New Wave of Tech-Learning Products and Apps Debuts at the 2013 NAMM Show
With technology-assisted learning and playing on the rise, exhibitors at the 2013 NAMM Show will feature a wealth of music-learning tools in the show’s App & Gaming Pavilion and beyond
According to a new Harris Poll commissioned by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), technology such as musical apps and online lessons is inspiring more than a quarter of young people between 8 and 21 years old to learn to play. Brands exhibiting at the 2013 NAMM Show will mirror the trend, debuting hundreds of tech-driven products that offer fresh, interactive ways to learn and make music. The App & Gaming Pavilion at the NAMM Show will feature exhibitors whose products bring inspiration and accessibility to a new generation of music makers. The industry event runs from January 24-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The nationwide survey found that affordability and convenience of tech and online musical educational tools are encouraging 16 percent of all Americans ages 8 and older to play a musical instrument because they connect the desire to learn with easy access to instruction. These tools include YouTube videos, websites with sheet music files, and apps created to teach music. Apps for smart phones and tablets can help new music makers do everything from learn to play chords and tune their instrument to score compositions.
“When you have tech-savvy innovators working in a creative arena such as music, it is no surprise that we are seeing this new wave of products and applications,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “NAMM Member companies are creating products and apps that make learning to play, write and record music easier than ever, opening the door to creative expression for millions more around the globe.”
This infusion of tech products into the music product industry is natural and expected, according to Matt Sandler, CEO of Chromatik. “The way we practice, perform, and collaborate around music is naturally evolving to match the expectations and experiences that we have in our technology-driven lives,” he said. Chromatik is an online music platform that enables students to practice, learn from seasoned pros, and collaborate with one another. It is the teaching method of choice for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and has recently been adopted by the “American Idol” orchestra. Tech methods are revolutionizing the music-education arena.
The tech-learning trend also means that the audience for teaching and learning apps keeps brisk pace with the number of products surging into the market. Atlas Apps’ Rock School, a learning application for a variety of instruments, debuted at Summer NAMM in 2012. In its short tenure on the market, Rock School has amassed 60,000 users, and adds 3,000 new users each week. Like many of the options, the app is free, and its founder, John Butler, is passionately committed to keeping it so.
Butler attributes the burgeoning success of the educational app market to the user-friendly element of apps. “With apps, you can constantly review, you can do it at your own pace, you can do it when you want to,” he said. “And part of the appeal, at least with Rock School, is that you can use current music. ’The Big Three Killed My Baby’ by The White Stripes is very different from ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’.”
Learning to play a favorite song is easier with apps, too. Agile's TabToolkit, for example, is an innovative way for guitar and bass players to learn and jam along with their favorite songs, thanks to features like real-time scrolling tab notation, speed control, A/B looping, full-score music notation, and real-time instrument guides. “Our music-learning and music-making customers regularly use apps to learn about and find chords and scales with GuitarToolkit, and practice their guitar craft with AmpKit," said Jack Ivers of Agile Partners.
While some apps allow music-makers to play favorite songs, others enable players to learn by parsing out individual instrument lines. Want to learn the guitar line to “Smoke on the Water” without all that organ getting in the way? Jammit isolates the guitar from the original master recordings. “Having access to the original tracks along with the ability to isolate, loop and slow down sections makes learning effortless," said Scott Humphrey, founder of Jammit.
And then there are the apps and programs that radically facilitate scoring music and creating customized tools to teach and inspire students. Wildly successful notation apps such as AVID Tech’s Sibelius, and MakeMusic Inc.’s Finale help teach new learners everything from theory to composition, as well as help the novice composer bypass the hand-notation process. Debuting at the 2013 NAMM Show, ScoreCleaner offers notation software that needs no training, allowing students and teachers unfamiliar with notation software, or even computers, to go from musical idea to musical notation immediately.
Chromatik’s Sandler points out that the tech wave of musical learning initiates a steady stream of new musicians into the vibrant arena of music making. “Every musician is a student and learning constantly -- new tunes, etc. -- not just limited to our K-12 education,” he said. “Technology enables us to lower the barrier to entry to high-quality music learning experiences and democratize the music collaboration experience.”
See these and more of the newest learning, teaching and music-making apps, programs and tools along with hundreds of new tech-enabled traditional instruments when the NAMM Show opens January 24 in Anaheim, CA.
The NAMM Show gathers 90,000 members of the music product industry from around the world to preview new products from thousands of brands across every category. Registration is open for qualified members of the music instrument, product and pro-light and sound industries. Exhibit space is still available for the 2013 event. Learn more about the NAMM Show at http://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2013.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 102 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.