We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura McMahan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laura, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My Piano Studio just sort of happened organically. I have been known to stalk a good massage therapist when I find one since spas will not tell you where they move on to keep your business. I had one of the best massages of my life so got to asking about them and found out they lived in my neighborhood and had a daughter who was interested in piano. We bartered two deep tissue massages a month for 4 piano lessons. Soon I started getting more and more inquiries from other family’s in my neighborhood and it wasn’t long before I could quit my nanny job and had a waiting list going for my lessons. I’m not sure I ever would have taken the leap to start my own studio so I’m so grateful it created itself.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what sets me apart from your typical piano teacher is that I really want my student’s to be playing music they love. I have extreme patience and love to celebrate even the smallest of victories. I get most excited when my student’s go on to share their love of music with their own communities. Recently one of my student’s was so excited to play for his Community Circle and that just brought me so much joy to see his happiness in sharing his gift. I’m thrilled we will be able to actually have an in person Formal Spring Recital this year because we were not able to have one last year due to Covid.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Funnily enough I just had friend’s in town visiting for the weekend! I’m lucky enough to live in Decatur which has so many amazing restaurant options and I love a good patio hang. The Beltline is a great way to see the city. I always recommend Arabia Mountain for hikes and the Dolls Head Trail for those looking for something more interesting. I also enjoy taking friends to the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. We don’t hit up Braves game so much anymore now that they are in the suburbs but lots of friends enjoy. If you’re up in Roswell you can’t go wrong with Canton Street.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This may seem backwards but I can safely say my teaching style is a product of all the teachers I had who taught me how I didn’t want to be. “Oh you want to play Chopin? That’s not at your level.” “Oh, you want to sing Coloratura Opera? Your voice isn’t mature enough.” Being told no made me feel discouraged like I wasn’t good enough. I never want to make a student feel like that so I am all about encouragement and why not try. And you know what? There is so much success when you tell a child YES YOU CAN. I am constantly impressed at what my student’s are able to achieve, particularly through this pandemic. My students have continued to choose music and have lessons through a screen despite everything. I am inspired by them every week. I am also thankful for parents who recognize what an important part of life music is and provide them with weekly lessons.

Facebook: Laura’s Lessons Oakhurst

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