Forbes writer Gary Drenik recently interviewed Chief Marketing Officer, Elliot Baldini, on how School of Rock pivoted and innovated during 2020 to ensure music education was still accessible to its students and continues to be in the ever-changing atmosphere.
Gary Drenik: School of Rock’s audience was primarily engaged through in-person lessons and events before Covid-19 with the highest level of enrollment in the organization’s history. Can you tell me how School of Rock shifted its operations to keep the company on its growth path?
Elliot Baldini: That’s correct. Our approach to music education revolves around the notion of performance. We believe that students are inspired by their favorite artists—whether seeing them on stage or listening to their records—and have aspirations to play similar styles of music. Our curriculum uses classic songs as the foundation for teaching students musical concepts and techniques. For example, we may teach students how to play a classic rock guitar solo, and then use it to introduce scales and mechanics. We also have support tools such as our proprietary line of music lesson books and an integrated learning app. This patented pedagogy is what we call The School of Rock Method™.
While Covid-19 limited our ability to bring students together in person, we realized our Method could be delivered remotely. The elements and principles could be modified for online learning. We transitioned our 40,000 students to virtual instruction. Weekly in-person, one-on-one instruction shifted to weekly one-on-one virtual lessons. Live in-person performances changed to online collaboration between bandmates to record and produce music. We even developed a technology that allows our students to rehearse and perform together online simultaneously. Within several weeks, we were delivering thousands of online lessons each day around the world.