We had the good fortune of connecting with Mandy Guilfoyle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mandy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I LOVE taking risks. That’s the spice of life! You won’t know just how far you can go in your life and career unless you are willing to take risks. The only way to fully live to your highest potential is to create that idea or opportunity and go for it. If you fail- that’s ok! You took the risk and put yourself out there, and now you have valuable insight to support yourself next time. Risk taking is essential for growth. My entire career has been built on taking risks and “going for it.” I started my career as just a performing professional musician, thinking that was all I wanted to do with my life until I felt the call to teach music. While the prospect of switching gears from full-time performing only to a mixture of performing and teaching was scary, I knew it was the right thing for me. I felt it in my gut! I took the risk and decided to pursue a master’s degree in music education. While finishing that degree and learning a wealth of knowledge about teaching music and working with people, I felt that gut feeling again. I knew there was more out there for me. So I took the risk and completely switched tracks- now, I was on the way to a career in arts administration, working for music non-profits while continuing to teach and perform professionally. Then covid hit. My husband and I found ourselves back in Dallas in a quickly changing world, while we watched the classical music world fall apart around us. Organizations were going under, gigs and performances were canceled indefinitely, and students were quitting lessons to stay safe. Suddenly, I felt that gut feeling again: it was time to listen to my heart and follow my instinct, and take a risk. I’ve always had the dream of starting my own high-level music school here in Dallas, where I could offer students the opportunity to study with some of the industry’s top performing musicians and educators, while paying faculty the rates they deserve. Seeing the need in our music community for an organization to help support our local musicians and music educators and the need for a fresh, new, high-quality and high-level music school, I decided to take the HUGE risk and open Texas Music Institute. Texas Music Institute has been the biggest and best risk I have taken in my life. I would not be the person, musician, teacher, and business owner I am today without having taken risks throughout my career.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Texas Music Institute is a new, high-level music school based in Dallas that offers private lessons, courses, performance opportunities, and more for students of all ages and levels. What makes us different than other music schools in the area is the fact that we pay our faculty members what they deserve! All teachers at TMI are able to set their OWN pay rate because they are the pillars of our school. Other music schools might take most of your tuition money each month and pocket it themselves while paying teachers low rates that often do not match their qualifications and experience level. We wanted to end that trend with Texas Music Institute. Because of that, our faculty includes the best musicians in the DFW area, many of whom are members of the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera, and other well-known arts organizations. Right now, we are most excited about a new class for high schoolers and early-college aged students called “Music Entrepreneurship,” where students will learn everything they need to know about starting their career as musicians, whether they want to be freelancers, teachers, symphony members, or anything else. I had to learn all of that stuff on-the-spot during college, and I want to make sure that future professional musicians don’t have to make the same mistakes I did! If I wanted the world to know one thing about Texas Music Institute and who we are, it would be that we (my husband/co-founder and I) are happy, enthusiastic, and kind people who just want to bring the joy of music and music education to as many students as possible while supporting our fellow professional musicians the best way we can. We love what we do, and we love our music community more than anything. We are always open and easy-going and want to make the world a better place in the best way we can- through music.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite food spot in Dallas is Pizza Lounge. I can confidently say that they have the best pizza in the city! If you go there, get the “sofa king” pizza. So good! In my opinion, the best places to hit up to fully experience Dallas would be: Museums: -Dallas Art Museum -Perot Museum Outdoors: -Dallas Arboretum -White Rock Lake -Cedar Hill Nature Preserve When it comes to bars, I have to say Barley House is my favorite (as an SMU alumnus, what else can I say?). My favorite coffee shop is definitely Union. I love their message and mission, and their coffee is delicious, too! Plus, their outdoor area is huge and perfect for covid-safe gatherings. One of my favorite things to do on a free evening is to walk around Lowest Greenville. There are so many awesome restaurants, shops, and bars and coffee shops to explore, and the vibe is so great!
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?
We would love to give a shout-out to all of our family, friends, students, and faculty that have supported us since the beginning! Your support and enthusiasm mean more to us than we could ever describe. Thank you so much for everything you do for us every single day!