Spotlight: Charlie Edmonds

Name: Charlie Edmonds

Degree: PhD Student in Music Education

Business: Pocket is an instructional system for beginner band that uses Black gospel music. We do further discussions on the foundations of hip hop, blues, jazz, soul, funk etc. which is in gospel. Within the Shoemaker Innovation Center, I am learning to create an online universe for all of this. I already have the paper version of this from my experience as a band director. This online source would include play-along-tracks recorded by HBCU bands.

What is your story?

I am currently getting a PhD in Music Education at Jacobs, after having taught as a middle school band director for 6 years. I went to University of Tennessee for my Undergraduate and IU for my Master’s; both degrees in Music Education. I taught middle school in a predominantly Black middle school, and I noticed that their musical experiences were already very advanced. The music curriculum was a great instructional baseline, but the curriculum didn’t include Gospel music, soul, and hip hop. I started writing out that music for the students because there was a lot to learn and teach that better aligned with the students’ interests.

I started the program in August of 2020, and I participated in the Jacobs Jumpstart Innovation Competition. I told them about my idea for Pocket, and I won first place in that innovation competition. The next semester, I placed third in the CLAPP Idea competition, which gave me more validation for the idea. The following year, I came back as a judge for the Jacobs Innovation Competition and met Travis who introduced me to the Shoemaker Innovation Center. I applied and eventually joined the center, and now I get to be around all these great thinkers and innovators which is so inspiring.

I am planning to release an initial version of this online resource very soon and send it to some schools to run through the lesson plans with their band students.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned as an entrepreneur?

I’ve learned that you can’t build a finished product before testing it. I won the first innovation competition in Spring of 2021, and now, it is beginning of 2023, and I am just about to release something. I was trying to put out everything and ensure that it was perfect all at once. If I had been brave enough to put out an unfinished product, I would have been able to get a lot more feedback by now.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received as an entrepreneur?

Consistency. If you are not working on it, it is not going to happen. Within the Shoemaker Innovation Center, clients are required a minimum of 10 hours per week because if you aren’t working on it, it’s not going to happen. You have to be consistent. I have seen people succeed who are consistently putting in the time and the work. It’s either they are going to do it and put in the time towards it, or you’re not going to do it because you aren’t putting in the time.

What has been the most valuable resource you have utilized at the university? 

  1. Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development at the Jacobs School of Music
  2. Shoemaker Innovation Center
  3. My Professors

What has been the most valuable resource to you outside of IU? 

My faith. When it’s just me, I can pray and read scripture and I am able to get encouragement. The faith of knowing that everything will be okay has kept me going.

How can people connect with you?