Welcome to Little Lake County’s Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County Businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Ginger Acopiado. Ginger is the owner of Music-in-the-Box. Music-in-the-Box offere many different types of music-based classes throughout Lake County.
Ginger lives in Mundelein with husband, Michael, and her 15-year-old son Joey. She also has 31-year-old twin stepsons, Ryan and Matthew, and a 17-month-old granddaughter, Arianna. Arianna loves baking and music as much as her Grandma does! Ginger is originally from Rolling Meadows, and moved to Lake County to be in a less congested area with more open spaces.
Is there a hidden gem in your town, or local activity that you enjoy?
Mundelein, where I live, is full of hidden treasures, with its local restaurants and shops. My recently discovered favorite is Crave Art.
What was the catalyst for starting your business?
When I stopped working after my son Joey was 18 months old in 2001, I started taking him to Steps In Music created by Meredith Haynes at the Libertvyille Park District. Meredith wrote the basic 1-year-old and 2-year-old program and named it after a book/philosophy she loved. My mother-in-law had been taking Joey to these classes from age nine months. I loved Meredith, loved her program, and didn’t like the other programs I had tried. One day, I asked Meredith if she needed another teacher to help with the wait-lists. I was having trouble adapting to being home so much and she was excited to have someone with whom she could work on the program. We became an inseparable music team, both big on the Montessori and Suzuki methods. We decided to form our own business and expand into other park districts.
What is the biggest challenge you face in finding a work/life balance?
The biggest challenge is the amount of time it takes to both teach and run the business as a trade-off for the part-time income. When you work full time, you expect to sacrifice quality time and receive the big paycheck (or at least bigger) as compensation. When you work at a business that has a part-time clientele (babies nap in the afternoon), the income is also part-time, but the work can go in cycles. Creating, updating to keep it fresh, finding quality teachers, the best materials, the paperwork, is all very time consuming. But it is all a labor of love; the greatest joy I had was when I told my son Joey, then around 10, ‘I may have to sell the business someday.’ He said ‘NO! You have to always keep Music-in-the-Box! It is who you are, you created it and it is important, and I may want to run it one day.’ I could easily “work” all day and night during peak times, but it doesn’t feel like work (except at tax time). It is my joy, my other love.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about you or your business?
That music is important. Not just to me, but to our future. The future of people depends on the arts. We are so technology-focused now and need to step back once in a while to appreciate the beauty that is in our world–in its rhythms and sounds, in its visual beauty. The arts are what keeps us human. It unites us all, big and small, weak and strong, rich and poor. Joy is part of the artistic core. Sharing joy through music is what we do, what we love. Sharing music with the littlest part of humanity helps build strong artistic foundations. Even science is proving over and over how important music is in brain building and patterning in learning.
What makes your business unique?
We understand how children “do” music without letting go of our basic principles of educating very young children in real musical concepts. All of the music theory we use is part of a musical game or activity. Basic nursery rhymes are used to encourage families to sing together from the beginning without a huge learning curve. In the Suzuki Method of Instrument Learning, melodies are given transition lyrics so they are part of the subconscious from the very beginning, setting the stage for musical intelligence. We consult with educational, occupational, speech and physical therapists to ensure we are approaching everything with the total child in mind – mind, body and senses as we like to say. It may look as simple as a bounce or game, but we know the science behind everything we do in the classroom. As long as the children are engaged, they are learning!
Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
If I could, I would love to thank all the families in Lake County who turned out for our Ela Library event this past May, and to Little Lake County who put it on their calendar. We had between 144 and 156 people every week! The energy was amazing. And to thank all the families who take Music Masters classes in Barrington, Elgin, Grayslake, Gurnee, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Round Lake, Waukegan and new for fall at the Talent Forum dance studio in Libertyville. We love being able to share music with you and start your children on their lifelong musical journey.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Disclosure: Music-in-the-Box is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our series.