Older Entrepreneurs: Lorraine Campman

Lorraine Campman, 56, founder of Music Oasis Lifelong Learning Center, teaches group piano to adults at community center located in Providence Township, Penn.  Uninspired by office jobs, Lorraine, an independent piano teacher since 1977, attended entrepreneurial training classes offered by WORC (Women’s Opportunities Resource Center) in Philadelphia in 2007.  Shortly after she began teaching her first adult music classes, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which derailed her new business plans for two years.  Fortunately, in 2010, she was able to begin implementing her five-year new business plan that had been put on hold during her treatment and recovery.  She gave this advice to prospective entrepreneurs:

Don’t let the music die inside of you.  If you have a dream, find a way of fulfilling that dream, and there are going to be rough spots in the road along the way, but you have to persevere, accept the help that’s available out there and do what you can to make it happen.

Lorraine added these thoughts about her entrepreneurial transformation:

I’ve been an independent piano teacher since 1977.  Many people have the false assumption that when you are self-employed, you can make your own hours, but actually you have to work when your customers/students are available.  For me this meant my income producing hours were limited to after school and evenings.

I had been reading in my professional journals about the concept of Recreational Music Making for adults, and saw it as an opportunity to do something new on a ground-breaking level.  Through some networking I learned of an opportunity to purchase a used piano lab.   I took an entrepreneurial training class called Start Smart from Women’s Opportunity Resource Center (WORC) in Philadelphia.

WORC helped me evaluate my idea, develop a business plan and launch my new micro-enterprise, Music Oasis Life Long Learning Center, group piano for active retired adults.  WORC supports the development of micro-enterprises, in which a business grows in small increments without incurring too much debt up front.

For me that meant starting by teaching through my township’s Park and Recreation Department, then taking my course “on the road” to senior centers and retirement communities, installing my digital pianos as needed.  My eventual goal is to develop enough of a following that I am able to open a music school in retail space and have a fully functioning piano lab where students each sit at their own instrument and use headphones for privacy.