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Takin' Care of Business

Nichole Barragy (right), the Surf Ballroom and Museum's education coordinator, leads a videoconference in Stillman Auditorium for Clear Lake eighth-grade students Monday afternoon. The videoconference was with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Education Department in Cleveland. The program was called "Takin' Care of Business:" A Rock Band Finance Simulation.


CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake seventh- and eighth-grade students learned the business of having their own rock band Monday afternoon.

“It was fun and informative,” said Zeke Branstad, an eighth-grade student. “I knew some it, but not the 10 percent you’d get per CD.”

The students participated in “Takin’ Care of Business:” A Rock Band Finance Simulation via a videoconference with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

The simulation was a kickoff to the Winter Dance Party week, said Nichole Barragy, a middle school teacher and education coordinator at the Surf Ballroom & Museum, Clear Lake. It also touched on different subjects including math, social studies and music.

“It shows them how they really make music,” Barragy said.

The program started with each grade deciding what type of band it wanted to be. The eighth grade decided to be a hip-hop group called Ca$h Out.

The group then progressed through different stages of being a hip-hop band and making decisions along the way.


For example, during their first gig at Brooklyn High School, Ohio, where Elvis Presley once performed, they had to determine the prices for their merchandise including T-shirts, keychains and posters.

Students learned that they had to strike a balance between supply and demand.

Keeping track of their income and expenses on a ledger, they then learned about recording a CD.

“You sold 11,200 CDs, which is pretty awesome,” said Kathryn Metz with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.


However, they quickly learned that they only made 10 percent of the $10 charged per CD after everyone else got their share of the sale.

After that they got a gig at the Surf Ballroom & Museum, where they learned about negotiating and unexpected costs, such as a tour bus breaking down.

Lastly, they appeared on the public television show, “Austin City Limits.” 

The final challenge was deciding on personnel, which would determine how good they’d sound and if people would download their TV performance.

At the end of simulation the group ended up making more than $62,000.


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