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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s