Franchises for women

Jane 1

I see franchising as a network, a family, an amazing community of collaboration. Women are renowned for multi-tasking and working together to get things done, being at the heart of every family.

Certainly with Little Voices, my franchise organisation, I stipulate that you are coming into a family and I don’t want just anyone as part of our family. I am very particular and protect, support, care and nurture my family to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t leave my daughter with a stranger or someone that I didn’t trust, like, know-well and respect. Equally a Little Voices cannot be looked after or owned by just anyone that the money to join us. Little Voices has to be part of their blood and they need to be right for us.

While most small-business owners function primarily alone, franchisees are provided with the built-in community of the wider franchising industry as well as other franchisees. Working as a Drama teacher or singing teacher, an entrepreneur or business woman can be incredibly isolating and lonely.

With a franchise, you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Franchisees have the unique opportunity to start a business with access to the experiences of a network of individuals on a similar journey.

In the case of  Little Voices, relationships between franchisees are especially critical to success. We provide franchisees with a network to discuss challenges and successes, regular meetings, secret forums, weekly support amongst many other things.  Franchisees partner with other successful franchisees, to create a mentorship and model for their own business.

The franchise model is appealing to women who are in search of the financial security and flexibility that is becoming increasingly difficult to attain in the workplace. Almost all of our Principals say that spending more time with their families and finding a more rewarding career are the driving factors for investing in a child orientated franchise.

While running a franchise is time intensive, it allows entrepreneurs to structure their time to fit their needs. A franchise allows female entrepreneurs to pursue their passions. You need to look at what you are passionate about, and then that gives you a starting point.

 

For more information on Little Voices Franchises

Contact Jane 01254 207516 or email jane@littlevoices.org.uk

www.littlevoices.org.uk/littlevoicesbusiness

What makes a great teacher?

Jane 1What makes a great teacher? What makes the best singing teachers or the best drama teachers?

You will always remember the teachers that had the biggest influence on your life from school and other activities as a child. In my opinion those teachers are the most important and probably the best. Just take a moment now to think about the teacher that had the biggest positive impact on you? Who was he/she, why does he/she stick clearly in your mind when most teachers fade into the distant memory?

I think that they had certain qualities that are imperative and when I started Little Voices the fundamentally most important criteria was to have tutors working with us in our performing arts family that had those special qualities as well as the background in performing arts, of course.

Letters after you name and all the education/academia in the world in my opinion does not make a great teacher.

The word education comes from the latin verb educare which means ‘to draw out’. Teachers are educating our children, Little Voices Tutors are drawing out the very best from our pupils. Working with individual pupils and their needs is what it is all about – not imprinting and instructing them but working with them, caring and supporting them.

So what do I think makes a great teacher?

  • An Inspirational person – someone who you look up to, admire and respect. Perhaps you want to be like them? Especially in performing arts they need to practise what they preach!
  • Someone who genuinely cares and is interested in you – it is really important that a teacher understands you and knows your strengths and weaknesses, can help build your confidence and we know at Little Voices that when a child feels happy their confidence will blossom.
  • Someone who can effectively communicate to you – they can change the ways and means in which they present information to you and can help you to explore your own ideas and understand how to do something! Everyone is a different type of learner; auditory, visual, kinaesthetic or a mixture of those and a great teacher will facilitate ever type of learner
  • A great teacher obviously knows their subject and is constantly learning and developing to enhance their knowledge base. They keep themselves current and are hungry for new learning and embrace new ideas.
  • They are passionate, bubbly and approachable but coupled with being highly organised and reliable. Well these are certainly attributes that I look for. Our entire Little Voices organisation is built with these qualities in mind.

 

Does this sound like you? OR does it sound like the people that you would want to work with? Learn how it could fit in with your life and in your area.

 

Look at what we do www.littlevoices.org.uk/business

Look at what our parents say about us www.littlevoices.org.uk/parenttestimonial

 

Contact Jane 01254 207516 or email jane@littlevoices.org.uk

Drama Franchise

Jane 1

Scared of the word “Drama Franchise”?

I find that many individuals in our industry are put off by the word ‘franchise’ some even scared and I am not surprised. When I googled the word franchise I was fairly unimpressed with the description and if I was a teacher, budding entrepreneur or actor interested in the concept I would be very put off researching a franchise after reading the description about what it is. It was totally uninspiring and I can categorically say that I do not see my drama franchise, Little Voices, as a chain store and it certainly isn’t free!

This is what I read on Wikipedia:

Franchising is the practice of the right to use a firm’s business model and brand for a prescribed period of time. The word “franchise” is of Anglo-French derivation—from franc, meaning free—and is used both as a noun and as a (transitive) verb. For the franchiser, the franchise is an alternative to building “chain stores” to distribute goods that avoids the investments and liability of a chain. The franchisor’s success depends on the success of the franchisees.

Franchising consists of two elements: Support and a System. The Royal Bank of Scotland explained helped me to educate other about what a ‘franchise’ really is using these two words. They were highly impressed with the amount of support that we give at Little Voices. Franchising is the applied use of a tried, tested and proven model that works within a safe environment of those that have all the answers and can support you to success. Our model started eight years ago and is certainly tried and tested!

The success of my franchise is absolutely about the success of our franchisees but then I only choose the very best to work with us. I will not recruit franchisees who do not absolutely believe in what we do, our ethos and have Little Voices in their blood. So in my opinion, you cannot blame a franchisee for not succeeding you can only blame yourself for choosing the wrong person.

It takes a special, highly motivated, focussed, goal driven individual with a passion for drama and all things performing arts to be successful as a franchisee for me and I am really comfortable turning people away that are not right for us.

My passion for Little Voices seeps through our organisation at all levels and to be the best performing arts organisation nationally means that we need to be working with the best and all of us being focussed towards the same goal with the same ethos for quality and excellence. I really care and our franchisees really care, our tutors really care and therefore our pupils are happy and well taught. It is why year upon year we continue to grow and parents are confident in our centres.

I can’t comment on other drama franchises but I can comment on ours and our expectations. However I find that many people need to be really educated on what franchising means and what to expect. Franchise is not pyramid selling or network marketing it is the support and use of a system that works in your area.

If you want to ask any questions or find out exactly what we do ring me on 01254 207516 I am always happy to chat or email your questions to jane@littlevoices.org.uk

Even those that we respect the most get frightened!

JaneJudi Dench is one of our all-time favourite actresses at Little Voices and yet you would probably never guess that she lives with “constant fear”, we certainly would never have thought that about her.

However she has spoken about the constant “fear” she lives with as an actor, claiming that being a performer gets more frightening with every job.

Speaking about her career with director Richard Eyre at an event to celebrate Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts’ 70th birthday at the Hospital Club, Dench revealed she is “very critical” of her own performances, and said that she has a “fear of everything”.

She said this fear related to her concerns that she may not be good enough for a role she had been asked to do, and admitted she worried about forgetting her lines on stage.

“I have a fear of that unbelievable silence you get in a theatre when you dry. The fear that an audience sees that thing in your eyes and thinks, ‘Oh, she’s gone’. It’s a shattering silence,” she said, adding: “I have a fear of everything – of not fitting into that slot, of not fulfilling that piece you are asked to do. I get more frightened [the more I do]. The more you do, the more frightening it is anyway as you are much more aware.”

Dench also said she worried about what her next job would be and whether she was “going to be asked again”.

This certainly helps to read about how one of our idols feels about their career and the fear that stirs up inside of her.

So it helps us as performers to expect the fear and to deal with it as ‘the norm’, embrace it when it comes whether that is just before a stage performance at theatre week or before a LAMDA exam. Learn to work with the fear feelings rather than against them with a good breathing technique and a calm approach to preparation. As the saying goes “Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!” I am sure that Dame Judi always makes sure that she is prepared.

 

How to learn about Musical Theatre in three easy steps:

  • Read widely, the whole play, musical libretto, book from which it is based, use the library and dip into reference books such as Blumenfeld’s Dictionary of Musical Theatre.
  • See lots of Musical Theatre both live and staged as well as on youtube, film and TV. One of the best ways is to see a show staged and it doesn’t have to be the big West End stuff have a look at the smaller scale productions, local Amateur Dramatics productions etc.
  • Get to know the music – look at the whole musical and listen to it all. There are also often several different recordings that will highlight different things and artists will interpret and deliver the music in various ways too.Jane

Top 3 Musicals of all time?

JaneThe top three musicals of all time, according to “Whats on Stage” in May 2014 are:

  • Les Miserables
  • Wicked
  • Phantom of the Opera

What would your top three musicals be?

They probably change over time and obviously our children have a different top 3 to adults! What are your children’s top 3? Reply and let us know.

Equally every time you watch a musical you have a different perspective on it too and learn or see something different.

Mine would be:

  • Miss Saigon
  • West Side Story
  • Blood Brothers

 

Look forward to hearing from you and also whether you agree or disagree with the official top 3!

Putting your child’s Little Voices training to the test

JaneWe are often approached by parents and asked how they can find even more performance opportunities for their child. They are loving Little Voices lessons each week and they want more of the same.

My advice is often full of these suggestions:

  • Investigate the Amateur Dramatic Societies through your local theatre and perhaps get involved in the auditions
  • If this is a serious consideration for a future career look at Independent Schools such as Sylvia Young, Italia Conti, LIPA that amalgamate Academic study with Vocational Studies in Drama, Dance and Singing
  • Attend Little Voices Theatre Weeks – if you have not experienced at least one your child and you as a parent are missing out on one of the most special parts of Little Voices in the holidays
  • Find a Child’s Casting Agent
  • Purchase The Stage newspaper and see what regional OPEN auditions are happening and apply for your child as their parent

These points are just, in brief, your Principal will discuss them in much more detail with you and the positives and negatives of each one for your individual child. It is important to us that we give you the very best advice for your child and help you to supplement their lessons and love of Drama/Singing to it’s full potential.

The way to eat an elephant is a little at a time – how can we apply this to your child’s Little Voices lessons?

JaneWell we use this term all the time in different aspects of our lives but it is really relevant when learning the lines of a script.

Breaking the lines up, learning one each week or one each day and consistently practising 4/5 times a week in very short bursts is the way to achieve examination excellence.

It is also helpful when learning lines from memory to use other family members and each of you take a character, so that your child can get used to the flow of their lines and when they need to deliver them as well as the accuracy of the delivery of the lines.

AND REMEMBER – to be a fabulous actor – IMPROVISATION is a really useful tool. The lines do not have to be EXACT it can be so much more effective if the sense is delivered naturally.

We hope this is helpful to you over the holidays when all that practising is taking place  or even during a Theatre Week when you child arrives home on Day 1 with lots of lines to learn in 3 days!!

“Is reality TV destroying or building confidence for your child?”

JaneIs it a positive or negative influence for a child? Is it a realistic goal and/or a worthwhile one? Is it about the love of performing and the gift they have been given OR becoming ‘famous’? These are really interesting questions to consider if your child dreams of auditioning for a programme of this nature or has aspirations to perform professionally in this arena. They are certainly the questions that we occasionally find discussed in Little Voices lessons.

Since the emergence of reality TV  shows in the 1990’s there has been a whole surge of children wanting to become the next big star. For me and my team, as teachers, it is important to lay the foundations of good dramatic and vocal technique as well as give advice on the best route to take if a child is determined to follow a path in the industry. The industry is not reality TV!! But sadly it is so influential these days that this is what some children believe to be the case.

You see in the eyes of a child they are filled with confidence from watching Reality TVs shows. In their minds Cheryl Cole managed to do it and the likes of One Direction and therefore children are really very influenced by these ‘performers’. They see no reason NOT to seek the same. But what about the hundreds of others that have appeared – often won – these shows from Pop Idol, to Fame Academy, to Popstars the Rivals, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor and more recently The Voice. What have they gone on to do after the cameras stopped rolling. How are those individuals feeling now?

The reality is sadly not fame for all or a life of performing. The only winners are the producers and the likes of Simon Cowell’s bank account. The individuals that have lived a whirlwind few months are often left crushed and lacking in confidence to pursue their passion.

This makes me very sad and as myself and my team of tutors work incredibly hard every week in the academic term time to build children’s confidence and nurture talent. I am very realistic when a child approaches me with dreams of auditioning for programmes (businesses) such as X Factor.

I always say that reality TV is incredibly entertaining for the British public and makes great family viewing on a weekend but that is where it should stop for most children, on the whole.

The Co Founder of Little Voices taught Diana Vickers drama at school and we obviously followed her journey on X Factor with great interest. This was a positive experience on the whole and therefore there is a flip side to every debate. No right or wrong answer but ultimately it is down to the individual child. We get to know your child really well in our lessons and will always give honest feedback and advice with your child’s best interests at heart!

“Which teacher influenced you the most?”

JaneWe all have a teacher or teachers that stick out in our memory as being influential in our lives. Equally there is always a teacher that we would rather forget too! Can you remember their names? I am sure that you can.

A teacher’s role is so important in a child’s education. It can sometimes have such a dramatic effect as to affect how successful we are in a particular subject. It is important that the surroundings are conducive to learning and that enjoyment is a hugely influential factor. I remember my own school music lessons and drama lessons at school – they were usually far from orderly, most often complete chaos with most students not wanting to be there.

Drama and singing training, as an additional hobby, plays such an important role in a child’s life. Teachers out of school for these subjects know their pupils really well and as a result have a positive impact on all areas of a child’s life.

Children also meet new friends away from the school environment, work with like-minded pupils in a fun yet structured way that enables them to learn and develop at an appropriate pace.

We know at Little Voices that the teacher, the group and environment that your child works in is crucial. It is why we have a unique framework. Our tutors have to be able to inspire, draw out and encourage the development of your child’s skills. I believe that they can only have a dramatic affect if they really know each individual pupil and they can work with them in a small group. Respect and trust also have a pivotal role to play.