Robin Curtis, born and raised in Durham, has spent most of her career in the corporate world.
Curtis, who has two kids of her own plus a stepdaughter, started out in electrical engineering, moved to Costa Rica to learn Spanish and eventually headed back to school to earn a master's degree in business administration.
But she's always wanted to own her own business and recently took the jump with Songs for Seeds, opening a franchise location of the popular music education program.
I checked in with Curtis to learn more about her and the program she's bringing to the Triangle. They are offered, right now, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at eNerGY Kids in north Raleigh. The Songs for Seeds - Raleigh website has more information. Here's our Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: You were looking around for your own business and found Songs for Seeds? What about the opportunity appealed to you?
Robin Curtis: I looked into several business ventures and found Songs for Seeds, or better yet, they found me. I've always had a passion for education and music. Songs for Seeds was the perfect business to connect those passions. I met with the founders and we hit it off right away. They were also working moms who decided to leave the corporate world and start a business.
I attended a class with my oldest child and she literally lit up along with all the other kids in the room. I had never experienced a class like this before. I loved it because it was educational AND entertaining. They incorporated pop songs that were changed to be kid appropriate. So it was actually FUN for me too!
GAM: What kind of programs will you offer?
RC: Songs for Seeds teaches early childhood education through music. It was also named "Best Music Class" by New York Magazine and "Most Magical Music Class" by Red Tricycle. The 45-minute class is led by a three-piece live band of teacher/musicians who encourage kids to sing, play instruments and dance through a series of nine engaging musical activities.
Each week, the students experience music, instruments and language from a different culture. Magnetic art murals are created by the children during the sing-along of well-known nursery rhymes. Magic tricks are used to practice numbers and counting and a wheel is spun to reinforce the names and sounds of animals.
At the end of class, the children are invited to sing with the band (Karaoke style) and play the band’s instruments. One of the best parts is … the adults will like the music as much as their kids! Classes are open to children newborn to age 6.
GAM: Tell us about the band that will be leading the programs. Will you ever join in?
RC: I personally won’t be leading any of the classes. However, I will be there participating as often as possible with my own daughter. We have three very talented musicians that I cannot say enough about. They are highly experienced professionals and are fantastic with kids!
They blew everyone away during our training week in New York. I was impressed by Nico, our lead guitar, who has a phenomenal voice and an extraordinary connection with the kids.
Rebekah plays the keyboard and is a classically trained opera singer. Her love of kids really comes through in her energy.
Dan is one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard. He has mastered playing well without playing too loudly which is hard to do on a drum.
They have all played or still play with their own bands. Their combination makes for a really exceptional band. I feel really blessed to have found such a uniquely talented group of individuals who are just as passionate as I am about the classes.
GAM: You've been a working mom for several years now. How do you hope this opportunity will allow you to find a better balance between work and home?
RC: I’m still busy but I make my own hours. So the flexibility it offers has been a tremendous step in the right direction for me. I hope this story can show that it really is possible to "have it all" family and career. There is more than one way to get it. It’s far from perfect, but it’s still really sweet.
GAM: How do you hope the business will grow over time?
RC: First and foremost, I hope that the children and their parents enjoy learning in the class. I hope they really see the benefit and the value this unique program offers. There is nothing like it currently in North Carolina. I am launching with the first location in Raleigh.
My vision is that we will do well to set up the success for a second location that will launch late 2017 or early 2018 and that we continue to grow each year until we establish a strong presence in North Carolina.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.