Walking into our school to setup our Kaizen Piano Class at 7AM yesterday and seeing 7 kids already practicing on their sight-reading books made me think about how far we’ve come as a piano education company.
I quit my career as a concert pianist after my last tour in 2014 and had this crazy idea that piano education could be “fixed”. Traveling from city to city I’d meet people and when they chat with me on planes, hotels or random interactions, it would always be the same story.
“Wow so you’re a concert pianist? Yeah I tried to learn piano when I was young, but never wanted to practice so my mom didn’t push me to continue.” -said by people I met everywhere
…or the other very common chat I’d hear from people:
“Yeah piano is awesome, but my nephew just quit because he didn’t enjoy it.”
Hearing this would just kill me, because I didn’t really understand why this was happening. But I couldn’t do anything about it since I had to focus on my career as a solo pianist.
But in 2014 after finishing my 6 month tour I realized that I didn’t want to shift into a 9 month touring season and wanted to move to Silicon Valley or Boston.
Maybe I could start a company that would figure out why everyone fails at piano…🤔
So I did that.
I moved out to San Jose, California. I got a job teaching at a school that was antiquated in it’s thinking and approach. I learned from all the mistakes that they make and I designed a teaching system that is flexible enough, powerful enough and interesting enough, that most kids could succeed.
Of course I couldn’t do this alone. I was lucky enough to find my co-founder Phong early on and the back and forth mental tennis matches allowed us to iterate at a pace unmatched.
We found the 3 main reasons why the majority of piano students fail and built our methodology around these pillars.
And here we are now, month four of our school is starting. Oclef School. We began as a person hoping to solve a problem, then two people building an education software company, then we opened a media company and now we design schools. I guess you can say were a piano education company, but I also see us as a child development company.
Walking into Kaizen Piano Class at 7AM and seeing 7 kids practicing and motivated to work on their sight reading and learning says a lot about how we’re succeeding at developing these children. But this is just the start.
The tortoise always wins,