Quora Answer : What are some implementable ideas to help a music school business post-Covid-19 shutdown?

Jun 29, 2020

Covid shutdown is tough on schools etc.

The only obvious thing is that education is moving online.

And the truth is, that once people get a taste for the convenience of learning online, and get the skills needed for it, they are unlikely to want to go back to the old ways even after COVID.

Any school, college, university needs to be preparing how it can teach online during COVID, and expecting that even after COVID, a proportion of its teaching / evaluation will continue online.

(Of course, there is value in face-to-face. But we are going to discover now how much we can do despite not having F2F, and that means that we won't consider it essential in the future)

I am learning a lot about music at the moment from YouTubers. Many of whom are incredible. YouTube is a fantastic medium for music education. I think a music school absolutely needs to have online videos.

I'm seeing a lot of YouTubers offering great free content, and then upselling fans to private video courses. That's probably one way to go. I bought this course How To Write Music because I was a fan of Guy Michelmore's free YouTube content. So I partly wanted to see what a real course was like, and partly wanted to show my appreciation for him in general.

You see a lot of electronic / EDM / trap etc. YouTubers doing "beat critiques" but the free stuff online seems pretty superficial. I suspect there is still unsatisfied demand for people offering "listen to and give constructive feedback on your music" services. And "fix your composition" services.

If I ran a music school, I'd firstly make sure that there were some impressive free videos of our teachers on YouTube. So that people knew that we had good people. But then even as I was thinking of crafting some teaching packages, I'd be focussing perhaps a bit more than most schools on inventing some "feedback" packages. Perhaps everything from individual sessions of "listen to your tracks, answer your questions" to some group "crit" encounters.

Another thing I'd be doing is helping students get online. For example, playing music online is difficult. I've been playing with some people with JamTaba / NINJAM recently. It's not perfect but has some interesting virtues (and downsides). It works well for electronic music or music which is largely about jamming on simple chords.

But I've yet to see an online music school offer a "Ninjam" course. For example to explain to how to use it, to set the software up etc. To explore how musicians can learn to use it well, musically. Or a school to set up their own Ninjam server as a service for musicians. I suspect that if a school invested a bit of effort into dominating and teaching Ninjam and running a Ninjam server during the COVID lockdown period, that would actually be great publicity and help it build a community.

As real-world institutions are forced online by COVID, they'll need to learn the "online community building" tricks and skills. But there are still opportunities to do something different. What about an online talent competition / show? What about a course on setting up your bedroom for streaming performances? What about doing that and also affiliate selling some of the equipment (cameras, microphones etc) you need to be able to broadcast a performance from your bedroom?

As a music school, what instruments do you teach? Do you also help multiple instrumentalists find collaborators among other students? Do you help your students get their music online? Etc.

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