3rd Place: Do-Re-Mi · A-B-C · 1-2-3

Student winners make love of music their business



For Veronica Chua and Hee-Young Kim, music is more than just learning songs.

It’s also about counting numbers and reading stories, especially for younger kids.

“We want to show music in a positive new light,” said Chua, 18, a senior at Ransom Everglades School who has been playing piano for 14 years. “It can not only help you outside of the classroom by de-stressing you but inside as well by helping you succeed academically.”

But it can also mean business.

The pair’s proposal for a beginner-level piano book called “Do-Re-Mi · A-B-C · 1-2-3” won third place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge. It would incorporate story-based songs that help children create a strong foundation in math and reading — while also bringing fun to piano lessons using vibrant visual aids.

At 8 years old, Kim, 17, stopped playing the piano because it became difficult to keep her attention on learning musical notation.

Now a junior at Ransom and an editor at her school newspaper along with Chua, she thought there should be a music product that engages with kids on a whole new level.

“We both started thinking, ‘how can we make music more entertaining so that little kids actually want to play and not because their parents made them to?’” said Kim, who picked up piano playing again five years ago and plays the flute for the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The academic checkpoints after each respective song, Kim says, would challenge elementary school kids through math exercises like counting beats, drawing notes on the staff and measuring tonality. Every song would tell a short story within the lyrics, testing reading comprehension of plot and characters.

Chua sees the book as a catalyst that will change the traditional approach toward musical education.

“Our book is the only one of its kind that clearly bridges the gap between music and academics,” Chua said. “It has the potential to impact different communities and reignite enthusiasm for music curriculums across the country.”

“Do-Re-Mi · A-B-C · 1-2-3” would feature original songs composed by Chua and Kim. They would monitor the effects of the lessons on children, and then sell the book for $10 in stores and elementary schools. The main costs for their company would be payments to the publishing company interested in their product.

On her way to study engineering at Emory University, Chua doesn’t plan on leaving behind her entrepreneurial aspirations. She and Kim are continuing to develop their book and looking into ways it can expand into the e-book market.

“We’re hoping to translate the songs to different languages and eventually create a series that would specialize in specific skill sets,” Chua said.

Read more Business Plan Challenge stories from the Miami Herald

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