During remote learning last spring, many parents were just trying to survive the day-to-day challenges, but as Geoff Moody, of Dunbarton, helped his then third-grade son with school, he also saw a business opportunity.
“I realized that music in particular was severely impacted by this because it’s more of an in-person subject,” said Moody, who has worked in both higher education consulting and music production. He realized that schools needed a solution to keep music education alive during this period of non-traditional schooling, and he believed that his background gave him some insight into what would work.
“It needed to be something that would fill the gap that would exist in the future of music education,” he said.
Moody founded Push The Sound, a business that provides a music education curriculum that can be delivered entirely remotely. Students work with music professionals and collaborate on projects to give them a greater understanding of music production while also meeting national competency standards for music education.
Push The Sound, which targets kids ages 10-18, is available to individual self-pay students, but the main focus of the business is on licensing the curriculum to school districts to make music education easy and accessible even during remote learning.
“Scaling in this way provides us with more of a long-term business model rather than targeting the next enrollment cycle,” Moody said.
Moody hopes that the business will become more than just a way to deliver music education during remote learning. He believes that Push The Sound can help address inequities in musical education. He even considered starting Push The Sound as a non-profit. While that wasn’t a fit for his goals, he is interested in becoming a benefit corporation (B-Corp). These businesses have their mission written into their bylaws as part of their stated purpose, in addition to the purpose of generating profit.
“Music education, now and traditionally, focuses on those who have — have enough money to rent an instrument, have a budget for a proper music program, have a school that can afford to buy instruments,” he said. “What I realized is in music production, there is an approach where everyone can get amazing music education, no matter their background or financial resources.”
Moody made sure that Push The Sound meets the national standards for music education, so that students who complete the program develop the competencies needed for course credit. At the same time, he focused on making the program accessible. Any student with a laptop and a pair of headphones can complete the program, he said.
“It builds educational equity and inclusiveness,” Moody said. Even kids who don’t read or write music or know anything about music theory can learn about music production with the program, he said. “This is kind of bringing it to all students who are interested in music. This might be a program for a student who always looked in the music door, but felt it was too late for them because they didn’t play an instrument.”
Launching an entirely new business during a pandemic and economic slowdown is challenging. Moody said he often worked 16 hour days, and he doesn’t expect to be turning a profit for a while. But he is heartened to see that school districts are interested. This year a handful of New Hampshire school districts including Concord and Bow will offer Push The Sound. Moody is working with the districts during the first year to provide the program even if they can’t pay.
“It was really important to make sure we got it into schools this year, regardless of whether they have the budget or not,” said Moody, who also sits on the school board of SAU 67 (covering Bow and Dunbarton) and thus knows how fickle school budgeting can be. “We’re confident in the program, and feel it will work for us just fine.”
This story is part of the 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series, shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative, that aims to highlight how business leaders across the state, from mom and pop shops, to large corporations have adapted to meet the challenges and disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus in the hopes others may be able to replicate these ideas and innovations. Tell us your story here. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.