Springfield, MO

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2014 40 Under 40 Honoree: Jennifer Jester

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The field of music has taken Jennifer Jester to both coasts. Lately, music has brought her back home.

Jester seized a business opportunity in Springfield by opening a School of Rock franchise last August.

She runs the music school with about a dozen part-time employees teaching performance-based music instruction at 1658 E. Sunshine St. Organized as Rock Sweet Rock LLC, Jester bought into the $50,000 franchise and invested another $100,000 to get it off the ground.

“When talking to other school owners, they talk about the amazing influence in the communities they are in, and I want to do the same thing for Springfield,” says Jester, daughter of late developer Bill Jester.

With School of Rock, she weaves her musical ear and business acumen collected during a decade of studies, performance, teaching and management.

In addition to Jester’s music-related bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, she also collected certifications in the music business program at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and as a ProTools operator from Dallas-based ProMedia Inc.

After an internship at Interscope Records/Universal Music Records in L.A., Jester worked with music-minded nonprofits. She was administrator for the Washington (D.C.) Symphonic Brass Ensemble and spent three years as executive director of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association, a nonprofit that holds music conferences and publishes quarterly journals among its 2,000 publications.

In 2009, Jester transitioned into academia. At Millersville University in Lancaster, Penn., she directed the music business and technology program for four years, as well as the Center for Entrepreneurial Education the last two years. During her stint, Jester played a key role in the school’s $27 million capital expansion of its visual and performing arts facilities.

“Jester was at the center of the planning and the implementation,” says Diane Zimmerman Umble, Millersville’s dean of humanities and social sciences. “She guided the design of recording studios, digital piano laboratories and teaching technologies.”

The former professional musician and instructor knows a thing or two about performing. Jester’s professional ensembles include a dance and vocalist role in the off-Broadway production of “Tarantella: Spider Dance!” in New York City, and she created the music, text and sound design for a 30-minute one-woman show called, “The Last Tango.”

After about six months in business, she’s beginning to see the fruit of her labor.

“I’ve already had parents tell me their kids are doing better in school, are practicing music with passion, and come home and start writing songs because they were inspired to do so after rehearsals,” she says.[[In-content Ad]]


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