A prodigy amongst its competitors, Bach to Rock is an innovative and fun children’s musical franchise concept that’s on the road to major success. I spoke to Ralph Rillion, Bach to Rock’s VP of Development & Sales about the franchise’s history, its future, what it’s like to be a franchisee and what makes it such a rockin’ concept. Article first published as Bach to Rock: A Prodigy Amongst Children’s Franchises on Technorati.
Bach to Rock
In the two months that Bach to Rock has been franchising, it’s earned awards and attention that even the most established of franchise concepts would covet. Inc magazine named Bach to Rock one of the Top 10 Franchises of 2010 and the Washington Business Journal named it one of the Fastest Growing Companies to Watch for 2012. It’s clear that the children’s franchise is rockin’ its way to the top.
History of the Concept
The origins of Bach to Rock lie, as with most things, in the recognition of something missing. A Juilliard-trained middle school music teacher realized the music curriculum was, frankly, lacking in his Washington D.C. classroom. So, he created his own.
Instead of just playing scales by themselves, he put his students in groups so they could ‘jam’ together and socialize. Instead of strictly classical music, he integrated popular music to make lessons more fun. Instead of teaching students just one way, he identified each students’ preferred learning method (audio, visual or kinesthetic) and customized his teaching approach accordingly. As a result, he created more engaged, happy young musicians and his curriculum spread to other public and private schools.
Better Test Scores For Kids, Jobs for Teachers and Musicians
The Juilliard-trained teacher eventually sold his method and curriculum to the creators of Bach to Rock, who have taken the concept to new heights. While the concept has been hailed as a roaring success, Bach to Rock is much more than just a career opportunity for franchisees.
As we’ve all heard, playing music has been linked with higher test scores and greater aptitude for science, math and reading subjects. We’ve also all heard that education budget constraints are leading to job cuts for many teachers and budget cuts for fine arts projects like band classes and school musicals. Opportunities for children and young adults to play music are less and less available in schools.
Bach 2 Rock offers a solution. Obviously, the children’s franchise offers music lessons, but it also provides jobs. Bach to Rock not only teaches music, but provides a place for music teachers– often the very same that the school system couldn’t afford to keep.
It’s no wonder Ralph Rillion, Bach to Rock’s vice president of development and sales and a “lifelong musician,” “fell in love with the concept.” According to Rillion, the teachers at each of Bach to Rock’s franchise locations are “musicians by trade at some point or another, hobbyists or music teachers.”
Bring Me a Beat! Kids, Parents and Bach to Rock
As a parent (Rillion has a 13-year old son who’s a stand up bass player), Rillion says kids will let you know they have an interest in music. “They’ll be beating everything around the house,” says Rillion, a percussionist himself for 40 years. You can bet Rillion’s son will be a Bach to Rocker as soon as there’s a location near their home.
“There’s only so much a school can do, parents or private lessons can do,” says Rillion. While personal one-on-one attention is definitely part of Bach to Rock’s curriculum, it’s the emphasis on “group jam sessions” amongst similarly skilled young musicians that parents and students love. Kids enjoy their music lessons, which means they learn more, something parents are quick to applaud.
In addition, young musicians learn to become comfortable in a performance setting– something that builds confidence now and will be important in the board room later.
“Twice a year our Bach to Rock bands perform at the 930 Club [in Washington D.C.],” says Ralph Rillion. “Parents get to see their kids perform on a national and regional stage.”
Rillion adds that, “Not everyone is comfortable going on stage. It’s different under the lights.” Bach to Rock students can experience the stage without the fright next to their cohorts and with their teachers and parents in the the audience.
Behind the Music– Being a Franchisee
Bach to Rock franchisees aren’t called franchisees– they’re fittingly called directors. Directors are responsible for the hiring of music teachers, the day-to-day business management and scheduling of lessons and special events. Rillion says an ideal Bach to Rock director “has a business background, can run a business and, of course, loves music.”
Retail space in shopping centers are coveted for Bach to Rockers as the best locations to create a comfortable environment to accommodate 6-to-18 year olds. “We’re currently expanding from New Jersey to North Carolina,” says Rillion, “though if the right candidate came along we’d consider a different area.”
The children’s music franchise currently has 9 locations, 6 of which are company-owned. “The business is growing and its franchisees are successful,” says Rillion. “We provide ongoing training to our franchisees on everything: sales, operations and curriculum, our three key components for success.”
The biggest reward for Rillion, along with the Bach to Rock franchisees is “watching kids learn and enjoying learning to play music,” he says.
Interested in becoming a Bach to Rock franchisee? Franchise Clique can help!