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Founded in 2004 as an internet-based operation, TakeLessons has grown from 6 local employees (all still with the company) to over 40 staffers working in customer support, student sales, teacher-hiring, marketing, software development, and operations. Headquartered downtown on Fourth Avenue, with certified music and voice instructors in cities nationwide, the firm has announced a new partnership with Learning Care Group, the second largest for-profit early-education and child-care provider in North America.

“TakeLessons instructors will be offering music lessons to children aged 5 to 12 at select schools within the Learning Care Group umbrella of brands,” says founder and CEO Steven Cox, “including Children’s Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, and Tutor Time Child Care and Learning Centers.”

Cox credits music video games with sparking a resurgence in young people wanting to become actual musicians, despite those who feel the games lack fundamental music instruction. “We’re in a new era that I’ve deemed ‘The Idol Generation.’ Millions of people watch reality shows each week with the dream that maybe they could learn to sing as well. Meanwhile, computer software and music creation is converging in the forms of home studios and DJ production. All of this is feeding a new social standard for creativity. It’s building a new generation of artists not bound by genre, instrument, or idea. The sound and tools may be different, but the underlying social fabric is the same as it’s always been — self-expression and communication.”

His stance is that Christmas is a great time to get guitars into the hands of kids, even if it’s a plastic one designed for video-gaming. “Music video games introduce non-musicians to try their hand with rhythm and pitch. It’s not a replacement for traditional artistry, but it helps enhance the curious creative spark that’s already there.

“If I owned a chain of music stores today, I’d have community Rock Band and Guitar Hero tournaments in the store every week. This gives people who may never pick up a guitar a chance to explore their inner musician.”

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Jay Allen Sanford Dec. 8, 2010 @ 12:11 p.m.

Breaking news update: It was announced today that TakeLessons took the $20,000 grand prize at the 11th Annual San Diego Venture Group PitchFest. The SD Venture Group is a non-profit business organization dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and business advisors launching promising new ventures.

TakeLessons was one of 70 companies to compete for the award.

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