How AEYONS became a globally successful Australian startup
AEYONS is Australian post-COVID startup which has proved enough of a global success to continue flourishing well after the “new normal” arrives.
In March, when musicians’ income dried up literally overnight, Melbourne-based French horn player Geoff Collinson came up with a solution.
The one-time principal horn of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra was head of brass at the University of Melbourne and co-founder of the Melbourne International Festival of Brass.
AEYONS (shorthand for Another Eight Year Overnight Success) is an online music teaching platform allowing musicians to make money by teaching students a variety of instruments.
The one-on-one tutorials are on AEYONS’ own video conferencing platform and each tutor – more than 150 of them from 17 countries around the world – sets their own price.
The tutors are from the London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Sydney symphonies, platinum-selling recording artists, conservatoriums and festivals.
Melbourne Prize for Music 2010 winner David Jones, a drummer-percussionist of 40 years, calls AEYONS a “lifeline” – not only for the income, “but it has also contributed to a sense of wellbeing and given opportunities to teach new and old students online.”
Says Gérard Patacca, who took over as CEO of the company in September, “We built the platform with musicians in mind so both the visuals and audio are of a very high quality as needed for music lessons online.”
Patacca, previously in the Melbourne and Sydney symphony orchestras, taught at the Sydney Conservatorium and was GM of the Opera Australia Orchestra.
“This was all designed and built on a server-based platform rather than the very popular peer to peer platforms that you see mostly used in business at the moment.”
Network expansion plans are in the pipeline to reach more students, including masterclasses.
“We’re offering schools, choirs and orchestras the opportunity to set up their own customised Learning Hubs with lots of security and privacy features.
“We also have exciting partnerships with leading organisations like the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) and Dakia Digital/UVentures.”
Collinson and Patacca met as students at the Canberra School of Music, studying under the legendary Hector McDonald who’d just returned from Europe playing in the Berlin Philharmonic.
“Hector embodied the ideals of teaching and mentoring. We learnt what it was like to learn from a true master. Hector inspired us on a path of lifelong learning.”
For Patacca, who grew up in a music-loving family, the value of music was accentuated during the non-performance aspect of his career.
“It turned out my music education and experience had set me up for success in other areas thanks to my journey of discipline, awareness, listening, mastery and, not least, the capacity to both prepare for the future AND live in the moment.
“Not everyone has access to the environment they need to learn music. We wanted to do something about that.”