DuMarkus Davis is a classically trained violinist and graduate of the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Now, he’s trying to help other music students get the best music instruction possible. So far, he tells AfroTech, that he’s managed to raise $200,000 from a combination of sources including Tech Stars, Opportunity Hub, and pitch competitions.
Growing up in College Park, GA, it was always a struggle to find high-quality music instructors. When he became an instructor, he found it difficult to find well-paying teaching gigs. He noticed music schools and studios would charge high fees for lessons but the instructor would only get about 25 percent of the fee.
“I started hiring some friends and ultimately helped them out with marketing,” Davis said. “I realized this could be something that, one, could be aided and fixed by technology but, two, it could be scalable.”
After he graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he had multiple job offers but turned them down to give Musicbuk his full attention.
“We started the company doing in-person lessons, but as a result of COVID, we pivoted our model to support virtual music lessons. We’ve actually seen greater demand and more opportunity moving into the virtual space,” Davis said.
Musicbuk works by providing a platform for the best musicians in the country to run their own business. Music teachers apply to the platform and go through a rigorous vetting process. Once admitted, students can book lessons with specific instructors.
“We’ve seen extremely high retention rates with our students. And what I mean by that is about 80%, a little bit more than 80% of our students take lessons for more than six months, which is ridiculously high, especially when you consider like competitors in the field, they typically have 6% retention rates,” he said.
Musicbuk takes 50 percent of the first music lesson’s fee and then charges the student an 8 percent service fee for every lesson booked through the platform. So far, Musicbuk has gotten an impressive reception from instructors and students alike.