Between Classes with Brian from FunikiJam
Tell us in a couple words what motivated you to start your business?
I was motivated to start FunikiJam Music classes in 1999 by a group of Nashville parents (who knew I had helped write and develop the Gymboree Music Program) that wanted quality education and entertainment programs they could enjoy - together -with their little ones. A stage and screen veteran since age 6 with over two decades of singing and acting under my belt, I knew that ultimately I wanted to be on the creative side of things. So writing, producing, and operating a multicultural music company seemed like a fun and meaningful “side project”. 18 years later - here I am. Still loving it as much as I did the first day!
How do children benefit from your classes?
Children (and inner children!) benefit from FunikiJam in many ways - musically, developmentally, socially, emotionally…Each activity targets specific developmental skills. Our original music, rhymes and stories explore diverse cultures from across the world. Ultimately we hope to empower the young - and young at heart - to be global citizens and reach their highest potential!
What has been the most fulfilling part of your job?
The most fulfilling part of my job is having a positive impact in people’s lives. Hearing parents connect milestones in their children’s lives to a FunikiJam class, album, or video, always bring me joy. I also love passing along my methods and pedagogy so others can facilitate FunikiJam programs; both through the “Agent of Jam” certification/licensing program and as a professor of Early Childhood Arts at New York University.
What is the biggest challenge in your opinion when running your own business?
The biggest challenge in running my own business is BALANCE. Even when you love your career as much as I do, it is still just one component of a happy, healthy life! Taking time for family, friends, fitness, culture, and spirit makes me a better artist, teacher, and entrepreneur. Or so I hear. Please remind me to take a day off soon.
What was your favorite thing to do as a child?
My favorite thing to do when I was a kid was reading! And singing. And sports. And creating shows. Wait, pretty much the same things I do now. Haha.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Share your personal motto or best piece of advice you received in life?
Growing up, when I would get frustrated and start to say “I can’t” my mom would always say “can’t never could.”
What about your childhood motivated you to stay involved in your passion?
Early success as performer and artist combined with being raised with faith, hope and a strong work ethic motivates me to stay involved with my passion. The joyful faces of our clients helps, too!