I ran across this article last night (through a link posted on Twitter) about people spending less and being happier. It's an interesting subject to be because I always find that when I get caught up in the cycle of buy, buy, buy it never makes me feel as satisfied as I think it will. I try to practice "calculated consumption" rather than "conspicuous consumption" and I always feel better when I do.
The article says that new studies show that "people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects." I'm all in favor of that. Until I pause and consider that The Murphy Method sells material objects (DVDs) and it would be bad if people stopped buying them.
But that's not all we sell. We sell knowledge. We sell the experience of learning an instrument. We can teach you how to develop a skill, which is not at all the same as conspicuous consumption.
In that vein I was thinking about how we could do more of that: sell knowledge more effectively. With one of my students who moved away from Nashville I'm doing long-distance lessons like this: every week she learns a new song off of our DVDs (she's working through Improvising right now). She records herself playing it and emails it to me. I listen and comment and give her an assignment for the next week. That way she has the motivation to keep learning (nothing like having to play for a teacher!) and she has me nagging her to find other people to play with.
Would that sort of thing interest more people? A banjo-lesson subscription service where you pay a flat fee every month, learn songs off of our DVDs, and maintain a weekly email correspondence with the teacher (that would be me) recording yourself playing your tunes so that I can comment and correct. You would have to be computer-savvy enough to be able to email an audio file, and to open one up and play it when you received one back from me. These audio file exchanges could be augmented with webcam lessons if you have the necessary equipment (that would be a webcam...).
If you're at all interested email me (or comment below). If there seems to be widespread interest we may figure out how to add it to the regular TMM website.