The road to rock superstardom is not an easy one. To “make it big” takes talent, tenacity, and a certain amount of good fortune. It also takes financial savvy. Unfortunately, the cautionary tales in the music industry are many. When it comes to the business of making music, you have to know how money works to make it work for you.
Last week, teachers from across Northeast Ohio discovered how they can use rock and roll to teach financial literacy in their own classrooms. The workshop – offered to area educators as part of our teacher professional development series, Teachers Rock – explored the many ways that the business world and the world of popular music connect. Teachers also got a first-hand look at one of our newest Rockin’ the Schools classes – “Takin’ Care of Business”: A Rock Band Finance Simulation. Made possible by the generous support of KeyBank, the class follows the financial decisions of an average up-start rock band, from selling t-shirts at a local gig (should the price be $10 or $20?) to recording an album (how much does studio time cost?). As “band managers,” students make these choices themselves, and they see the consequences play out in real-time. Students also learn critical financial concepts like supply and demand, profit and loss, and the art of the negotiation. Takin’ Care of Business is a real-life look at what it really takes to succeed in the music business.
The class comes at a critical time for Ohio educators. Beginning this year, financial literacy must be taught as a standard component of the high-school curriculum, and will be a graduation requirement for all incoming freshmen. We’ve already seen a tremendous response to Takin’ Care of Business – it’s easily the most scheduled class of the 2010-2011 Rockin’ the Schools school year. With personal and professional finance a concern for most these days, it’s clear that these are skills that everyone, not just musicians, need to master. Rock and roll to the rescue.