Soon, I will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund music education software I’ve designed. Please contact me if you would like to participate! I need to work with programmers and designers to make it happen! I’d alos love to hear input from other musicians and music teachers!
Where does the idea for the game come from?
I hatched the idea for Symphony while teaching music. For years, I’ve had my students use step sequencers to learn about notation systems, harmonic rhythm, phrase structure and as a beefed up metronome that is fun to play with. I’d have my students program in the phrase they are working on into the step sequencer, the translation process helps them to learn staff notation and it plays the phrase for them so they know how it is supposed to sound. Once it is playing, the step sequencer functions as a metronome, giving the students something they can hear that measures their time.
I’d also have them write a song to go along with it. Through creating a melody with phrases that correspond to the phrase ,
One of the laws of education is to use fun games to teach the most boring material. While being able to staff understand notation is an important skill, there is a lot to know that doesn’t have anything to do with making music. Besides, most music students are more interested in making music than reading it! This is why making a game that teaches staff notation is useful.
Students love making their own music, and they love to play around with step sequencers. Students play the game at home and in the process, they cement their knowledge of reading staff notation and other music making skills.
I’ve used many different step sequencers over the years, but they all fall short in one or more of the following ways:
- Too Buggy
- Too Expensive
- Hard to Use
- Bad Sounds
- Can’t Save
- Not Set Up with Staff Notation in Mind
I finally got so frustrated with all of these problems that I am launching this Kickstarter!! In addition to fixing those problems, the new program will integrate the best practices of online learning to create an online course.
What is Symphony?
Symphony is a new music creation game that gives players powerful tools to to make their own songs, but also to learn more about music and music making. It can be used by anyone, but it is designed with the music student in mind. While Symphony can just be great sounding, easy-to-use music making software, it can also be powerful learning tool that you can use on your own or in conjunction with music lessons. By integrating a player system with avatars, XP and unlockable features, Symphony guides the players through a basic understanding of music theory and songwriting. The new integrated interface teaches players how staff notation works while they make their own songs.
Music teachers can use Symphony to teach their students music theory and reading, freeing them up to teach music instead.
Symphony Online features
The interface combines the look and ease of use of a step sequencer with the interface musicians actually use: staff notation. Players will be able to see both at the same time and how they fit together. This interface will make it so players can learn staff notation through association and induction, simply from playing the game!
The sounds will be high quality and, if possible, I’d like to add the ability to import your own sounds.
Reverb, delay and other effects will be available to add and manipulate.
Players will be able to make multiple tracks that play at the same time, visible from different screens. These layers can be labelled Drums, Bass, Lead, Guitar, Keyboard, etc.
Part of the game is a series of challenges that show players how to use the game and introduce and master concepts and devices in music theory, such as chords, arpeggios, AABA song form, and passing tones.
For completing challenges, players are awarded XP that unlock new features, sounds, badges and abilities.
Players create profiles with avatars viewable by other players. The avatars mayb feature badges earned from Challenges.
- Online Forum:
Symphony will feature an online forum where players can chat with other players.
Players can save, upload and download their songs, and download the songs of others, and edit them. music teachers can review songs made by students to check their progress, make suggestions and include the material in lessons.
- Collaborative Songwriting:
Players can write songs in pairs/teams online. This is useful for teachers who want to include songwriting into a group or ensemble class because they can assign the entire group to write out specific parts to the whole that they will then play at the recital.
Playing music on an instrument is easy, when you know what to do! If a musician transcribes a piece into Symphony, then they understand the specific sequence of steps that make up their particular piece, and how it is written in staff notation. Music teachers can helps students with this and assign particular pieces to translate.
Players can play along with their songs on their instruments. This helps them to know when they are getting the notes and rhythms right, and what they need to work on. Without something like this, beginning students don’t know if they are practicing the right song or not!
- Metronome 2.0:
In order to play in rhythm, you need to be in rhythm. The hands do what the brain says, and when the brain is thinking in rhythm, the hands play in rhythm. When the brain is “thinking” in time, and the music is stuck in your head, then the hands will play in rhythm. Metronomes are designed to give you a point of reference, not to get you in rhythm. This is great if you already have the skills to put yourself in rhythm before you play – in other words, intermediate to advanced students.
Symphony will include Metronome 2.0, a feature that allows players to craft a fun and catchy play-a-long track that will help their rhythm and, unlike metronomes, actually make them enjoy playing.
If possible, I would like to add lyric functionality, so that Symphony would “sing” the lyrics along with the song.
- Loop Station:
If possible, I would like to add the loop station functionality