Fonts and family

I have an app on my phone called “What the font.” When I see a font that I enjoy or have a question about, it lets me scan the font and returns with the likely font name. I’ve had some real font love affairs. 8 years ago it was Raleway. Lately it’s Montserrat and Lora. To be clear, I haven’t done deep research into the font you’re reading now (Madera Regular, open sans) or the impact on your reading experience (SORRY!), but I do enjoy a pretty typeface when I see it.

What does this font talk have to do with piano? Not much really, except for a story and an explanation. You see, my grandpa, John B. Barkley, owned Barkley’s Garage and Car Lot in Greenville, Texas from 1938 until his retirement in 1993. He repaired and sold cars while his business partner and wife, Mary Barkley ran the business. Together they had a perfect small business combination of customer service and business administration. Mechanics and accounting. Tools and numbers.

Barkley’s garage logo — Lydian font.

Now I have enough Texan in me to assume I was some sort rugged individual by starting a piano business. No one else in my family played piano. When I first started teaching in 2002, I was convinced that I was one odd, little bird sitting on my family tree.

You see, I want to run a business that teaches any and all music to any and all people. I want to run a studio accessible to all and not bound by geography and time zones and stairs! I want to use best business practices to automate what doesn’t really matter — like scheduling and invoicing and prioritize what does matter — people and music — in that order. I want to use my customer service and business administration abilities, tools and numbers, mechanics and accounting, to run the best, little music studio that I can. Clearly I’m a rough and tumble Texan. Individual, rugged, and free. Each your heart out Davy Crocket. Yee HAW!


I’m not. I’m not rough and tumble. I’m not new to small business. I’m not unique. It’s all Barkley’s Garage except instead of cars, it’s piano. Instead of repairing carburetors, it’s repairing technique. It’s all the same thing. It’s customers wanting a service, and maybe a joke and a smile. Run the business, take care of your community and family, repeat if you’re lucky.

So when it came to reopening the studio and rebranding the business, I didn’t have to look far to know what choices to make.

Music Works Logo

Hammers and the keys in Lydian font just like Barkley’s Garage.

What I know to be true is that nothing in this world will ever be as exciting as seeing a student learn something new. I would imagine it’s the same kind of charge John B. got when an engine turned over or Mary got when the numbers added up. I’m grateful for their model of how to run a business. I’m grateful for the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. I’m grateful for the privilege of this business and the daily miracles it brings.

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