Spotlight: Forbes MC – Technology & Music Education

MediaTech Ventures is proud to feature Curtis Forbes and his company, Forbes Music Company.  Forbes Music Company is an excellent example of what media and technology together can create.  FMC has taken a fragmented industry and turned it into a market with extremely high client satisfaction and excellence in service and education.

Connection Through Technology – What is it?

“If music be the food of love, play on.” – William Shakespeare

Forbes Music Company is a concierge service for matching and building relationships between private music teachers and students seeking musical tutors.  FMC has taken a fragmented and lonely industry and turned it into one that has strong reputations and relationships at its core.

Forbes Music Company Logo

The private music tutoring lifestyle can be lonely. Most private music tutors don’t have co-workers or groups to meet up at. Many don’t have an office. In addition to this, there aren’t any degrees in private musical tutoring and frankly – no one is there to teach private music teachers how to excel. Many private music tutors are left alone with just their passion.

For many great music teachers finding clients is difficult.  The skills that make an excellent musician and teacher aren’t necessarily those that help teachers find clients.  Often times the best teachers can struggle to find work.

Forbes was founded when Curtis realized that giving teachers the resources and promotion they need leads to great musicians and teachers effectively delivering their service.  Vetting and curating the best professionals leaves parents and students feeling comfortable and satisfied.  Without a service like Forbes many parents are in the dark about who they are inviting into their home.

Forbes Music Company has taken a disparate group of seekers and made a market.  But what was the spark?

The Year Was 2002

New York at Christmas
New York at Christmas

In 2002, Curtis was a music teacher by day and musician by night in New York City.  He was constantly working and still having to turn down work.

“I worked all the time.  One year I think I took 2 days off.  I even worked on Christmas,” he said.

He was deeply in love with his career but began to feel overwhelmed. When he began to suffer health problems, he realized he had to make a change  

He took a difficult situation and instead of giving up he found a creative solution.  He noticed that talent and teaching ability alone weren’t what separated him from other teachers.  His consistency and contentiousness were critical to his overbooked schedule. Many wonderful teachers were struggling to get a full week of work.

“I got hired for work not because I was the best necessarily, but because I was always on time and always prepared. I also noticed that the private music tutor industry wasn’t really an industry and didn’t act like one. There was very little communication and everyone was dispersed,” Forbes recounted.

From Musician & Teacher to Business Leader

Curtis started Forbes Music Company in New York City and found that it was needed most in suburban areas around urban centers.  He started selecting teachers from those he was recommended to or had worked with before and then grew very selectively.  Forbes was not going to be a referral service simply referring teachers to students.  Instead it would be a full concierge for the teachers and a mark of quality for students.

Best practices for using technology and building connections between student and teacher had not been established in the early 2000s.  So Curtis took it upon himself to build a suite of services to make communication, billing, scheduling and more as simple as possible.  This is really where his grasp of technology and industry knowledge came to the forefront.  Teachers didn’t want to have 8 different tools to manage and communicate through.  Instead they wanted a simple to use interface with direct guidance – and Curtis built this all into one coherent system.

As time has gone on this system, and the accompanying app, now takes care of almost all of the details for Forbes’ teachers so they can focus on what they do best – teaching.  And the detailed data that comes back allows Curtis and FMC to constantly improve on the solutions being offered.  The strong set of tools, consumer relationships and network Forbes has built, means that teachers report an uptick in business and a high level of satisfaction.

“We communicate regularly with our teachers as partners and coaches to supplement the platform with personal feedback,” Forbes said. 

Communication isn’t just happening on the side of the teachers.  Forbes actively works with parents and students to determine their learning style and select personality matches – not just instrument matches.  They’re really the only company that can do that too – according to Forbes – because of the amount of teachers in their network and the detailed data they have on the best ways to learn music.  They also solicit honest feedback from students.  And this feedback process has led to over 99% satisfaction after the first lesson.

The Future

At MediaTech Venture’s we believe strongly in the power of technology creatively applied to make the world a more connected and better place. Curtis Forbes’ work exemplifies the power of creatively applied technology.

Forbes Music Company has built a suite of tools, processes and data to fully support and build the private lessons community across the country.  They bring data and technology to relationships in media. And FMC is a great example of what is possible with the power of music and technology.   We’re happy to recognize Curtis’ commitment to client satisfaction, service and education as they work at the forefront of media and technology.

“Music speaks where words fail”

More about Curtis Forbes

In addition to his work leading Forbes Music Company, Curtis is involved in media in a variety of ways. He is a mentor and advisor in the MediaTech Ventures network, a member of the Recording Academy and founder of the technology company LiveShed which is working to revolutionize multi-camera video. He spends his time between Austin, New York and California.


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