By Diane Tezeno
Fresno music teacher shapes students into industry-ready artists
Scott Jones remembers watching Disney movies as a child just to hear the songs.
He recalls getting his cousins together and directing them to play the various characters in the movie.
A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Jones’ inspiration to perfect his musical talents was influenced by the loss of his brother who played the saxophone and the clarinet.
“My brother passed away when I was 9. I really wanted to imitate him a lot so I think that is why I really started doing music and had a knack for it,” says Jones.
Later that year, Jones began playing the piano and studying music at the Springfield Conservatory of Music.
As a teenager, his parents poured their support into developing his music gifts.
“My father built a full-fledged studio for me with recording booth, lighting and mixing console,” says Jones, who used the studio to launch his first music production company.
At age 16, he was offered a summer job at the Conservatory teaching music to other students.
“I have been teaching music ever since,” says Jones.
As owner of Key Innovations School of Music and Performing Arts, one of Fresno, Texas’ best kept secrets, one can arguably say Jones does more than just teach music.
The 28 year old nurtures his students gifts and talents and crafts them into industry-ready stars.
His background includes an internship in the promotions department at Universal Music/Island – DEF Jam in New York where he later worked on showcases with Ne-yo and Rihanna in their early careers.
Some of his company’s credits include Dawn Richard of Diddy’s Dirty-Money and platinum-selling group Danity Kane, Ashley Roberts of the multi-platinum selling group Pussycat Dolls and Universal recording artist “So You Think You Can Dance” sensation Blake McGrath, and more.
“I feel that my perspective on helping the student get industry-ready standards is a little bit different because I have been a producer and also have been a teacher for the past 12 years,” says Jones.
Key Innovations provides students with things you don’t find in traditional music schools, says Jones.
“It is so much more than a simple music lesson, it is a full-on artist development process,” says Jones.
Students who arrive at his school, located on the outskirts of Houston in Fresno, learn every aspect of the industry from recording in a music studio to honing their stage presence to performing a range of musical instruments, and more.
“We create music videos, cover songs, record in the studio, go on location, work on stage presence, put videos on YouTube and also create original songs.
“We have one student that created five original songs and we uploaded them on YouTube and one of her songs got more than 250,000 views,” says Jones.
Key Innovation also creates Electronic Press Kits, (“EPK”) as a promotional tool for aspiring artists and performers.
His unique approach to preparing students for careers in music and entertainment was instrumental in helping Normani Kordei, 2012 X-Factor finalist, develop the confidence and stage presence she needed to compete on the FOX-TV talent competition.
“The success we have had this year with the school and with getting Normani to X-Factor and her being a part of the group that made it into the top three had to be one of my proudest moments,” says Jones.
Jones, along with music teacher and business partner Toni Davis, worked with Kordei, going from twice a week practices to four or five times a week to prepare for the competition and boost her confidence-level.
“I would not allow her to come to lessons in regular clothes. She had to put on her heels and make sure her make-up and hair were done.
“I wanted her to feel like a star every time she came to the school so she could come out of her shyness and get ready for the big stage,” says Jones.
Jones met business partner Davis while both were teaching at Success Music Studios in Sugar Land.
A former Sugar Land Superstar finalist, Davis began helping Jones with studio business and recording demo songs and eventually was asked to teach at the school.
“She has an amazing range in vocal singing and brings something different in being able to help some of the girls. We are basically twins, she is just a girl,” says Jones.
In addition to Jones and Davis mutual admiration for one another’s talents, both are committed to sharing their passion for music and the performing arts with their students.
“Scott is one of the hardest working people I have ever met in my life. We are both perfectionists, but whenever I get tired, he goes above and beyond. He believes the kids are always capable of doing more. That is what he brings to the table, he is the driving force.
“I am more of the nurturer, he is more of the disciplinarian. When most kids get out there, no one is going to take it easy on them, so he helps them go out there and motivates them to do their best,” says Davis.
The pair also worked with Miss Sugar Land’s Outstanding Teen, Niki Noblett.
As Jones reflects on the success his school has achieved in such a short span, he thinks back to the decision that brought him to the Houston area.
“My cousin and I started a music production company back home in Springfield and put on a lot of talents shows but needed to get somewhere bigger. It was either, Atlanta, Los Angeles or the Houston area,” says Jones.
Houston won out and brought Jones’ passion for music to the area to inspire and groom a new generation of aspiring artists.
“It has been definitely surprising how much we have been able to accomplish. I am very proud of all of my students and what they are doing.
“I always say it is not about me. My success as a producer is behind the scenes helping people,” says Jones.
In the next five years, he plans to continue to do that and has thoughts of opening music schools on the east and west coast, as well as Atlanta, but for now, his focus is on Houston.
“I have seen a lot of talent in New York, Atlanta and LA, but boy there is a lot of talent here in Houston. There is so much untapped talent that I would love to take a hold of and hone. And at our school, with Toni and I, we can make that happen,” says Jones.
Key Innovations Music School, located in the Fresno/Pearland area of Houston, offers piano, voice, sax and clarinet classes to students of all ages. The company also offers music video and studio production services, cover songs, original songs, stage training, dance instruction and artist development packages.
The School also is offering specialized classes at a second location at the SoReal Performing Arts Center of Houston, 14520 Memorial Dr., Houston, Texas 77079. For more information, visit www.keyinmusic.com or the school’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/KeyInnovationsMusicSchool.
For more information call 832-860-7845 or 413-433-1575. For information on Jones’ music production company, InvadeAvision, visit www.invadeavision.tumblr.com.