MUSIC ACCOMPANIES PEACE - Violinist Creates Music App Free for Students in War-Torn Countries
ACCOMPANY app is the brainchild of violinist and writer Steven Maloney, a Juilliard graduated music teacher on a mission to share his love for both music and teaching, especially with the victims of war and poverty.
CHICAGO, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ACCOMPANY is the latest classical music education app set to launch in May at accompanymusic.com. The app is the brainchild of violinist and writer Steven Maloney, a music teacher on a mission to share his love for both music and teaching, especially with the victims of war and poverty. The owner of Accompany Music and violinlessonschicago.com, Steven comments: "The idea of practicing along with recorded accompaniment certainly isn't new, but my setup is innovative. Now the user can employ any mobile device or computer to access thousands of pieces for violin, voice, and other instruments. They choose a piece to work on, they adjust the tempo or repeat difficult sections using loops, and they learn to phrase musically and traditionally--all without any distortion in pitch or sound quality when changing speed."
Part of Maloney's zeal to create the ultimate mobile practice tool was his own experience growing up in a small, isolated Texas town.
"Music instruction was frankly dismal and there were certainly no qualified accompanists to work with. You could mail order LP or CD recordings of karaoke-like background accompaniment tracks for a few things, but they were always too fast and you couldn't adjust the tempo without changing the pitch or sound quality. It was like trying to learn to drive at 90 miles an hour. That was 25 years ago. Since then, digital changed everything and a few products have come out that semi-accurately slow down mp3 files, but the sound quality as a rule is not very good. Some of the newest apps even require "training" the app itself. Now theoretically, even if an app could actually follow--to the millisecond, like the most masterful human accompanist-- (I'm talking about your every nuance and stylistic eccentricity warts and all), that might be useful for a very select population of extremely advanced and seasoned performers. For the remaining 99% - it's best to learn to speed up and slow down in traditionally established places within the music the way a master musician like David Oistrakh or Pablo Casals or Maria Callas would. That requires listening to an accompaniment and following it; that itself takes discipline, not indulgence. In a nutshell: if you're a kid or adult learning to play an instrument, you don't need a toy; you need guidance and structure within a useful tool. That's exactly what Accompany provides. Nothing in the app is automatic or metronomic, either; the piano sound is of the highest quality and sampled from a Steinway grand. The entire recording set up and app design was assisted by a former top-level Apple employee whom I consider a genius. In future we will have orchestral and ensemble accompaniments too. Finally, I'd also like to mention that unlike other apps where you're paying a few dollars per piece, with Accompany, subscription is only a few pennies per day. Morever, for students in impoverished and war-torn nations, the app with all its content is absolutely free. For the moment, these countries with free service will include (among others) Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras, Syria, Haiti, Sudan, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Bolivia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and North Korea."
From a people perspective, such a concept is, as Bernie Sanders might pronounce, "Yuge".
To date, ACCOMPANY features music for concertos, sonatas, short pieces, and student works. The product is unique in that it also features complete scale systems in different tunings. etudes, and drones for intonation practice - an idea inspired by noted virtuoso Ruggiero Ricci.
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