When Steven Jenkins realised he was one amongst many who had tried, and failed, to learn the piano, he set about devising a simplified method of learning.
What’s your story?
I describe myself as a “recovering piano student” that suffered through many musical lessons but until recently never reached my goal of being able to play the piano.
After quitting piano lessons five times, I developed a simplified method for playing the piano that allows people to play without having to struggle or take expensive time-consuming piano lessons.
Upon researching the topic, I came to find that 80% of piano students quit their lessons, which inspired my mission is to simplify piano and to make it accessible so that others can experience the joy and fulfillment of playing piano.
What excites you most about your industry?
I am excited to shake up an industry that has not changed much in hundreds of years. The piano is a beautiful, but complex instrument that is very difficult to understand. With a high student failure rate, most people that want to learn how to play piano never achieve their goal and, like me, end up quitting.
We are living at a time where openness to creativity and different ways of learning are embraced. Innovations such as my piano method are removing the traditional barriers and gatekeepers to understanding music while putting people in control of their own futures.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
My overall vision extends beyond my personal life goals, which pushes me to work harder. I want to leave a mark on the world that puts it in a better place than it was when I found it.
I am 100% driven by a desire to help people do things they do not think they are capable of. My life’s work will result in people connecting with a musical side of themselves they feel is beyond their capacity.
That pushes me to persevere and inspires me to make sure my mission succeeds.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
During this 10-year journey, I have learned to always have a positive mindset and to take action. A positive mindset will carry you through the difficult times, and taking action will reveal where adjustments are needed.
As a perfectionist, I am prone to delay taking action, which has cost me years of experience, professional connections, and traction. It is better to get started with what you have and get it out there than to wait until the product is perfect.
This understanding has led to me making key hiring decisions rather than trying to do everything myself.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice that I have received is to “Be authentic.” Other people can help you know yourself better, but no one else can define who you are and what you stand for (unless you let them).
This advice has been the crux of my overall effort and strategy to break away from traditional concepts of how the piano should be taught. The concept allowed me to be open to exploring and creating a new easier way to play piano that meets the needs of people where other methods have failed.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people that help me to think differently. Recently after reading “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know” by Malcolm Gladwell I started rethinking the way I think. The book caused me to analyze my own preconceived notions of people and their motives, which also helped me to be more cautious about blindly accepting the answers to some of life’s mysteries and puzzles.
Lately, I have been finding ways to apply deeper thought so that I can act on insight rather than surface knowledge which can sometimes be deceiving or misleading.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
In the field of music education, I recently learned about bimanual labor: the neuroscience of piano playing, which has to do with the fact that piano playing requires people to ignore the fact that they are left-handed or right-handed. Playing the piano requires coordination and dexterity from both sides of the body, which is an extremely complicated task for the body.
During this process, the brain is required to perform complicated calculations at a very quick pace and translate to both hands to perform symmetrical as well and opposing movements to produce music.
This research reveals why piano is complicated.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I could go back in time and do things differently, it would be to start sooner and to make meaningful social and professional connections.
Time is our most valuable resource. Delaying progress is unproductive and allows for other people to move faster than you. There are advantages to being the first to do something whether it be using a social platform or bringing a product to market.
I would also focus on making as many meaningful social and professional connections as early as possible. People need people.
How do you unwind?
To unwind, I try to connect with nature as much as possible for a person living in the city. I detach from computers, phones, and social media and walk on natural trails without any agenda.
I also love to pray and relax with my family shut away from all forms of work.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
For many years I was trying to do everything in my business by myself. Whether it was writing blog posts or writing patents. One piece of advice I recently received is “Don’t try to be a lone wolf. You are not a wolf. You are a human. And humans need help”.
This helped me to realize that by trying to be a hero that does everything, I was not focusing on my mission, which was limiting my progress.
Since then I have hired professionals, which allows me to focus on the company mission and the product.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I highly recommend everyone to read, “The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
This book will change the way you avoid the pitfall of annualized thinking and will allow you to analyze your business progress in a frequent and systematic way. You will then be able to make a correction to your business plan and strategy sooner and start reaching business goals.
Shameless plug for your business:
Reach out to me if you would like to play piano without struggling with boring expensive piano lessons that don’t work for 80% of people. Most of my clients have tried learning piano in the past and were disappointed because they tried for months or years but never got very far.
I offer a unique way of learning piano that is based on the science of simplification which works well for visual learners. My patented method is different from anything you have ever seen or tried elsewhere and works for everyone, young or old; even people who consider themselves slow learners.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.