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Meet Karen Lim-Smith of Music Starz Studios DBA Serenata Strings and DBA Hits On Ten

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Lim-Smith.

Karen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I studied with Alice Waten at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and earned a Diploma in Music. When Ms. Waten decided to move back to Australia, she took me with her. I continued studying with her at the Australian National University and eventually at the Australian Institute of Music, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance.

I moved to the United States in 1998. While undertaking a Master’s degree in violin performance at the University of North Texas, I took Jazz improvisation classes at UNT and minored in Jazz. When my scholarship expired with the Graduate String Quartet after a two-year period, I applied for a Master’s degree in Journalism with the Mayborn School of Journalism. I won a two-year scholarship of $20,000. Under the conditions of the scholarship, I won an internship to write as an arts and entertainment reporter with The Denver Post during the summer of 2002 for ten weeks.

Upon graduation in 2003, I started teaching in the Lewisville Independent School District and maintained a studio of 90 – 100 students per week. I also started networking in the wedding industry. Through trial and error, I learned to turn Serenata Strings, our passion for music making into a sustainable livelihood. Since 2009, Serenata Strings has been providing live music and entertainment at more than 300 social, corporate and church events per year.

We do not teach music only. I also teach my students to write.

In 2010, Music Starz Studios started our volunteer program in Grapevine Mills, collecting money during the Christmas seasons for orphans and homeless children.

In 2015, our music students started to perform for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients in 14 nursing homes and assisted living centers.

We perform at least 150 free concerts at nursing homes and assisted living centers per year and our volunteer program is part of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and was nominated for the Outstanding Citizenship Award of Flower Mound.

My husband Jay and I have also recorded a CD together under Hits On Ten: Love’s In The Air, Volume 1.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes, there are obstacles.

Potential clients have a wide array of choices regarding their live music, the style of music and competitive prices. Serenata Strings compete with many businesses daily to secure contracts to perform live music.

Our musicians are hired on a contractual basis and upon availability. Our musicians are often not always available for every event we have secured. The challenges lie in finding the right musicians and for the events we have secured.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Music Starz Studios DBA Serenata Strings and DBA Hits On Ten – what should we know?
Music Starz Studios provide one-on-one music lessons in piano, violin, viola, acoustic and electric guitar to students ranging from ages 4 – 75.

Music Starz Studios maintain a studio of at least 150 music students per year. Music Starz Studios also teaches our students to write about music.

Students of Music Starz Studios perform at least 150 free concerts at nursing homes and assisted living centers per year for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients and our volunteer program is part of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and was nominated for the Outstanding Citizenship Award of Flower Mound.

Serenata Strings provide live music and entertainment at more than 300 events per year. Serenata Strings customize specific music to accommodate the needs of our clients to include Jazz combos, piano, trumpet, flute, clarinet, bassoon, strings, guitar, saxophone and harp.

Our violin and guitar combo is Serenata Strings’ most versatile group and can perform more than 3,000 pieces in our repertoire.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My husband Jay plays the guitar and teaches acoustic and electric guitar.

While my duties include communicating with potential clients and coordinating music programs for our clients, Jay purchased sheet music. Over a span of 16 years, we have accumulated at least 3,000 pieces of sheet music.

Jay is my biggest fan and supporter.

The wedding coordinators I work with on a daily basis are also my biggest supporters. The companies that have lent support to Serenata Strings are:
Rev. Marty Younkin with Love Notes
As You Wish
A Stylish Soiree
After Yes
Birds of a Feather Event
Carolyn Brown with Weddings by Carolyn
Collins Coordination
Donnie Brown Events
Each and Every Detail
Exceptional Events
Events and Experiences
Jen Rios Weddings
Kristin Mullen with Events by Kristin
Kristin Butler with Fabulous Fete
Leah Frizzell
Lucia Bitnar with Foster Blue & Company
GRO Designs
Hitched Events
Maxwell & Gray
Brianna and Emily Noland
One Fine Day
Pop Parties
Precisely As Planned
Refined Romace
Cheryl Allgood with Ruthe Jackson Center
Sarabeth Events
Shannon Schultz Events
Shelley Kurian with Shelley K Events
Significant Events of Texas
Sweet Pea Events
Marian Timmer
Ricardo Tomas with The Wedding Architect
Tami Winn Events
Timeless Fiori
Weddings by Stardust
Walters Wedding Estates

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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