Big News! (and a request for your help!)

Hand playing piano

Image by spudballoo

In approximately 8 weeks, give or take, our family life will be changing in a very big way!

Nope, I’m not talking about the coming baby (although that is definitely a big part of the changes set to arrive in 8 weeks!). I’m actually talking about another exciting thing that has been in the works for a good many years, and is finally about to become a reality!

In early August, around the same time as baby #3 will be arriving, my husband will be leaving his job of the last 4 years, and will be embarking on a new adventure to start our own family business! If you knew my husband, you likely wouldn’t be surprised at all to know that he is incredibly entrepreneurial at heart, a risk-taker, and has a great mind for business, marketing and finances. I may be biased, but I think he’s going to do fantastic in this new endeavor!

Being the financially-conservative, debt-avoiding, Dave-Ramsey-ites that we are, this plan has not come about without a lot of hard work and sacrifice. For the past two years (since paying off the very last of our debt), we have been living below our income level, continually scrimping and saving in order to put aside a nice nest egg so that starting this new business would be feasible. Although we hope that it will be successful and will begin to bring in money to support our family, we will be capable of sustaining ourselves for close to 2 years, should we need to, in addition to having business savings for any purchases or expenses we will have.

So despite the fact that we are about to become a family of 5 and economically-speaking, times are tight, we feel in good stead to step out in faith and start our business! Over the past 2 years (and really, even several years before that), God has really built up our faith about doing this and has brought us together in unity, with a real sense of peace that this is His timing. Though we know that not every business is successful, sometimes no matter how much time and effort and research may go into it, we are trusting in His plans for our family and are getting daily more excited to begin this new journey!

All that said, Ry asked if I would publish a letter that he recently sent out to all of our family and friends, asking for their help with one of our current business projects:
writing you this email because I think you’re smart (or your kids are,
or both) and I’m wondering if you would be so kind as to lend me some
of your smartness for a couple of minutes.
the context
business we (Steph and I) will be starting is a traveling music
school, specializing in teaching music lessons at private schools
(after regular school hours) and at students homes
. This is something
that we have been planning for the past couple of years, and we now
have the savings and chutzpa (or foolishness – depending on your
perspective) to give ‘er a go. To see our first draft website go here.
the dilemma
years ago, while inspired, I came up with of a name for our music
school that’s full of mythology and drenched in mystery (that evokes
such heartfelt responses as “how do you spell that again?” and “what does that mean exactly?” and “so,
do you sell scented candles or something?” – you get the idea). The
(negative) response has been overwhelming and a decision has been made.
We’ve got to change the name…
the favor
you, my brilliantly-minded friends, be so good as to help me avoid sure catastrophe by helping me come up with something at least a little
bit more sensible (shouldn’t be too hard, I know).

I’m looking for 2 Business Names – 1 for the division dealing with private schools, and 1 for the division dealing with the general public – (think one business with 2 separate “brands”). Would you do 2 things:
Send me your name suggestions for one or both or the “brands” (but look
at “the big idea”, below, first to see what I’m looking for)
2. Forward this email and my email address to your smart friends (smart ones only, please) so that I can glean from their wise counsel as well! 🙂
the bribe (A contest!!)
make this even more fun than it already is (believe it.) I’ve decided
to make this a contest. The rules are simple:  If I decide to use any
of the names that you, my dearest compadres, send to me I will give you
a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice. Since I am
looking for two names, I hope to be buying 2 gift
certificates. The only caveat is that I reserve the right to use my
own bad name ideas, if the names you come up with are even badder
(which is dubious, for sure).
This “contest”
will end (all good things do) on June the 15th, after which I will
(hopefully) select a winner and announce it ya’ll
is no age restriction here. If eating is not your thing and you win
the contest by helping me solve my dilemma I’ll buy you a gift
certificate for any business you want (except, perhaps, a different music school – that would be weird)
the big idea(s)…
get you started, here are the the top 4 things that we are trying to
communicate to our future students and to the principals of the schools
that we hope to serve in the near future.
1. Excellence
2. Holistic Student Development (Character, Creativity, Intellectual, Spiritual, Leadership)
3. Good Citizenship (giving to the community, to the world, and to the furtherance of the gospel message)
4. Convenience
Finally, two words of advice:
1. don’t try to stick all of the concepts into one name. I tried. Don’t do it.
2. think of the audience first (Private Schools – Principals, Parents. General Public – Parents, Students) what will they think when they hear this name?
3. you should be able to tell from the name roughly what we do (which is essentially teach music lessons)
the end.
Seriously. Thank you! Ya’ll rock in my books. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Thanks for helping me out.
So, the deal is that the “bribe” applies to all of you, my dear readers, as well! We’ll purchase a $50 restaurant gift certificate of your choice, should you come up with the name that we love the most! Keeping in mind that we might choose a different name altogether (because we need to be open to any and all name suggestions)… nonetheless, we’d love to have you join in on the fun!

Please leave any name suggestions or ideas below in the comments, and the more the merrier! 🙂

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  1. Nothing is coming to mind right off the bat – so I’ll have to ponder this. But I wanted to take a second and 1) congratulate you on everything you’ve done to get yourselves ready financially to take this step and 2) wish you the best of luck with it the new venture. If you need any editorial eyes for ads/marketing give me a holler – I’ll look things over pro bono while you’re getting started.

  2. The first thing that came to my mind was “whole note school of the arts” with a tagline of “developing the whole child through musical expression”

    or something like that :).

    as far as private vs. public what comes to my mind is personalized vs. more general, though it might be a tight rope to walk if you distinguish between the two.

    may not be of much help, but those were my initial thoughts.

  3. First of all: Congratulations – it’s sounds like a really great idea!!!
    The first name that came to my mind was “Musicus” , but I keep searching and thinking :o))

  4. Sounds great. As a piano teacher myself, I used to be a traveling piano teacher during grad school and first couple years of married life. As for suggestions, my tired brain can’t quite get there at the moment, but I like Shannon’s suggestion above.

  5. I am positively no good with names, so I won’t even try. But I wanted to say congrats and best of luck on this venture! My parents have always owned their own small business – and while it has had its own set of challenges and faith-testing times, I know they wouldn’t want to do it any differently. There is something wonderfully unique and alluring about owning your own business

  6. I just want to give my support–congrats!! What an exciting time and I wish your family the best! However, I went to teh website…and I like the name!! haha!
    I read through the comments, and I also like Whole Note and Forte!
    Sarah M

  7. i am not a creative soul, although i’m learning to be through some amazing blogs i visit all the time ~ so i have no creative names. i only have one thing to say. WOW. enjoy the adventure! you are amazing.

  8. Don’t know if this is any better than your original concept, except that it sounds a bit more masculine or at least gender neutral, but what about “Jubal”? The name of the man in Genises who invented musical instruments? Also carries the idea of “jubulant” etc. and is a nice, short, easy-to-pronounce name that is so old it sounds modern.

    For what it’s worth! 😀

  9. I’m not gifted in the creativity of coming up with names but I wanted to say that it sounds like a neat idea! I know someone who has a sort of similar business and it seems to be going well for them.

  10. To be honest, I really like the name Ryan chose to begin with. Alitheia sounds like something I would have come up with. 🙂 I think it’s classy, and sounds especially fitting for private schools. Just my two cents.

  11. How great for you and your family. Alot of changes for sure. My daughter is in grade 4 and has been taking guitar since grade one, my son is in grade one and started last fall. They both love it, though not at all times especially the practice part. I’d love them though to have the lesson with another friend, how great. And to come to the house, for a few bucks more, even better! Music is important for youngsters to learn, and how it evolves the brain to grow better. I played the flute for a few years in school and then I moved schools and they did not offer it, and my parents could not afford lessons. This and not knowing another language is a regret I have. Know time and money play a part in trying to attain this. Good luck with this endeavor! All the best:-)

  12. I went to your website and I actually like the name! I know that’s not helpful. I think people would eventually learn to spell it, wouldn’t they?…

    I like the 3 As in the name so I’ll have to think of a good A word to slot in there.

    Good luck!

  13. How about “Allegro School of Music”.
    I like it because the definition of allegro is in line with the very nature of children. Plus as a bonus, it would put you at the front of any alphabetical listings. 😉

    Also, I’d like to wish you the very best with this endeavour. My husbie started his own business several years ago, and although it is a great deal of work and committment it is also very rewarding. My prayers are with you on this journey.

  14. Congrtulations! Sounds like you have a great idea! I am not great at names but the first thing that came to mind was ‘Music on the Move’. But I actually like your first name, Alitheia. It sounds nice. Good luck with the name, I am sure someone will come up with something wonderful!

  15. Sounds like a great idea. I am incredibly impressed that you two had the dedication and determination to build yourself such a good size nest egg.
    Firstly, I’m not really I’m more academic than creative, so that is where my name comes from “Collaborative Harmony” – Making beautiful music together.
    Secondly, if I understand you correctly you are looking for two names…I don’t quite understand this, It might also make it difficult for people to find you. I think you should use one name for both schools and general- Your brand should be singular.

  16. Your website looks very nice! I think Alitheia is a pretty classy name, and has a nice ring to it.

    My 2 cents: Take Note or Take Notes. You’ll be taking the music to them; and you want them to heed your instruction both musically and otherwise. (But really, I can’t even settle on a name for my blog, much less a business!) I kind of agree with the above–one name for everything.

    Lastly, it is awesome to hear how you took a debt-free approach to starting a business, and desire to give such a high percentage to such a worthy cause. It speaks volumes about in whom you place your trust. I am sorry I don’t live near to help support your business. (midwest USA)

    Good luck!

  17. I like the name Alitheia! The way you wrote the letter directed me to click and see the website before I had even read on – so I checked it out and thought “I love the tree logo and the name! Sounds and looks great”. Then, I read on and realize the main point was all about changing the name!? 🙂

    I agree with Jenn that the two names concept could potentially be confusing. Here is an example I came across recently in which I believe a good job was done of having a main name, and then having divisions…

    Its called Starlite Ministries – a mentoring program in public schools for girls. Under Starlite ministries there is Twinkle (for elementary school girls); Sparkle (for middle school girls) and Glow (for high school girls). Although I am in no way connected with it, to give credit, visit to check out the great things they are doing 🙂

    It may seem unrelated, but I think it may be the concept you are talking about. I love how they have the overhead of Starlite and the aptly named divisions within that apply to different groups.

    And lastly: CONGRATULATIONS on taking the jump. My hubs & I hope to venture out in the (near? distant?) future into a small business we have been doing on the side up until now – so I know the thoughts, concerns, expectancy, etc that comes with the territory! Sounds like you have planned extremely well and I know God will honor this endeavor.

  18. Hi! Hope you don’t mind me joining in on the fun – I found you on the Typepad home page…We have friends who teach music/drama in the public schools and they are very, VERY successful at it! I wish I could come up with a clever name or two for you but apparently I’m fresh out! Good luck with your new venture – and thanks for the great read! xo, Nan

  19. Giving Back School of Arts (the purpose for all music is to give back to God and bless others)

    Sacred Trust School of Arts (“the gifts and callings of God are without repentence” – can’t remember the reference for that right off.)

    I don’t profess to be any good at naming anything, but I had those two thoughts – maybe they’ll help you in your search for the best name. God bless!

  20. Oh how I wish we were in the same state! My 4 year old is needing music lessons from the home. I wish you and your family the best.
    God will definitely provide.

  21. First of all, Congrats!

    Secondly, I’m amazed at what kindred spirits you all are to my husband and I. We spent the first three years of our marriage in private music instruction (piano and violin), after majoring in performance in college…anyhow, I think this is a fabulous idea, and wish we lived closer 🙂

    I think Alitheia is perfect. I wondered if the subtitle should be more specifically to music, however, unless you are planning on one day including other arts-related lessons. So perhaps, Alitheia School of Music? On the hard-to-pronounce aspect, I would assume that most of the clients you’d want to attract would be able to pronounce it, KWIM?

    I’ll look forward to seeing how this path pans out for you all, God’s rich blessings on it!

  22. I am a new reader – just started a week or two ago because of a friend. Love your blog!

    I will give you “our” two cents (“our” meaning my husband and I, since he is a Professor of Marketing and does research on consumer psychology or why we buy what we do!).

    Both of our first thoughts were to not have 2 names. You will be a small start-up company that needs to build awareness among the target market. Using two names will dillute your brand identity.

    We will try to think of some ideas of names to share with you… Good luck!

  23. C.L.A.S.S. Counts Music Academy: Teaching students Creativity, Leadership, Academics, Spirituality and Social Graces through the art of the musician.

    Best of luck and God’s grace to you! Way to be bold!

  24. Korah – The original sons of Korah were responsible for the ministry of music and song in the Old Testament worship and particularly with the musical composition and performance of the psalms.

    I included these next two because they have biblical reference as well as being modern day words:

    Shemesh – The Hebrew word for sun. It also means to shine out and be a light. And it also means to be brilliant.

    Shirah – The Hebrew word for song.

    Note – Has a variety of meanings which I thought was quite neat for such a simple word. These are just a few that I thought would apply to your business. You could also put it in another language if you wanted to.
    1. A brief record of something written down to assist the memory or for future reference.
    2. A tone sounded on a musical instrument.
    3. A musical sound or tone.
    4. A melody, tune, or song.
    5. To observe carefully; give attention or heed to.
    6. A new or unexpected element in a situation.
    7. A mark or sign, as of punctuation, used in writing or printing.
    8. A characteristic or distinguishing feature.
    9. To make particular mention of in a writing.
    10. To annotate.
    11. To take notice of; perceive.
    12. To indicate or designate; signify; denote.
    13. To compare notes, to exchange views, ideas, or impressions.

    I hope you find what you are looking for soon xx
    God Bless…

  25. Here is my idea: Joyful Noise!

    You could play on this too by doing Joyful Noise Musical Academy or Make a Joyful Noise.

    I was thinking back to when I was really involved in music in junior high and high school (I attended public school) and making music created so much joy in my life. Not to mention, there is such pleasure in making a joyful noise to the Lord.

  26. I think it should be:

    the Selah school of Music
    (forever valued)
    Meaning of Selah:

    For those who value quality music education at affordable convenience

    Ideas for promotion: We are taking an orchestra class at someone’s home this summer. We all travel to their home for the class. One satisfied parent is a great resource. That parent (and their kids) did all of the promoting for the class.

    We take classes at a very expensive music academy in town. You have to get in with parents who are willing to pay for music lessons and spread the word about how good it is.

    Traveling: makes it sound like you are going across the country to do it. Just say, “We’ll come to you” instead of traveling.

    You are only going into schools and homes, right? What about asking churches to host classes also? We have taken many classes inside church classrooms during the day.

    I used to write a blog for our music academy. Big things often start small. I also have a friend in CT who started her own fine arts academy.

  27. One more thought. The name SELAH is connected with praise/ music in the Bible, but it won’t offend the non-believers, and it’s much easier to say than Alithiea ?? which is too cryptic. Also, I agree with your marketing comment above. Do not go with two names. Focus on one theme/ name/ colors etc. You want it to be unique, but not too obscure.

  28. I was thinking and thinking about this for a few days… and then decided to ask my husband for his help. we came up with these (they are actually hebrew words, yes we are from Israel!) but they have beautiful sounds and i will include their meanings:

    “Tehila” (psalm of praise to God)
    “Selah” ( Amen, steadfast rock)
    “Halel” (song of praise)
    “Shir” (song)
    “Shir-yah” (song of God)

    okay… thats it.
    what a wonderful adventure you have ahead of you both!! …and as a family. and what an incredible step of faith.
    Amy and Dave.

  29. I subscribe to your blog through a reader and have really enjoyed it. Congrats on the new business. I like… HarmonEZ and I agree with others on only having one name but you could call the one at the schools HarmonEZ and then the one at homes either HarmonEZ to Go… or HarmonEZ at Home. Best of Luck!

  30. First of all, a couple of nitpicky things…as a parent, on the website, I want to see credentials. Who is teaching what, and how can I be sure that they aren’t a poorly-taught “i like music and took it as a child lawl” player who is attempting to pass on their knowledge or lack of it to my kids? I couldn’t find anything about that on the website, and that is the first thing I look for especially with the thought of ‘excellence’ in mind. And I saw a few grammatical and spelling errors here and there, but hey, it’s a first draft 😉 but if you want to communicate excellence, be sure to go over every word and graphic with a fine-toothed comb!

    I would caution against two names, as it is confusing and dilutes your brand identity.

    I like Alitheia, Selah, Allegro or Allegra as have already been suggested for names. Also

    Espressivo – to play expressively

    and my favorite:
    It’s a musical term that means lively or vivacious and I think it communicates well.

  31. Aloha!
    I recently found your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. I am a homemaker with three kids, but prior to this, I was a preschool teacher in a private Christian school. We had private music lessons in our afterschool program, and it was really such a blessing! I’m sure your business will be amazing!

    As for a business name, I think “Morningstar Music” would be great. Jesus is the bright and morning star, after all! Perhaps your school based name would be Morningstar Music Academy, a division of Morningstar Music.

    Just a thought from a new long-distance reader!


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