TakeLessons Wins San Diego Venture Group’s 2010 PitchFest Competition

Photo courtesy of Jodi Cilley - VideologiCoWe are pleased to announce that TakeLessons has been named the 2010 winner of San Diego Venture Group’s annual PitchFest Business Plan Competition, beating out two other finalists to secure a $20,000 prize and recognition as one of the most promising startup companies in San Diego. Now in its 11th year, PitchFest serves to bring Southern California’s most promising young technology and life-science companies to the forefront.

TakeLessons was one of three finalists who presented at the competition on December 2, 2010 along with Aonori Aquafarms, Inc. and CortiCare. An audience of 300+ attendees then voted for the company they felt had the most promising business plan and vision to win the $20,000 prize.

“It is truly an honor to receive this prestigious award and be part of the flourishing San Diego startup community” said TakeLessons CEO Steven Cox, who delivered the final presentation.

Since its inception in 2000, hundreds of companies have applied to participate in the annual PitchFest competition.  This year alone, over 70 companies applied and a selection committee comprised of local business leaders chose 11 semifinalists. Criteria for advancement included articulation of plan, fundability of concept and demonstration of company momentum.

Each application was reviewed and ranked by at least 8 selection committee members. On November 10, 2010, a panel of judges from such well known companies as Anthem, Avalon, Tech Coast Angels and Winward heard the presentations of those semifinalists and selected the three finalists, including TakeLessons.

Founded in 1986, the San Diego Venture Group is a non-profit business organization whose mission is to provide an informal atmosphere for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business advisors to meet and foster ideas on how to form, fund and build new ventures.

Here are a few more pictures from our big night!

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Steven delivers his presentation

IMG_0133 Photo courtesy of Jodi Cilley, VideologiCo

Final slide of the TakeLessons presentation asking for participants’ votes

IMG_0187 Photo courtesy of Jodi Cilley, VideologiCo

Steven poses with Peter Shaw, Managing Director of Procopio Business Advisors and SDVG Board Member

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TakeLessons takes home first prize and a giant check!

Photos 1, 3 and 4 courtesy of Jodi Cilley, VideologiCo

TakeLessons and Learning Care Group Announce Plans to Open 75 Lesson Centers This Fall

TakeLessons Learning Care GroupExciting things have been happening at TakeLessons for several months now, and yesterday we finally revealed some big news that marks the beginning of a brand new venture for us – the expansion of our music lesson programs to designated Lesson Centers!

We are pleased to announce that beginning this fall, TakeLessons and Learning Care Group, Inc., the second largest for-profit early education and child care provider in North America, will be partnering together to offer music lessons to children ages 5-12 at select schools within the Learning Care Group umbrella of brands, including The Children’s Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy and Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Centers.

With this partnership, TakeLessons will offer private, one-on-one lessons on site at over 75 Learning Care Group schools in major cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The program launches on September 1, 2010, with plans to expand to additional markets in the near future.

Students will have the option to choose from guitar, piano or voice lessons, which will be conducted in a designated area within each participating Lesson Center location. As an added benefit, students and other family members age 5 – adult have the opportunity to take in-home lessons through the program as well.

Each lesson is 30 minutes in length and provides the student with one-on-one personalized instruction at a pace that complements their overall learning ability.  All of our Lesson Center teachers are TakeLessons Certified™, and must meet our rigorous hiring standards and pass a background check before they are accepted into the program.

Numerous studies have shown the direct correlation between playing music and increased brain development and academic achievement.  Many children experience additional benefits from taking music lessons, such as improved memorization skills, enhanced motor skills, and increased self confidence.  This program will provide Learning Care Group students with the opportunity to start building these valuable skills at a young age, which will continue to impact them throughout their lives.

More information about the each school’s music program can be found on the following sites:

TakeLessons at Children’s Courtyard
TakeLessons at Childtime
TakeLessons at La Petite Academy
TakeLessons at Tutor Time

United Breaks Guitars, and we support Dave Carroll and the band

TakeLessons would like to share the YouTube video of “United Breaks Guitars,” musician Dave Carroll’s musical assertion that a United Airlines baggage handler damaged his Taylor Guitar tossing it around at Chicago O’Hare.

In his song, Carroll says another passenger saw Carroll’s guitar being tossed by a United employee. When the airplane arrived in Nebraska, Carroll discovered that the guitar had been broken.

United declined to do anything for Carroll, but that was before his song became a YouTube hit, with nearly 600,000 hits by this afternoon after posting it this past Monday, July 6th.

Now, Julie Johnsson of the Chicago Tribune reports, United may be singing a different tune:

“This struck a chord with us,” said Robin Urbanski, spokeswoman for Chicago-based United. “We are in conversation with one another to make what happened right.”

We transcribed the lyrics to “United Breaks Guitars,” by Dave Carroll and his fellow band members, Sons of Maxwell:

I flew United Airlines
On my way to Nebraska
The plane departed Halifax
Connecting in Chicago’s O’Hare.

While on the ground the passenger
Said from the seat behind me,
“My God, they’re throwing guitars out there!”

The Band and I exchanged a look
Best described as terror,
At the action on the tarmac
And knowing whose projectiles
These would be.

So before I left Chicago,
I alerted three employees,
Who showed complete indifference towards me.

United, United,
You broke my Taylor Guitar.
United, United,
Some big help you are.

You broke it, you should fix it.
You’re liable, just admit it.
I should have flown with someone else
Or gone by car,
Cuz United Breaks Guitars.

When we landed in Nebraska,
I confirmed what I’d suspected:
My Taylor’d been the victim
Of a vicious act of malice at O’Hare.

And so began a year-long saga
Of pass the buck, “Don’t ask me,”
And “I’m sorry sir, your claim can go nowhere.”

So to all the Airline’s people
From New York to New Delhi,
Including kind Miss Irlweg
Who says the final word from them is “No.”

I’ve heard all your excuses
And I’ve chased your wild gooses,
And this attitude of yours I say must go.

United, United,
You broke my Taylor Guitar.
United, United,
Some big help you are.

You broke it, you should fix it.
You’re liable, just admit it.
I should have flown with someone else
Or gone by car,
Cuz United Breaks Guitars.

Well I won’t say that I’ll never fly
With you again cuz maybe
To save the world I probably would
But that won’t likely happen.

And if it did, I wouldn’t bring my luggage,
Cuz you’d just got and break it
Into a thousand pieces
Just like you broke my heart.
When United breaks guitars.

United, United,
You broke my Taylor Guitar.
United, United,
Some big help you are.

You broke it, you should fix it.
You’re liable, just admit it.
I should have flown with someone else
Or gone by car,
Cuz United Breaks Guitars.

Yeah, United breaks guitars.
Yeah, United breaks guitars. – Sons of Maxwell

Here’s the short version of the story from Carroll’s Web site, davecarrollmusic.com:

In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to
Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being
thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered
later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the
experience occurred but for nine months the various people I
communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on
everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing
to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally
say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce
three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos
for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is
the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video
production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.

We at TakeLessons find this behavior by United unacceptable and wanted to respond to Dave’s video in our own way. Here is our response as Steven takes a stand:

We support you, Dave!

 

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

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TakeLessons featured in San Diego Union Tribune Sunday Edition

Read the story form the San Diego Union Tribune on how young web start-ups are doing to survive and flourish during the recession. TakeLessons was a featured company.

Steven Cox of TakeLessons.com

"The company started working out of Cox's house. It now has offices,
but not the $700 Aeron chairs that typified the excesses of the first
dot-com wave.


“Our plan is to preserve cash,” Cox said. “We work at tables that cost $20 at Staples.”


Cox said his business is growing, but he suspects growth would be faster in a better economy.

"Anyone who says they're not affected by the recession has their head in the sand," Cox said. "But if you're agile, quick, and can preserve cash, there can be advantages."


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TakeLessons Teams up with Kevin Bacon, NAMM, and MTNA for Wanna Play Music Week

TakeLessons is powering the NAMM‘s Wanna Play Music Lesson Locator. This free “Find Music Lessons Near You” search tool at www.wannaplaymusic.com,
features one of the most comprehensive databases of music teachers on
the Web from NAMM’s network of Member stores, the Music Teachers
National Association
(MTNA) and TakeLessons. This easy-to-use tool helps people who are interested in
learning to play music to easily find a qualified music teacher in
their neighborhood by simply entering their zip code or city
information.

Here is the full release from our friends at NAMM.

Celebrities Rally with Kids in Nationwide Effort to
Promote Music Making as NAMM Wraps Up Second Annual National Wanna Play
Music Week

National
Survey Shows 85 percent of Americans Wanna Play Music, as Thousands of
Aspiring Musicians Flock to ‘Wanna Play Music’ Web site


We wanted to show our support for what NAMM and others are doing to help encourage people to get out and play music


Music
is obviously a huge part of our lives. Playing a musical instrument can
help drive a passion that can last a lifetime and play an integral part
in maintaining a healthy mind and body.


The
tremendous response to National Wanna Play Music Week, the popularity
of our music-making tools, and the support from so many notable music
makers reinforces our belief in the power of music making




Find Music Lessons Near You

 

Carlsbad, Calif. (PRWEB)
May 8, 2009 — NAMM, the 108-year-old, not-for-profit association of
the international music products industry, concluded its annual
National Wanna Play Music Week today, after a monumental period of
music making that drew the participation of stars, such as Kevin Bacon
and Yoko Ono. With the goal to build awareness of the proven benefits
of playing musical instruments for people of all ages, NAMM executed
the week-long series of events to encourage the music maker in every
American.

Kevin Bacon, left with brother Michael Bacon, right and Yoko Ono, center, joined students from LaGuardia High School in New York, May 4, 2009, to kick Wanna Play Music Week which runs from May 4th-8th. The program aims to build awareness for the benefits of playing music.
Kevin
Bacon, left with brother Michael Bacon, right and Yoko Ono, center,
joined students from LaGuardia High School in New York, May 4, 2009, to
kick Wanna Play Music Week which runs from May 4th-8th. The program
aims to build awareness for the benefits of playing music.

Music Week Launch with The Bacon Brothers, Yoko Ono and the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” House Band.

NAMM kicked off the week with “Music Monday,” a five-year tradition
started by the Canadian-based Coalition for Music Education that
encourages musicians, music organizations, school bands and music
lovers everywhere to play music at the same time to demonstrate the
galvanizing power of making music. During NAMM’s second year
participating in “Music Monday,” more 2,000 schools and organizations
rallied across North America to simultaneously play music together with
celebrity musicians participating in the effort on both coasts.

In New York, The Bacon Brothers, featuring acclaimed actor Kevin
Bacon and his brother, award-winning film and TV composer Michael
Bacon, helped to launch National Wanna Play Music Week in the U.S., and
appeared nationally on “Fox & Friends,” on behalf of NAMM. On Music
Monday, The Bacon Brothers performed before a crowd of students at the
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing
Arts, promoting music in schools, along with Yoko Ono and the John
Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

“We wanted to show our support for what NAMM and others are doing to
help encourage people to get out and play music,” said Kevin Bacon.
“Music is obviously a huge part of our lives. Playing a musical
instrument can help drive a passion that can last a lifetime and play
an integral part in maintaining a healthy mind and body.”

In Los Angeles, late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” lent the
talents of its house band, Cleto & the Cletones, toward the effort
of making music. Bandleader Cleto Escobedo III and lead guitarist Toshi
Yanagi performed music with a band class at Nightingale Middle School
in Los Angeles. Students were later treated to a private jam session
with Cleto & the Cletones, visiting the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
and hanging out with the entire band and Jimmy Kimmel himself.

“The tremendous response to National Wanna Play Music Week, the
popularity of our music-making tools, and the support from so many
notable music makers reinforces our belief in the power of music
making,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM’s president and CEO. “NAMM is
consistently seeking out new ways to connect people with the enjoyment
and proven benefits of playing music and creating simple ways for
anyone to get involved. It’s never too late to learn to play a musical
instrument, whether you are five or 85. Even beyond NAMM’s National
Wanna Play Music Week, any time is a great time to give music making a
try.”

TakeLessons team members Drew Davies and Steven Cox at the NAMM Show.Tools to Make Music Making Easy

According to the recent “2009 Public Attitudes Toward Music” Gallup
survey *, 85 percent of Americans wish they could play music. In
response to that desire, NAMM created several user-friendly services
and tools aimed to help anyone begin to play music. With the goal of
educating consumers on the benefits of playing music and empowering
them to easily find quality music instructors, NAMM also has developed
a variety of tools, which were unveiled during National Wanna Play
Music Week, including:

  • Music Lesson Locator – This free “Find Music Lessons Near You” search tool at www.wannaplaymusic.com,
    features one of the most comprehensive databases of music educators on
    the Web from NAMM’s network of Member stores, the Music Teachers
    National Association (MTNA) and TakeLessons.com, a nationwide provider
    of lessons. This easy-to-use tool helps people who are interested in
    learning to play music to easily find a qualified music teacher in
    their neighborhood by simply entering their zip code or city
    information.
  • So
    You Wanna Play Music? Hotline – As an additional resource for National
    Wanna Play Music Week, a special hotline was established to help
    connect people curious about playing music with a NAMM representative
    to ask any questions they may have about ways to get started, how to
    select the best instrument, and how to overcome the most common
    challenges.
  • Wanna
    Play? Film Contest – NAMM reached out to more than 500,000 music and
    film enthusiasts, asking them to participate in its short film contest,
    highlighting the positive aspects of making music. Working with
    OurStage, an online community site for filmmakers, submissions will be
    accepted throughout May with the short film winner receiving $5,000
    cash, a MacBook Pro, various computer software for video and audio
    editing, and a trip to the Summer NAMM show in Nashville, Tenn. for a
    world premiere of his or her film.
  • Music Making Resources – The www.wannaplaymusic.com
    Web site also featured daily themes that help to educate and build
    awareness around making music, and highlighted important trends, tools
    and news in the world of music.

National Wanna Play Music Week is part of the association’s ongoing
Wanna Play? public awareness campaign, which recognizes the vital role
that music and music education play in people’s lives, and how
recreational music making can directly impact the health and social
well being of people in all stages of life.
About NAMM
The National Association of Music Merchants, commonly
called NAMM in reference to the organization’s popular NAMM trade
shows, is the not-for-profit association that unifies, leads and
strengthens the $17 billion global musical instruments and products
industry. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music
making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of more than 9,000
Member companies. For more information about NAMM, interested parties
can visit www.namm.org or call 800-767-NAMM (6266).

*According to the April 2009 Gallup Poll entitled “2009 Public Attitudes Toward Music”

TakeLessons CEO Speaking at Social Media Conference

Do you run a business? Interested in how to use social media to grow your clientele and grow stronger – even in these economic times?

Plan on attending the “Using Social Media Successfully” conference on Saturday, April 11 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at San Diego State University. Our CEO, Steven Cox, will be speaking on using Facebook advertising to attract the right customers. Here are a few details:

Aaa

 

We are excited to have you attend the San Diego social media workshop hosted by Artistic Hub.
We have spent a lot of time creating a great agenda and lining up
amazing speakers to teach you how to effectively harness social media
both personally and professionally.


We believe 2 things:

1. There are a lot of tools out there, but only a few necessary ones to get the biggest results
2. Success with social media is directly related to the idea of Social Capital

Our
workshop is going to focus on these two things and give you tools you
need to be successful. You will leave today with a new or improved
blog, an impressive LinkedIn account, an understanding of Facebook ads,
your own social community on Ning, an e-commerce store on Zazzle, and
the knowledge to harness Twitter effectively.

Who should attend:

  • Small business owners who want to leverage social media to attract customers
  • Students looking to use social media in business or to start a business
  • Professionals who want to use social media to monitor their competitors, attract customers, or increase their social capital

Our
number one goal is for you to walk away with the skills to improve your
business or success as a professional or student through social media
with the ability to implement these immediately.