Quaver Music, an under-the-radar Nashville company that creates digital music curriculum, is expanding on Music Row, buying two old houses that it does not plan to tear down.
Instead, Quaver will be moving additional staff to the buildings located at 901 and 903 18th Ave. South. Quaver now owns five Music Row buildings housing about 70 staffers, visual and audio production facilities, with plans to add about 25 additional employees in the near future.
Quaver’s cofounder and president David Mastran purchased the buildings from Music Row luminary Ray Stevens for $3.6 million.
“We like where we are and those are the facilities available,” Mastran said, explaining why Quaver has committed to utilizing existing buildings on Music Row instead of following the trend of buying an old house, demolishing it and building a new office. “I want to own them and that’s why we bought them.
“I do think there’s a notion that Music Row should be about music,” Mastran said. “We started here. We belong here…even though the community doesn’t know much about it.”
Quaver has been aggressively expanding its presence in the area of creating original content for music curriculum. Currently, the company provides curriculum in all 50 states and 30 countries.
Locally, Quaver provides curriculum in Nashville, Williamson County, Franklin Special School District and Wilson County.
Because there are so many facets of the company, Quaver hires a diverse array of employees. The company hires programmers, developers, music teachers, musicians, sales employees, visual artists, designers and administrators.
Mastran said there are plans for the company to begin creating curriculum for social and emotional learning.
“I liken us to Disney. We have production facilities with audio, video,” Mastran said. “We’re bringing all that capability to music education. We’re the leader in the field.”
Seeds for Quaver were planted on a cruise ship in South China Sea
Quaver launched in Nashville in 2010, but the seeds for the company were planted on a pleasure cruise ship in the South China Sea. Traveling with his wife, Mastran sat at a piano in what he thought was an empty room to play a song he composed.
He had only recently learned to play the piano after his elderly father asked Mastran to play a song. Musician Graham Hepburn, who was employed as a performer on the cruise ship, overheard Mastran and offered to play the song for other guests later that night. A friendship was formed, and Mastran and Hepburn began collaborating on writing and recording.
A Vietnam War veteran and engineer, Mastran was already a successful entrepreneur, who had launched a company in his garage and helped grow it into a $2 billion per year business.
After deciding to focus their collaboration on music education, Mastran and Hepburn initially planned a television show. When those plans didn’t materialize, they began writing and filming their own content aimed at helping kids learn music.
Mastran said he knew he was on to something when they debuted the first batch of material for a focus group and a man was moved to tears.
“We were standing together in the back of the room and he turned to me and said, ‘This is going to revolutionize music education’,” Mastran said.
The company has been growing consistently since 2010. Rita Black, a veteran music teacher who currently works at Glendale Elementary in Nashville, said the content works because it engages children, encourages interaction and makes music education fun.
Article originally published by Nate Rau for The Tennessean; September 27th, 2018.