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Inspiring Views from the Bright SideSM

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An Interview with Jamie Kolnick

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Founder and Executive Director

Jam with Jamie | New York City, NY

Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn

1. What are the goods/services offered by your primary business?

Jam with Jamie is a nationwide children's musical education and entertainment company for ages 0-10. We specialize in classes, parties and events and are made up of over fifty talented musicians and educators with a mission to bring music and joy to children everywhere.

2. What did you launch in response to the COVD-19 pandemic?

As soon as the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19, we started offering free virtual music classes to shed light in the darkest of times. To know that little feet could keep dancing and voices could be heard if only by the four walls around them, was our main mission. We kicked off a virtual community birthday party and had over 300 people in attendance, commenting about what each of their kiddo's were doing and saying and our teacher Charlie was able to communicate with them and help them feel noticed and heard. During an unprecedented time that was so challenging and confusing for all of us, it was incredible to have a positive impact. We heard over and over how grateful families were to have our virtual music classes, how we had "saved quarantine," providing them with something that was interactive and educational for their children. Playful and fun. A bright light during a very uncertain time. We offered these free classes for 3 months and private parties for families worldwide, "pay what you can" so that we could help everyone celebrate. We are now going to be moving into our next chapter, "The Jam Club," a virtual summer music club that is intimate, educational, musical, playful, and will integrate many themes including community and diversity. We are very active in shedding light on the current movement in the world and to have an impact on children everywhere, that black lives matter, and that we are all united no matter what the color of our skin is. We have the ability to make a difference and shed light on these topics through music. So we will.

3. What steps did you take to develop and promote your new initiative?

It all happened very fast and with the help of our Instagram community, we were able to share our initiative as quickly as I had created it as the world was spinning. I called on my HeyMama Community, My FFC community, friends, and family to spread the word that we would be sharing music widely and free. To join in with us, to celebrate life, to not be scared of what was next for all of us, and to live in the moment with each other. I have an incredible team of musicians, operations manager, social, marketing, and graphics team and nothing we did would have been possible without our collective effort. It truly takes a village to make moves. We had an idea, we weren't sure what would happen but we trusted that it was right and good and we went for it. Without expectations of success or fear of failure.

4. What or who inspired you to undertake this effort?

Seeing all of the musicians on our team (including myself) fearful for the future after all of our jobs were cancelled. Watching families everywhere being stripped from the normal routines of their lives, craving anything that felt connected and normal. Watching my own children begin to regress because they could feel the shift in the world. I dove in to make a difference. I couldn't just sit back and watch and see how it unfolded, I had to do something.

5. What results have you seen so far from this initiative?

It has been overwhelming to see the impact this initiative has had on everyone involved. Our teachers who have had the opportunity to share music with kids when they need it most, the children who continued to come and join in on the musical experience, the grown ups sharing with us how grateful they are for our movement to doing everything virtually. I have only seen positive results and it was incredibly humbling to be able to make a positive difference in everyone's lives during a very difficult and uncertain time.

6. How do you define success for your project?

The success of this movement is in the smiles during a zoom private party, the singing along to their favorite song. the comments on a live stream from a parent that can't keep up with what their child wants to relay to our teacher. Success is defined in song requests, in tags on Instagram of children worldwide dancing, jumping, playing. Our mission has always been to share music, joy, and love. We are completely non-profit right now (frankly, I am investing) and I have never felt happier to continue as we are, making a difference and helping families. Yes, of course, it would be nice eventually to get back to where we were financially but that's not the mission right now. The mission is to come together and make a difference in the world with music. One of our most powerful tools.

7. What are the biggest challenges for you to meet your goal?

I am taking each day at a time. My goals have been met as far as I can see. It will be exceed the more children that join us at our virtual classes and continue to join us as things get back to normal. The biggest challenge as we transition to more in real life experiences, is that virtual will not be the way of the world and we will continue to move with the times and be there for everyone as best we can.

8. How long do you anticipate continuing this effort?

As long as everyone needs it! We will most likely do a hybrid of virtual classes and parties and in-person social distanced events depending on the state and phase we are in as a community.

9. What have you learned by undertaking this project?

I have learned that success is not defined by numbers. That community and love is the most important. That with that understanding, we will all be incredibly successful in life, and the numbers may come, they may not. I am on a mission for good. To help people and to use the powerful tool of music to enter the hearts of families everywhere and spread joy. I have learned so much about myself as a leader during this process and I am grateful for the silver linings that challenges constantly impart on us as humans. Without the challenges, our backbones would be softer. Right now I feel stronger than ever.

10. How can others learn more about your COVID-19 response efforts?

Please go to www.jamwithjamie.com and check out all of our virtual options as well as our new summer virtual club, THE JAM CLUB. From 6/8-6/12 all classes will be free with the theme of Community + Diversity. You can sign up to reserve a spot on our website.

You can also follow us on Instagram @jamwithjamie.

Look forward to jamming with you soon!