Springfield, MO

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Heather Leverich Roberts
Heather Leverich Roberts

Small Business of the Year Finalist: The Conservatory of the Ozarks LLC

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The Conservatory of the Ozarks LLC
: 2132 W. Chesterfield Blvd., Stes. 103 and 104 D
Employees: 2

Heather Leverich Roberts isn’t afraid of doing her own legwork to find clients. The president of The Conservatory of the Ozarks LLC has walked neighborhoods during inclement weather to put fliers on doors.

She thinks the extra effort has paid off, as there are now 100 students enrolled at the school, which focuses on music and art.

The conservatory opened in August 2009 with Roberts as its only teacher, offering piano and voice lessons to children and adults. Her husband, Michael, is the company’s only other full-time employee, handling “all things business,” she said.

Roberts has hired about 12 teachers who are independent contractors to expand the conservatory’s curriculum.

In addition to voice and piano, instruction in guitar, violin, brass, percussion, music and art – all aimed at young and special-needs children – are now available.

Lessons can be fun, but there also is a serious side to music, which means having the right instructors, said Roberts, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music with emphasis on voice and piano from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wis.

“I’m really picky about who I take on as teachers. They have to have an education in music and experience teaching,” she said. “When people come in, I want them to know they’re getting expert advice.”

The standard rate for lessons at the conservatory is $65 a month. Though there are some scholarships available, Roberts said she’s had several students quit in recent months because one or both of their parents lost jobs.

“Taking piano lessons, it’s not like buying groceries. It’s an extra,” she said. “We try to come up with different things to survive.”
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