explore more. It has helped me to become who I am and find my voice.

The WiMN: You’re currently the California district sales manager for Music & Arts. Please share a bit about what you do in that role and what skills are good to have for this type of position. Buchanan: Every day, I get the chance to work with an amazing team and share the joy of music with everyone — from visiting the local schools and learning about their music programs, to hiring educators to teach in our lesson program, to developing teams to share and help customers find their passion in music. The smile on a child’s face the first time they see the instrument they picked out to play is priceless. Over time, I have developed a range of skills such as: Integrity: doing what’s right for the customer and for my team. Motivation: having passion for music and wanting to

share that with others. Leadership: leading by example, helping with any and all projects. Willingness: thinking outside of the box and staying positive with any challenges that may occur. Teamwork: My team works incredibly hard to assist all of our customers, lesson teachers and students, and it takes teamwork to make that possible.

The WiMN: How did some of your previous positions, such as a music teacher and a buyer, help to prepare you for your current job? Buchanan: At the time, I had no idea that my past job experiences would provide me with the skills for my career today. I’ve always wanted to be a music teacher; that’s what I was going to do. Life happened, and things changed. These experiences allowed me the opportunity to work with some incredible mentors who taught me about the bigger picture — the hours a music teacher takes to find the right music to teach, the planning that happens to get ready for a concert, or the time and effort that goes into finding the right products that are best for NOVEMBER 2019

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