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School of Rock guitar student performing on stage

Composing Confidence: Franchisee shares her journey in the music business

Guitars line the walls throughout School of Rock New Braunfels.

While some instruments have fallen victim to their child players — one guitar has tape wrapped around its head — it's a small price to pay for owner Shannon Canada to instill an important attitude into the students: confidence. 

“We have kids that come through that when they start, (they) won't even look you in the eye,” Canada said. “They're just like staring at the ground, and it just gives them this confidence.” 

For Canada, this confidence is important for both the programs’ kids and her role as a business owner.

Shannon Canada, owner of School of Rock New Braunfels
Photo by Blaine Young for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung

Canada has lived in New Braunfels with her husband, touring musician Cody Canada, for more than 20 years, and opened School of Rock New Braunfels in April 2018.

Together, the couple have two children, Dierks and Willy, who are homeschooled due to Cody’s touring schedule.

Canada came across the School of Rock franchise while looking for a way for the couple's children to have peer-to-peer social interactions.

“As I dug into the program, just the realization of how important it is for kids to find something that fits them and can help them build self-esteem and self-confidence and, at the same time, be like a team,” Canada said. “People think music is just an individual activity, but it’s really not. It’s really about being a part of a team or a band.”

At the time, her 12-year-old son Dierks wanted to learn to play the guitar — just not from his musician dad.

While he started to learn how to play through YouTube videos, Canada didn’t want her son to be in his room all day.

Because of this, Canada enrolled him in the School Of Rock.

Both of her sons are currently in the program, and Dierks is about to graduate this Summer. 

Additionally, the two sons now have their own band, Waves in April.

Guitars at the School of Rock in New Braunfels, TX
Photo by Blaine Young for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung

Although Canada and her husband have been business owners since they got married, Canada said the School of Rock venture found her. 

While she found the San Antonio location, she saw the need to bring a location in New Braunfels.

Canada noted that New Braunfels is a musical town with historic venues and many artists.

Moreover, she wanted to build something her children could have once she retired.

“I think it’s important to build your own dream and be in charge of your path and where you’re going,” Canada said. “I’ve never been the kind of person that wanted to work for someone … and then I also have a huge heart for musicians who are struggling. It’s (a) hard industry to make a living in.”

Canada originally began her journey into the business world after graduating from Oklahoma State University. 

Because her husband was a touring musician, she couldn’t work a traditional nine-to-five job. 

However, being around the music industry helped Canada to garner an interest in the music business. 

Canada said that while many musicians may focus on playing music and having fun, they may not spend enough time figuring out LLCs, insurance, 401k and other business aspects.

Getting into the music business wasn’t without its challenges, as Canada was in a male-dominated industry. 

“I’ve been, you know, called lots of bad names,” Canada said. “You know, ‘she’ll do anything to get her way’ or whatever, and I think that goes to a lot of different industries also, not just music. But just fight for it and you really have to kind of block the people rooting against you.”

Canada said her music business journey didn't stop after the 2018 opening of the New Braunfels School of Rock. 

Later this year, Canada will open another School of Rock location in Kyle

“My biggest piece of advice is just don’t give up, and don’t let people tell you that you can’t accomplish it,” she said.  

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