"As an educator, you can now impart your knowledge in real time to anyone who has a computer, and it's a thoroughly effective learning tool," Frank said. "I've tracked the progress. My Skype students are moving at the same exact rate as my live students."

Boyce, the Chicago guitarist, said he's progressed steadily under the weekly tutelage of Aaron Marshall, a Canadian professional guitarist. Boyce said he knew of Marshall's music beforehand and had great respect for him.

"Once I saw him and what an amazing guitarist he was, I hit him up on Bandhappy," said Boyce. "The first lesson we had was amazing. I learned so much in an hour. I decided to keep progressing and keep taking lessons from him."

Bandhappy keeps the teacher and the student organized, Halpern said. In addition to live sessions, teachers can post recorded videos and files with exercise assignments for the student to practice offline.

Soon-to-debut features of the site include the ability to record a live session and group sessions that can tie multiple people together into one live video lesson.

The startup got a $75,000 grant to build the website from TEDCO, the quasi-state agency that supports technology industry development. Halpern also attracted two other Baltimore-area co-founders: Jonathan Rivlin, the chief operating officer and a classically trained clarinetist, and Andy Meister, a technology entrepreneur who is the president.

They hired R2Integrated, a Canton-based digital marketing firm, to build the site.

The site has signed up about 350 teachers and thousands of students, Halpern said. Each teacher and student can have their own profile pages. And teachers are pre-screened by Halpern and his team to ensure they are able to teach — Bandhappy asks them to post videos of themselves giving instruction.

Bandhappy is currently seeking new investors. Halpern said he hopes to use fresh investment to add new features and start a nationwide marketing push to attract musicians and students to the site.

"It's really about putting control in the hands of musicians," said Halpern. "I think it's great that we can expose young students to new teachers and new experiences from all over the world."



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