Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

School of Music

Director of Thesis

David Cutler

First Reader

Rebecca Nagel

Abstract

As a musician of large ensembles, I have seen the destruction the harsh sound of a metal mouthpiece cap falling onto the cold, hard floor can do to both the concentration of the members of the rehearsal as well as the mood of the conductor. Many saxophonists and clarinetists keep their mouthpiece caps on the edge of their flimsy music stands because during periods of rest, it is best to preserve the reed with the cap. However, with virtually every rehearsal I partake in, shuffling one’s music and grabbing pencils off the stand results in an accident. Witnessing this interruption during a performance is sadly a common occurrence. Many male performers opt to shove their mouthpiece caps in the pocket of their pants during a performance, so it doesn’t run the risk of falling off the stand. But what about female performers who wear pocket-less dresses? The unnecessary rustle of stands and pocket less pants (or dresses) are only two of the many aggravating issues to come along with not having proper storage for one’s mouthpiece cap.

A product needed to be developed in order to avoid this frustrating and frequent problem. In a Facebook survey I conducted last year, twenty-four out of twenty-four serious high school and college-aged single reed players agreed.

Introducing the Comodo Keeper- a simple and versatile way to store one’s clarinet or saxophone mouthpiece cap during practice, rehearsal, and performance- it fits any cap from an Eb clarinet to a bass saxophone.

For my senior project, I chose to highlight my minor I have studied at USC, music entrepreneurship. As a music performance major, I know that in order to have a sustainable music career, I will have to balance multiple streams of income. I worked closely with my business partner, Jessica Quattrini, to develop a business model, brand, and prototype of the Keeper. Once these aspects were completed, we started focusing on the marketing aspect of the product. Our projected customers are saxophonists and clarinetists of all ages who are serious about their hobby/profession. When advertising our product, we made it gender neutral, age neutral, and catered equally to saxophonists and clarinetists alike- unlike our one competitor, the Klaspit, which is geared specifically towards saxophonists.

Getting the Keeper out to the market and making its mark is, and will be, the most difficult part of the process. We planned to first sell it at local music retailers to test out the waters. These retailers include Pecknel of Columbia, and Musical Innovations of Greenville. As music students, we will also give free trial periods to our fellow saxophonist and clarinetist peers, as well as the clarinet and saxophone professor at the University. Being a music student at USC for the past four years, I have also gained connections with many local middle and high schools where we can market our product. Their enthusiasm will create free advertising, which will attract many other serious musicians to our product.

The documents below represent the work Jessica and I have put into this product over the past year. With research, dedication, and collaboration, the Keeper will have a great chance of being successful.

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