Musical entrepreneur finds her groove
JACKSON – As a musical entrepreneur, Maddy German has a broad repertoire.
Maddy grew up with music. In Virginia, her mother was a church musician, who played keyboard and flute, sang with the church “worship team,” directed choirs, and wrote music for the ensembles she directed.
So, it isn’t surprising that Maddy would become a versatile musician herself. Her band, Maddy and the Groove Spots, plays at events and parties around Jackson. Their sound might be described as WyoPop, combining popular music chart hits with a contemporary Western edge.
Maddy’s first music video, entitled “Baby Ask,” premiered on Aug. 21, 2017 – the day a total solar eclipse darkened a swath across the Cowboy State. The video explores the dualities of human nature like male and female, and darkness and light. A Kickstarter campaign raised over $10,000 to help fund the effort.
“Baby Ask” is the first piece in what is envisioned as a seven-part “visual album” called “First of the New West.” Maddy said the next piece will be based on women characters in Wyoming. The overall project also “might have little behind-the-scenes break-outs about how and why we did what we did, with each video,” she said.
Maddy has worked with JenTen Productions of Jackson on a film documentary that chronicles the first year in the life of a Jackson vertical greenhouse project. The Vertical Harvest facility is a three-story, stacked structure that provides fresh vegetables year-round.
Jennifer Tennican, owner of JenTen Productions, described Maddy as “a very talented and motivated artist” who synthesized lots of information to create the right mood and pacing for the documentary.
Maddy also is considering a video project about Wyoming women pioneers that would coincide with the 2019 anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the state. On Dec. 10, 1869, Wyoming passed the first women’s suffrage law in the United States.
Teaching is a major component of Maddy’s company, Maddy’s Music LLC. As a music instructor, Maddy goes well beyond directing rote practice sessions to the monotonous ticking of a metronome. She approaches music as a “numerical language” and empower students to express that language individually, whether through piano training, vocal training, sight reading, or by other means.
Maddy’s students range in age from children to mature adults. Pam Zernis, age 61, took music lessons as a youngster. Now Maddy is “reteaching” her.
“I am finally learning music theory, rhythm, and scales, things beyond playing from a lesson book,” Pam said. “I have a regular time every week. She goes way beyond just teaching. I love our lesson time and just wish I could go home and play the rest of the day.”
Alexis Dittmer is another of Maddy’s adult students. “The thing that has been most interesting to me with her adult students is we have like horrible memories of mean piano teachers as children growing up.”
But her reaction to Maddy’s approach could not be more different. “It has been so much fun,” she said. “Maddy has this incredibly wonderful, positive energy.”
Alexis also hired Maddy and her group to play at a private party. “It was perfect. Maddy did everything in her power to make things happen. She was the star of the party.”
In her business, Maddy has benefited for expertise of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network and Sarah Hamlin, the SBDC’s regional director for Fremont and Teton counties.
SBDC advisors have helped Maddy address such matters as personal and business finances, budgeting, and website development. Sarah also has been a source of moral support.
“Being an entrepreneur is always scary,” Maddy said, “but when you’re an artist, and not only the force behind product but the product itself, it is very difficult to manage. Sarah helped me keep my head up. She is like a mile marker that I can come back to. She is like a constant check-in point.”
Click on the “success stories” to the right to learn how other Wyoming businesses have succeeded in the Cowboy State.