Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Building A Community Teaching Music Online

There are tons of reasons why people choose the noble act of teaching music.  Some people like the act of sharing music.  Some people teach to sharpen their own skills. Some people do it to support their performance careers. Some people do it because they’re fed up!

Now you’re probably saying right now, “Fed up?”  Yes, that’s right, I wrote fed up! 🙂 My frustration led to building the online jazz community www.freejazzlessons.com.

Jazz Lessons Community

I was in a particularly sour mood one day after hearing about another round of budget cuts to music education programs in schools. Why was this happening again??  Every few years we have to fight the same battle.

It is EXTREMELY important for our society as whole that schools teach music.  It’s been shown time and time again the benefits that a music education has on learning, cognitive abilities, and overall contribution to society as whole.  Our souls craves music and music education!

As the great jazz pianist Bill Evans said music can “show a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise…a part of yourself you never knew existed.”  We all need this insight in today’s complex world!

Finding A Solution To The Budget Cuts

I’ve always been taught that if you’re not working toward creating solutions then you’re part of the problem.  So, what could I do to help?  How could I serve?  How could I use my talents to help increase the demand and need for music education?

I thought a long time about this and eventually came to a simple conclusion.

I needed to find a way to share and promote music concepts that initially cause me to fall in love with music.  If I fell in love with music then others could too. I wouldn’t let silly budget cuts stop the desire our world has for learning music.

So, in the beginning I just posted a couple video lessons online of chords I liked. I really had no idea if anybody would even watch them.  Would they inspire people? Could I even make a difference?  Well, I thought if nobody really watches them at least I could use them with my students in Chicago as reference material.

So, for the first month I only had a few hits come in to the site.  Most of them of course were from Chicago 🙂

Something weird happened though.  I started slowly getting traffic from other states and countries. The more I shared the more traffic the site received. Slowly more hits.  Then some more. Then hundreds per day. Hits were coming in from all over….Hawaii, Japan, Russia, Iran, China, Australia, etc etc..  People started sharing!

It became crystal clear that the thirst for music knowledge is just as important as it ever was. Money can not stop music education. It never can and it never will.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Budgets

I wish I could say I knew in advance exactly what freejazzlessons.com would end up becoming. I’d love to say I knew all along it would turn into this huge online jazz community.  In reality I had no idea! I do have to say though that I’m thrilled and incredibly thankful.

Building this online music community has been proof.  Regardless of ignorance in legislative and budgetary decisions there will always be demand for learning music.

It’s exciting to see the love of music that people have all over the world.  People share and everybody learns from each other.  That’s what music should be right?

What do you think is music’s role in society?  Do you think we can do more to fight music department budget cuts?

About the Author

Brandon Pearce
Brandon Pearce is the founder and CEO of Music Teacher's Helper, a web-based software program to help music teachers manage the business aspects of teaching music lessons.

A piano teacher and computer programmer himself, he created Music Teacher's Helper as a side project to manage his own students, and in 2004, made it available for music teachers worldwide.

Since then, it has grown to supp... [Read more]

1 Comment

  1. eugene cantera

    People will always want access to quality music learning material and educators who can clearly deliver great advice and support. Technology levels the playing field but also allows marginal ‘teaching’ to take place. Unfortunately, the profession of music education is mired in academia, preparing its graduates for diminishing jobs that almost all occur within the tradition of school music. We (www.discoverlearnandplay.com & Dallas School of Music) believe there is a huge market (yes, market) for music education that begins by addressing the needs of people 18 and over. If we can successfully create life-long music makers (rather than abandon them just as they are becoming wage earners) we will have plenty of ambassadors that will demand music in schools be ‘saved’ and many more happy retailers, publishers, and TEACHERS.

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