Mr. Jackson’s beat in practice


Kent Jackson

Past student helps a current student in piano lessons at Mr. Jackson’s Strive School of Music.

Spartans have always had a reputation for striving to achieve excellence. One staff member takes this value to his music. Kent Jackson leads a life in Shelby County Schools and in music for youth. The founder and CEO of Strive School of Music saw a lack of engagement in his community, so Jackson drew on his childhood desires, starting a business to aid child development.
“I saw that for a lack of different resources, the kids were not able to have different activities,” Jackson said.
The school holds classes for all ages and levels but is targeted for ages 4 to 17. There are group lessons, private lessons and summer programs that instruct those interested in the musical arts. The programs, however, are not limited to music. There are language programs such as Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese and fitness classes, like yoga. Art classes were also added in response to student requests.
“Whatever I see the kids are interested in, that’s what I will focus on,” Jackson said.
Jackson also launched an initiative for high school and college kids to work seasonal shifts. These flexible schedules allow for after-school care and time to manage the company. Even with this luxury, Jackson maintains one-on-one interactions with his students.
Even having worked with this company for three years now, Jackson still thinks about ways to expand his company. One possibility is the addition of an infant division. Because of their fragility, he wants to ensure he has qualified staff to work with the toddlers before proceeding. Jackson also hopes to become a nonprofit, allowing more underprivileged families to share the opportunities he offers.
For the students, he expects their best. When students graduate or exceed his knowledge, he describes it as “the best feeling in the world.” The company simply strives to feed the minds of the youth all through Memphis.
“If we can reach ‘em, we can teach ‘em.”