Guitarist Steve Stine lives in North Dakota, but he teaches guitar lessons to students all over the world—all thanks to LessonFace, an online music education platform founded by Claire Cunningham MBA '09. Cunningham already worked in the online education field when she first heard about musicians using Skype as a tool to teach their craft, and she saw an opportunity to provide teachers with a platform.
"I did some research and saw that the technology was there," Cunningham told Slice. "It was becoming very consumer-friendly and mainstream to video conference at a high-quality level." She left her job to found LessonFace in January of 2012; by September of that same year, she launched the website. Six weeks ago, LessonFace expanded to include classes designed specifically for young children.
Cunningham's company emphasizes the importance of real-time, one-on-one interactions between teacher and student. "We believe that is the thing that we’re really doing differently from YouTube videos or other prerecorded content," says Cunningham. "As excellent as [prerecorded content] may be, it doesn't have the live teacher-student interaction that you’d get from a classroom or any other live expert tutorial."
Teachers on LessonFace hail from all over the world, and so do the students. That's part of what makes LessonFace work so well, says Cunningham. "Traditionally, music lessons happen between 3-6 or 3-7 p.m. in whatever time zone you’re in. The best teachers get booked up between those hours. So, being able to access people in other time zones opens up the schedule a lot more."
LessonFace also offers group classes, which "allow people to try it out without the intensity of the one-on-one mentorship model. They’re a little bit less expensive," Cunningham explains.
Want to take a LessonFace class? Enter the offer code "gtr101" at check-out to receive $20 off of any lesson, such as Steve Stine's four-week, introductory guitar group class starting on November 16. Want to become a LessonFace music teacher? Read the approval guidelines to make sure you qualify, then fill out an application.