Today we are chatting with Leon Harrell, who is a member of the American Music Center and holds a Masters of Music degree in music composition and is currently working on his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a creator of the website called One Minute Music Lesson where he teaches people how music really works by explaining the basic fundamentals so they can learn how to read and write music and play better, one minute at a time.
He has agreed to share his online experiences with First Site Guide, so please enjoy his real-life story!
When did you realize the importance of being online?
2006 is when I became interested in creating an online business that showcased my teaching skills. I got my first teaching job as a University professor that year teaching a course online. After teaching a while online I realized just how much online education was really taking off in America and I wanted to be a part of that because I wanted to teach music to as many people as I possibly can.
How many websites do you own and did you create them yourself?
I only own one website about music called the OneMinuteMusicLesson.com. This is where I teach how to read music using music theory concepts for beginners. My One Minute Music Lessons are designed to eliminate the frustration that many inexperienced musicians have learning to read music by teaching very complex topics in simple, bite-sized lessons.
Please tell us your idea behind OneMinuteMusicLesson.com?
The main idea of One Minute Music Lesson is to teach music reading skills and music theory concepts to allow anyone with access to the internet the ability to play the music that they enjoy.
I find that too many online lessons focus on teaching how to play music by showing you only the notes to play on the instrument without teaching you to read music. The true way to create your own path as a musician is to become musically literate by learning how to read music and music theory so you will not be reliant on a teacher to spoon feed you new musical pieces.
How important is the domain name?
My domain name is my brand name, so for me it is important. Also, I do think having the words “music lesson” in the domain name help with my search engine optimization and higher Google rankings.
Which CMS – Content Management System do you use for running your website?
WordPress, it is the best system for beginners and pros alike.
How hard is it to create new posts, comments etc.? Do you do it yourself or you need someone to do it for you?
I do everything on my website myself. It is not hard to create the posts at all, as long as you know what you want the content of the post to be. Technically creating the post is as simple as typing in a word processor.
How much time do you spend on your blog?
It depends, I teach at several universities in central Illinois. I work on my website more when I teach college classes less. And when I teach college classes more I work on the website less. Thats the real beauty of having an online business, you can control how much time and effort you put into it based on your current availability and interest level.
How do you promote your website and please tell us if the social media is important ?
My business is promoted using the following things in their order of importance:
1. A YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/
Most people find me through YouTube via searching for music topics related to my video lessons.
2. An Amazon Kindle e-book (http://www.amazon.com/How-
Many Kindle owners find me through browsing the Kindle book store because I have a best-selling eBook in the categories of piano and guitar musical instruction.
3. An email newsletter I write (http://eepurl.com/cbUmr)
Every one who visits my website is encouraged to sign up for my free newsletter where I send out free tips and occasion invitations to my live webinars.
Numbers 4-8 send less traffic but are still very important social network platforms to be a part of for me.
4. An iTunes podcast (http://itunes.apple.com/us/
5. A Twitter account (http://twitter.com/
6. A Pinterest account (http://pinterest.com/
7. A Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/home.
8. A Google+ account (https://plus.google.com/u/0/
My promotion on all these platforms varies by whatever my current projects or goals are. Overall, I would say that social media is important but not nearly as important as audience engagement through direct interaction via email or newsletter.
Is there a way to monetize your music teaching skills through the website?
Yes, I offer eBooks, live webinars and private video lessons online all through my website.
What would you say to all music teachers out there who still do not recognize the need for having their own website?
If you have a passion for teaching and a passion for reaching people outside of your local area then having a presence online is very important to combine these two passions. For me an online music teaching business is the perfect combination of my personal skills and passions and I can’t imagine doing anything that could I love more for a career.