On behalf of students and parents in the State of California, we ask the school board to carefull review their Plan B decision to cut the arts out of schools.
We all want kids that are successful in school and well-prepared for the workforce. Learning and playing music starts kids on the right path to success – both from a social and educational point of view.
Scientific studies have shown that kids taking music growing up have higher self-esteem, get in fewer fights, and show less signs of racism than their peers. They are four times more likely to win academic achievement awards, and three times more likely to be recognized for school attendance.
Music and the arts help prepare kids for the workforce. By studying music while growing up, our young leaders learn effective communication, problem solving skills, and cooperation at work. Those who go on to college end up scoring on their SAT tests 63 points higher on the verbal and 44 points higher on the math portion of the test.
(More information on the benefits of music for kids can be found at http://TakeLessons.com/info/children).
It is important that the citizens of San Diego let our school board know that we appreciate their efforts to do what is necessary to balance the budget. But cutting music programs is not the answer. We encourage the board to keep looking for alternative solutions.
CEO and Founder
Today, one of our Student Counselors (Felipe) helped a new student get started enjoying music. Here was their original request:
My daughter has Down syndrome but she is teachable and very bright. She attended school and graduated 2007. She likes singing and has a violin, 2 guitars acoustic and electric and a keyboard, but does not know how to play any of them. She has but one desire and it's to be in a band – I know that with her disability she is not the best candidate for such opportunities but for me just to steer her into having lessons could help her improve her speech (stuttering) as well as give her the joy she seeks in music. She currently does nothing but stays home and does a few things she likes to do as far as reading, coloring, listening to music on PC and singing.
I would not mind traveling to the instructors studio or having in home lessons for her. I would like to know the cost involved in both and if she would be able to take advantage of this program. I look forward to hearing back from you as I would like to give her this as a present for Christmas and would like her to begin in January if acceptable to an assigned TakeLessons instructor.
We believe there's an artist inside all of us – ALL of us – and we're happy to have her as our newest student.
Music changes the world – one person at a time…
Just wanted to give a big shout out to Enrique Platas, my friend and TakeLessons Instructor, on a job well done. He played on some tracks for the album, Soy, by Victor Manuelle. It has been niminated for Best Salsa Album of 2008 in the Latin Grammys. Also, one of the songs has been on the Latin Billboard charts for three months running.
Congrats again, my friend. You rock!
Recently, we received an email from a gentleman looking for music lessons:
“So, I am an English teacher in the Bronx and I got hired to teach music next year. Although I am a music lover, I have never played an instrument and definitely not a musician. I need to take piano and music theory lessons this summer so I can be ahead of my beginning students next school year. Can you help?”
As music budgets keep getting cut further and further, I wonder if the kids of the future will have an understanding of the joys music adds to life.
Enrique was a top-notch musician. He had gotten a music performance degree a few years back, and followed his passion into music. He played all over San Diego, and was the drummer for our regional-touring rock band, Across The Room.
One Saturday afternoon, the band had just finished an acoustic set at a sea-side coffee house. I was the band’s very bad lead singer, and I invited him to join me for a margarita (no salt). Enrique couldn’t go because he had to quickly pack up his drums, go fill up his tank, and drive 30 minutes to another part of town. He was giving drum lessons to a 12-year old at the student’s home.
An hour later, I was sipping the margarita (Patrone) when he got the call. Enrique had driven over to the student’s home, and no one was home. He waited, tried calling, but they were a no show. Frustrated, Enrique drove back to the Mexican cantina and ordered a double.
There, I talked with Enrique about the music business, and the teaching business. He explained to me how difficult it was for him to find students, and for students to find him. You see, most of us who have a passion for music, dance, or another creative outlet are just beginners, and we have no idea where to go, what to look for, and how to learn. So, what happens is we order a DVD, or try to download some guitar tabs, get frustrated, and quit without finding our true artist within.
After we calculated the marketing, the flyers (hanging up at the grocery store), gas money, the no-shows, and the wear & tear on his equipment, we found that Enrique was making less than minimum wage.
I was shocked! Here was my good friend, my band partner, and an unbelievably talented and accomplished artist making less than a Burger King drive-thru worker. He and his wife just had a new baby, and between changing diapers, working a second job, waiting for no-show students, and rehearsing to keep up his art, he barely had time to build his own business and find his own students.
What We Do
It was this day I decided to start the business. It was started out of a genuine desire to help creative people connect with each other. We didn’t have the funds or people to blow out an entire active social network, and we would have wrestled with the cold start problem even if we did. So we built slowly – one user at a time.
Over the past 20 months, we’ve matched enough students to fill a football stadium. These people not only create online friends, but real-world connections. And while that’s all good (especially with no financial backing), we’re looking to take our business to the next level.
Most music and creative sites are chasing the artists who are really good, cut albums, and need to market themselves. This makes up 3-4% of the entire body of creative enthusiasts. What we do is give a home to the other 96%.
While it’s much more glamorous to be associated with a rock star, we feel there is a bigger unmet demand for the dude trying to figure out how to string a guitar.