Monday Team Meeting Notes & Assignments (4-28-14)

Author: Anna Spady


Favorite Combined Concepts 

  • Online and Brick & Mortar (gym/coffee shop) service combined
  • Gaming (Guitar-Hero-esque, but with real instruments) component
  • Tiered service offerings (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced), etc.
  • Free Trial period, refer a friend discount
  • Custom Service package based on responses to intake questionnaire
  • Space for musicians to “jam” and co-create
  • Targeted age bracket approx. age: 18-28

Service  WON’T Include 

  • Rentals
  • Maintenance (or repairs)
  • Storage
  • Instead do referrals and act as a middle man

Final-Step Assignments 

  • ***Post draft so for group viewing and feedback by Sat. 5/3/14
  • Spady: Buying Intention’s Survey (what we’ll give our classmates after the pitch) 
  • Armstrong & Keith: Promotional video 
  • Keith & Stephen: Intake Questionnaire (the questions clients answer to determine their custom service package). 
  • Stephen: will give the actual presentation to the class Monday 

Membership Concept and Business Model Canvas Methodology – Armstrong

Customer Segment

  • 17-29 year olds (millenials) of all musical skill and experience levels

Value Proposition

  • Providing individualized music membership in a relaxed but engaged community of musical explorers

Customer Relationship Channels

Raise Awareness

  • Advertising geared toward high school, university, and business members
  • Online questionnaire to determine specific customer needs and design unique customer membership package (go through all possible services and benefits provided by our company)

Help customers evaluate the value proposition

  • Easy customer feedback through company website/platform which receives response daily from the company

Help customize purchase and make purchase

  • Online questionnaire to determine specific customer needs and design unique customer membership package (go through all possible services and benefits provided by our company)
  • Online payment/monthly automated payments/easy online customer management of membership package and payment
  • Staff member dedicated to working with inner-city schools

Deliver value proposition

  • Extensive online website, platforms, and services
  • Physical location(s)
  • External partnerships that benefit members
  • External partnerships that benefit company
  • Helpful and involved staff members at the physical location(s)
  • Provide instructors and equipment to inner-city schools
  • IT support staff
  • Music instruction tailored to customer needs

Provide post-purchase support

  • IT support staff
  • Helpful and involved staff at physical location(s)
  • Online support through website and platforms
  • Easy feedback and suggestion online channel
  • Instrument and composition instructors available to assist customers online

Personal assistance?

  • IT support
  • Staff at physical locations
  • Easy online communication with company (answered daily)

Dedicated personal assistance?

  • Music, instrument, and/or composition instructor


  • Customizing membership package and making payments online
  • Using equipment, technology, and instruments at the physical locations
  • Using the online website, platforms, and resources
  • Initiating collaboration opportunities

Automated services?

  •  Notifications regarding local events, activities, and services to which a membership discount/benefit can be used


  • Online community facilitating connection and collaboration between members
  • Physical location providing a place for members to meet, collaborate, and socialize


  • Customers create online content that can be shared via social media or on the company’s online platform
  • Submit feedback and suggestions to the company online

Revenue Streams

  • Access to instructor services (percentage of instructor fees)
  • Access to instrument rental services (percentage of instrument rental fees)
  • Access to physical location(s) and equipment
  • Physical location reservation privileges
  • Access to social and collaboration platforms
  • Access to online resources and information
  • Access to composer assistance
  • Coffee shop revenues
  • Restaurant revenues
  • Partial non-profit status tax benefits

Key Activities & Resources

  • Providing an online platform that allows consumers to communicate and connect with the company, instructors, and other members
  • Providing online resources and up to date information to consumers
  • Providing non-profit music resources and instruction to inner-city High School students
  • Providing physical location(s)  to include instruments, equipment, technology, relevant programs, food, and coffee
  • Providing personalized online music instruction to consumers
  • Providing a questionnaire to help new consumers determine their needs and custom-built membership packages

Key Partners

  • art instructors
  • art galleries
  • concert venues
  • recording studios
  • instrument rental companies
  • location lessor(s)
  • technology and program providers
  • web and online platform developers and designers
  • social media entities (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.)
  • inner city schools
  • security and entry systems company
  • online music instructors
  • CRM system providers
  • LLP funding for instructor fees and building of online platform and services
  • bank funding for physical location and equipment

Cost Structure

Blue Ocean strategy: eliminating high costs typically associated with the music services industry while creating superior value for customers in new ways.

Fixed costs

  • lease payments for physical location(s)
  • instrument and equipment repair and updates at physical location(s)
  • staff members to coordinate with inner-city schools, generate and maintain online resources and information, provide food and beverage services, manage the front desk, manage customer support at physical location(s), IT support
  • security and entry system
  • CRM system
  • equipment for food and beverage services
  • technology and relevant software programs

Variable costs

  • web developers and designers
  • in-kind benefits and discounts provided to external partners that provide value and benefits to our members
  • instructor fees for instruction provided plus equipment and training to provide high quality online instruction
  • food and beverage ingredients

Economies of scale

  • more membership payments cover fixed costs for lease payment(s), instrument and equipment repair and updates, security and entry system, CRM system, equipment for food and beverage services, and technology and relevant software programs
  • more members create greater bargaining strength when trading in-kind benefits and discounts with external partners
  • more members interested in instruction attract more skilled and committed instructors
  • more members purchasing food and beverages at physical location(s) can mean lower rates when purchasing bulk ingredients

Economies of scope

  • web development and design costs less when more services and benefits are combined into existing platforms and sites
  • more locations leads to more convenience leads to more demand and more opportunities to use the same marketing materials/approach in multiple geographic areas

Design Thinking & more w/ Keith Morgan


Define the problem:

Many people want to explore music by trying to pick up an instrument and learning. However, some do not know which instrument they should start with, or even if they’ll enjoy playing. If they don’t enjoy it, a long-term commitment can scare them away. Moreover, the burden of paying a large sum to purchase an instrument can rob children the chance to pickup a hobby that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Others still may not have the space required to learn the instrument of their dreams (piano, cello, drum set, etc).

Our group’s mission is to find a “blue ocean” territory in the music instruction and rental market in the Dallas, Texas area.

Consider many options:

A)        Allow customers to try instruments in store free of charge or offer a one week trial of subscription services

B)        Monthly subscription with multiple price points:
Price A would include: rent-to-own
Price B would include: rental, online services, tutor
Price C would include: rental, online services, tutor, buyback program,
Price D would include: rental, online services, tutor, buyback program, live lessons

C)        Physical location pricing vs. Online instruction online vs. Hybrid

D)        Allow musicians to come and go as they please; collaborate; offer them networks within the membership community.
E)        Rewards could be given to musicians for accomplishing tasks. Benchmarking musical successes, whether it is learning to read sheet music, or collaborating with a friend/peer could help less motivated learners stay on track.

Refine selected direction:

Musicians need as much creative freedom as possible.

Collaboration will help in online learning and it could add to the fun of in-person visits, too. Much like a gym membership, it is easier to stick with it if you have a partner (i.e. UMKC’s cohort system for the new MBA program)

Pick the winner:

I would love to include elements from each option in Anna’s business model, but I think the strongest idea is to provide different tiers of membership based on experience/willingness to learn/disposable income.


How might we improve online music instruction?

Collaboration opportunities
Jam Sessions
Group Assignments
Recitals with multiple musicians

Build a sense of community
Especially w/ social media and the online interface
Live chat rooms

Make practicing fun by creating “achievements”
Much like XBOX Live or Dave & Busters, kids should have some sort of prize for completing a set amount of achievements in a   given time period

Or Completely re-imagine how to attract new customers?

Instead of targeting schools, find new, untapped markets
Elderly, poverty stricken, special needs, etc.

Offer referral rewards to current customers

Do not pay for advertising: instead focus on social media & word of mouth

Or a new way to accomplish a higher customer engagement and retention rate?

Customer service
Individualized programs tailored to customer need
Offer feedback for how to improve the program
LISTEN to the feedback and implement changes!

Music Membership Concept and Design Thinking Methodology – Armstrong

  1. Define the problem: How to interest consumers in a music services membership which is different from traditional music services and unique to the market.
  2. Create/consider many options
  • emphasize similarities to services offered in other markets such as gym memberships, social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), and community organizations such as churches, community gardens, gyms, and intramural sports.
  • de-emphasize the perfectionist side of music learning and performance
  • emphasize a relaxed, low-pressure environments that are conducive to collaboration, sharing, teamwork, and creativity including jam sessions, experimentation with many instruments, optional instruction geared toward consumer goals and immediate needs, both open social areas and individual sound-proofed rooms, and easy-to-use technology that encourages learning and experimentation (recording equipment, computer programs, visual recording)
  • emphasize opportunities/benefits in related areas such as member pricing at professional recording studios, local concerts, online instrument rental, local art shows, local art lessons, local university concerts, and instrument repair services and relevant, up-to-date resources and information in company’s online platform

3. Refine selected direction


  • community
  • common purpose
  • low-pressure (jam sessions, try instruments, easy-to-use technology and programs)
  • individualized (personalized instruction option, different areas to suite different needs, consumer-created membership packages)

4. Pick the winner and execute


  • community (social platform and networking/collaboration) and individualization (personalized membership packages and different areas within physical location to suite different needs)

Spady’s Snarky Analysis: Design Thinking & Secret Phrase

Author: Anna Spady
Concept: All online music lesson/services platform, targeted to the 16-26 age bracket.

Design Thinking 

Step 1. Define the problem

Problem: While the music lesson market is fairly saturated, option are limited. An online-based venue would easily (and with little overhead) provide additional options, and service differentiation.

  • Steep $ per lesson and per monthly rentals
  • Locations are typically brick & mortar only
  • There is a lack of tailored/custom individual lesson or service  plan
  • Inability to “try before you buy” with an instrument and instructor
  • Requires a substantial amount of upfront commitment in choosing instrument, instructor, and location

Step 2. Create & Consider Many Options


*Based on an all-online platform

  • Trial/free offer for prospective students
  • Intake questionnaire that would establish needs and experience
  • Various type of packages tailored to interest level & skill
  • A one-stop shop all inclusive  service provider: lessons, downloads, video, & instruction
  • A modular provider: pay for lessons, videos, music, rentals separately according to needs. Rentals and service components  could be done in a Warby & Parker home try on style.  You select number of things you want to try/pay (e.g. downloads, instrument rental, online video instruction), those you like you keep and incorporate into a package plan that you pay for.

Step 3. Refine selected direction        

Essentially need trends one two ways:

A. All custom/tailored: each package is built from scratch for each customer

  • Pros: limitless customization, unique market differentiator, & higher chance of pleasing customer
  • Cons: lots of work for service provider, may be unsustainable

B. Determine overarching trend of needs and narrow into limited number of package options

  • Pros: Less overhead, less likelihood of catering to customer’s demanding whims
  • Cons: significant front-end research required to determine and successfully select which patterns of customer needs are most relevant and prevalent
  • Ex. I like how this organization focuses on their musicians personal needs, and how they have a variety of duration/priced lesson plans.

Step 3.5 Repeat  (optional)

Front-end Beta testing would probably be most efficient thing to do one way or another, before moving forward. Perhaps put option A & B into separate test programs, and then conduct customer-development interviews, and pricing pain points to determine which would be more successful.

Step 4. Pick the Winner & Execute

Said research should be done in any even, but my guess would be that option B. would be the most efficient, easiest to maintain, and most likely to succeed longterm.


Secret Phrase Top Innovators Use 

Step 1. How might we improve X

Begin with the question of how might we improve music lessons?

A. Conduct research with potential customers. Ask:

  • Magic wand: if they could change anything about music lessons, would it be. How much do they want to change X? Is it an irritation or a “migraine” problem?
  • Quick-Fixes: what are problems they frequently experience with music-lessons or learning music, and what creative ways do they get around it?
  • Boredom: ask the participant what most bores them about music lessons?

B. I think the most important thing that could be improved upon in standard music lessons is the engagement level.

C. Most people I know (including me) quit lesson and playing an instrument because:

  • They find lessons tedious or boring
  • Hate practicing
  • Aren’t motivated, or don’t seem improvements fast enough
  • Aren’t taught how to create with their instrument quick enough (i.e. taught sight-reading for too many years before they are introduced to chords).
  • Aren’t challenged  or engaged with other musicians

Step 2. Or completely re-imagine Y

Reinvent Music Lessons by Eliminating Boredom & Lack of Engagement:

Turn music lessons into a game. Gaming works because it’s engaging, it turns on a the problem-solving, challenged oriented parts of your brain.

So what if music-lesson were a game?

Several people/organizations are doing this already:

A. Iphone App 

B. Modified guitar hero

C. Video music lessons with digital keyboard 

Step 3. Or a new way to accomplish Z

What if we created an all-online service package (with different package types/levels), that addressed traditional components and needs (rentals, music sheets, instructor contact) but with the differentiator of being Game-Focused?



Notes/Research: Cool Music Innovations

1. Music Meets P.E. 

One school is combining P.E.  classes with music classes as well as, computer class with music.


“the school has also integrated their 1:1 laptop program into music class, where kids are writing beats and rhythms as well as creating podcasts and recordings.” 

2. Practice Smarter, not harder:

“Practicing mindlessly is a chore. We’ve all had well-meaning parents and teachers tell us to go home and practice a certain passage x number of times, or to practice x number of hours, right? But why are we measuring success in units of practice time? What we need are more specific results-oriented outcome goals – such as, practice this passage until it sounds like XYZ, or practice this passage until you can figure out how to make it sound like ABC.” Source.

Stephen O’Neill Business Model/Design Approach

Stephen O’Neill

On-line Music Services


Business Model Canvas


Key Partners

Music Instrument Manufacturers

School Systems

Non-profit Agencies

Music Teachers/Instructors


Key Activities/Resources

Music Instruments

Music Lessons

Sheet Music or Music Notes

On-line Instructional Videos

Skype or Video Chat Services

Meeting place for students or folks wanting to play music together

Broker for music services


Value Proposition

Potentially cheaper than bricks and mortar store

Easier to access for customer, who can access from anywhere

People from all over can access services and interface with each other

Low overhead for owner

Perhaps folks can take lessons or chat with instructor at any time

Mail or ship instruments


Customer Relationship Channels

Via Internet

Face to face via web chat


Opportunity for in-person lessons

Meet ups for customers


Customer Segments

Students (k-12)

Adults wanting to learn instrument

Music Instructors/teachers wanting to offer services


Cost Structure

Could be a flat monthly fee

Per period of time rental fee for instruments

Per session charge for lesson

Broker fee for instructors/teachers


Revenue Streams



Instrument Rental

Other Music Services


Design Thinking


Define the Problem

Brick and mortar music service business may not be meeting the needs of all customers. The Internet provides a unique medium to interface with customers and create a product.

Create/Consider Many Options

Online Music Rental

Online Music Lessons

Rental combined with Lessons

Customer mingling spots or ways for customers to interface

Portal or broker system for musicians to offer lessons to customers

Band formation utility, meet-ups for music

Instrument repair

Instrument sale


Refine the options

I think lots of possibilities exist by combining the above elements into a comprehensive package. I really think that the idea of allowing musicians to connect, mingle or even form bands is really cool. I also like the idea of the website being a platform for musicians to teach lessons or market lessons. It would be pretty easy to integrate music instrument rental into this website. Therefore, a person could sign up for lessons, rent an instrument, have it mailed to them and then even take lessons via some sort of video chat service from the same site. In the Dallas area, it is also possible that lessons could still be brokered for face-to-face interactions.

What I think would be even more interesting is to combine this idea, with the idea of the “music gym” or “club” that was discussed in previous posts. What could happen is a seamless integration of the online services with the location that would immerse users in a “club” or “gym” like experience. It would be a location that could facilitate the networking or relationships that were created online.

Execute the Idea

 See above.

Spady’s Sassy All-Online Approach

Concept: Music Lesson/Service that is entirely online

 Main Problem/Risks: Sound quality/ video quality

 Main Differentiators: Tailored music package based on an intake/questionnaire

1. Establish how they learn:

  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Or kinesthetic learners

 2. Determine what they want to learn

  • Type of instrument
  •  Do they want to learn sight-reading, or music theory/chords (both?)
  • What type of music do they like/will they want to play?

3. What are they most looking for, from the product?

  • Support: someone to ask questions/get help from?
  • Opportunities to play/jam/collaborate/preform?
  • Resources: free music downloads, chord cheat sheets, etc.
  • Inspiration: seeing the most creative/cool things that other people are doing with their music? Mashups, cool videos, etc.

 4. What level of a program do they want?

  • How much are they looking for? Resources and lessons, one or the other?
  • What are they willing to pay?

Determine their level of experience and training:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Ideal Client

  • Are looking for flexible music service
  • Are Tech-Savy
  • Most likely older teenager/young adult range: 16-26


  • Customizable
  • Flexible
  •  No transportation needed


Dragon Fly Effect Approach

1. Focus on one goal

  • Make music lessons FUN & ENGAGING
  • Human behavior dictates that if it’s fun, we will be very likely to do it again. Period.

2. Grab Attention

  • Use social media to promote people who are using the service in fun and creative ways
  • Make it a competition, make it a point of pride
  • Use music for something good and meaningful: flashmob preformances at nursing homes, in pediatric hospitals, etc. Something meaningful, that matters.

3. Methods to engage others

  • Begin with pain points: use social media for customer development, search by hashtags (e.g. #I hate music lessons, #music lessons, #music problems).
  • Begin a music community conversation: identify early social media evangelists, as well as the pain point themes
  • Once we know what the pain points are, we can overcome the barriers to fun & easy.

 4. Empower others:

  • Enlist mentors to be part of the service: either paid or voluntarily as a legacy
  • Give away product to key influences- make them brand evangelists
  • Give users discounts for every person they refer to the program
  • Offer obvious platforms to clients to share their skills: make their own tutorials, feature their best mashups, best performances sessions, etc.


Thinking Inside the Box Approach

  1. Remove seemingly essential elements
  • What if this wasn’t a music service? But a music-practice motivator?
  • Music lessons meets computer/video game? To open the gate, you have to play a complicated riff?The goal is to show the direct consequences of actions- make it like a reward system, or “leveling up,” in order to motivate people to practice.

2. Bring together unrelated tasks or functions

  • Create a music “pedometer.” Something like the app Runkeeper: tracks how long/far you’ve gone. Something that would track duration of practice, number of notes/chords played?

3. Copy a component and then alter it

  • Incorporate dreaded practice tasks such as using a metronome into the game. The metronome becomes a kind of music tight rope the character must walk. Similar to guitar hero.

 4.  Separate the components of a product or service & rearrange 

  • As Anna Armstrong’s pointed out, typical music lessons are arranged something like:
  • 1. Choose instrument, 2. Lesson, 3. Practice, 4. Preform, etc.
  • But what if lessons were less like a corporate ladder to be climbed, or hoops to be jumped through? And instead was more like sales or capitalism?
  • Ends justifies means. Deliverables = rewards.
  • Meaning “leveling up,” doesn’t happen according to a rigid linear timeframe, but simply: results (musical improvement/achievement)= rewards?

5. Make the attributes of a product change in response to changes in another attribute in the surrounding environment.

  • Based on the number of practice you record on your “pedometer,” your ability to stay in beat with the metronome, your video game powers/skills/ increases. Your teacher/supervisor gives you additional power/access based on your improvements.
  • Similar to Armstrong’s idea: “when a student reaches a new progress level, the student can view on the online collaborative platform new/more people at the newly achieved level with whom the student can collaborate.”



Working through the service design process using a variety of design methodologies