Story behind the infographic
At Trala, we started interviewing violin teachers in 2015. We had heard somewhere that 4 out of 5 musicians quit their instruments. We wanted to test this statement, so I called up my old violin teacher, Jenny, and sat down to hear her story. Then we called around our hometowns to interview parents of musicians and other teachers.
What we heard was an outpouring of pain and frustration. If you’re a teacher, student, or parent, some of these sentences might sound familiar:
I fight with my daughter all the time when it comes to violin. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to practice.
I lie to my teacher about how much I practice.
I wish my students would practice more.
I hate practicing.
This was the beginning of Trala. The four of us who work on Trala decided to tackle the quitting issue. We entered a National Science Foundation program which encouraged us to continue doing research. We called and emailed every violin teacher whose contact info we could find, hung out at the People’s Music School in Chicago and the Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp at the University of Illinois, and messaged every single Trala user in order to figure out why most people quit, and why some do not. Each interview lasted between 30 minutes and 2 hours either in person, over the phone, or via videocall. We also sent a survey to over two hundred teachers.
And we found something crazy: the number which started us on this journey, that 4/5ths of musicians quit? Turns out that for violinists, it’s even worse. Ninety percent of people who pick up a violin and try to learn it quit.
The issue magnified itself in our minds, which is when Trala as a product emerged. From our interviews, we not only figured out what people’s pains were, but we heard lots of solutions as well. The Trala App is a combination of everyone’s ideas—the ideas not only university violin professors and world-famous soloists but also of small-town private teachers and individual kids learning Suzuki Book 2.
We’re going to keep talking to everyone we meet about music. It’s what we do. My favorite data point? Every single teacher we talked to said they love their job. Maybe we can change that 90% quit rate to 80%. If we did, a hundred thousand more people would be playing violin!
Jason, Lauren, Sam, and Vish from Trala
Sister Marie-Therese Swiezynski
Linda Veleckis Nussbaum
Bruce Morrow and Kendy Johnson from William Harris Lee
Michael Spadaro and Andrew from A440 Violin Shop
...and 1400 more of you who shared your stories with us. THANK YOU!