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Creating an online music tutorial platform- Grasp Music

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by Startacus Admin

GRASP MUSIC – Self InterviewGrasp Music

We’ve been to a lot of entrepreneurial and business events recently, and throughout all of these we have heard a great many talented speakers, sharing their startup experiences. Although it may sound like something of a cliché, one of the sentiments which has stuck with us the most is this; passion creates startup success.  

Of course these are not all that you need, but they form an excellent starting point, and are qualities which Darren Milligan, founder of music tutorial platform ‘Grasp Music’ has in abundance!  

We caught up with Darren to hear more about his exciting new venture!

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I started learning to play the highland bagpipes when I was 11 ( I know some people may see this as some kind of torture!) and was told after 6 months, by my first tutor, that I would never make a piper! Well, I had to prove him wrong, and by the time I had reached 6th form in school I had won several championships, and earned a place on Newcastle University's’ Traditional Music Degree where only 25 out of 400 applicants are awarded a place each year from right across Europe. I was the first piper to be accepted! So, that showed my first teacher!

I had played right across Europe and the US with different groups and then began teaching  traditional music in schools, but what interested me were the parents who kept saying that they’d always wanted to learn to play an instrument, but now felt that they were too old to learn, or too embarrassed to go for lessons.

Then the light bulb came on which would lead to Grasp Music!

Grasp MusicWhere did the idea came from?

Grasp Music was an idea I came across when I saw myself and my musical friends graduate with music degrees, and then enter the real world.  Ok, so we were all doing a few gigs and we were on the odd tour, but unlike most industries, in music there are many times when there isn’t a steady sustainable income. Many of us relied on teaching, as this brought a little extra stability, however there were still times when we had nothing to do. So, after seeing the online info for teaching other subjects like English and Maths, and how popular that was in China and so forth, we identified an opportunity - an opening for online music tuition from some of the best and most qualified tutors.

We believe that everyone is musical in some way as your heart beats in a rhythm, and people just need that bit of extra guidance to unleash that hidden talent!

Why are you taking this difficult journey?

I have seen and experienced so many musicians get ripped-off by the bigger corporates who take a major percentage of musicians fees, not considering that musicians have to make a living too. Too many good musicians are also in the queue of the Job Centre claiming benefits that they wish they didn't have to, or working somewhere that has nothing to do with music; wasting the great talent that they have.

I want to get musicians a steady income, and help them to put their talents to use!

What progress have you made so far?Grasp Music

As this is my first real startup, I am still finding my feet, trying to put the online knowledge I have to good use, but could always do with a helping hand! We have secured the domain and have started working on the website, however I feel that I may need the assistance of a programmer’s help for setting up schedules etc. for tutors.

What problems are you facing?

YouTube! There are many free tuition videos out there, a lot of which are very questionable. We guarantee that all of our tutors are of a high calibre, and well experienced / qualified to teach. YouTube videos don’t offer that personalized service, where you can speak with the tutor and ask questions during the lesson.

What are your long-term goals?

My long-term goal is to have Grasp music as one of the leading websites for teaching musical instruments, with high recommendations and many satisfied new musicians!  I would like to become established, with a few staff members joining the team to help us make it to the top!  I see many musicians bombarding us with emails to offer their tuition services. I would also like to offer special lessons with musical superstars. Then maybe buy a bottle of champagne!

How can we, or any of our community lend a hand?

We would love someone to help mentor and give us some guidance on our website and if we are doing things correctly in terms of design. Also we would love to work with some programmers to help with the scheduling, payment etc for the tutors. To be honest I would love any critical advice, because we’re never perfect!

Go on, and grasp the music – Darren Milligan!

If you reckon you can offer any assistance to Darren, please feel free to get in touch with him via his Startacus member profile!

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Published on: 1st July 2015

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