By Debbie Lagestee
Jo Kokri-Bhatt has been playing the piano since she was 6 years old, but she has had a love of music for as long as she can remember. She knew at an incredibly young age she wanted to pursue a career in music. In 2010, Jo founded Homeworks Studio providing customizable, private music lessons with an emphasis on voice and piano.
Jo was born to immigrant parents and raised in Spartanburg, SC where she studied classical piano for 10 years. In high school, she played the clarinet and mallet percussion and began singing and playing solo, as well as with ensemble groups. She attended the University of South Carolina-Upstate and earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Music and Business. She has won numerous musical awards and has performed on the west coast and regionally since 1989 through classical recitals, concertos, and contemporary music. Jo continues her education by participating in music Master Classes and Workshops with Brevard Music Center, Berklee Music College, and the National Music Teachers Association.
Homeworks Studio was founded in the Upstate of SC and is now based in the Lowcountry. Originally beginning with music instruction only, Jo developed a platform that has now expanded into ensemble group music, performing at weddings, corporate events, live events, and holding residencies at the finest venues.
Jo holds on to the strong belief that music is for everyone and maintains that music is meant to connect the world in transcendent ways. She finds in her own life music has been good therapy for treating many of life’s challenges. Jo states, “I truly hope the joy I find in music can inspire people of all ages to enjoy live music and/or learn to play an instrument.”
Through the precious gift of joy and her positive outlook, she has helped people heal, realize their dreams, and overcome stage-fright. Although Jo’s primary focus for Homeworks Studio is teaching and performing, she is now offering other studio services such as referrals to recording studios and recording original jingles. Jo writes and records cover and original music and hopes to continue on that path in the future.
When Jo is not teaching or performing, she enjoys an active lifestyle. She loves traveling and visiting new places. She is captivated by nature, continually exploring the Lowcountry outdoors and beyond. Jo has an affinity for cultural events and the arts. She is active in the community, especially with service organizations. Jo has a genuine love and heart for people, always willing to help others, and she is a proud sponsor of Carolina Bay Neighbors magazine.
One day she hopes to find a lifelong partner who shares her love for music and the industry, as it takes a great understanding of all aspects involved. She would eventually like to have children, but for now, she has a curious cat named Mochi.
Jo’s childhood dream of having a career in the music industry is now her reality. Her goal for Homeworks Studio is to grow and eventually expand. In addition to her piano and voice lessons, Homeworks Studio associates now offer lessons in violin, flute, saxophone, harp, ukulele, guitar, and drums. Live music events through Homeworks Studio offer these instruments as well! She stays motivated each day even during the pandemic by holding on to her hope and faith that these current challenges will not be here forever. She says, “My spirituality has been paramount in navigating through the new normal.”
Jo has her dream job and she loves interacting with people in the community as well as her students and clients. Their enjoyment of the service she and the studio provide is a priceless gift to her. Feel free to reach out to her for lessons, live music and just to say hello to a neighbor!