New Wave of Tech-Learning Products and Apps Debuts at the 2013 NAMM Show

Jan 08, 2013, 05:47 ET from National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)

CARLSBAD, Calif., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 ages 8 and 21 to learn to play. Brands exhibiting at the 2013 NAMM Show will mirror the trend, debuting hundreds of tech-driven products offering fresh, interactive ways to learn and make music. The industry event runs January 24-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The nationwide survey found that affordability and convenience of tech and online 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.

"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 open the door to creative expression for millions more around the globe."

This infusion of tech products 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 enabling students to practice, learn from seasoned pros, and collaborate.

The trend also means that the audience for teaching and learning apps keeps 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, Rock School has amassed 60,000 users, and adds 3,000 new users each week.

Butler attributes the success of the market to the user-friendly element of apps. "With apps, you can constantly review, and you can do it at your own pace," 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 musicians to learn and jam along with their favorite songs, thanks to features like real-time scrolling tab notation, 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, Jammit's founder.

And then there are the apps that facilitate scoring music and creating customized teaching tools. Notation apps such as AVID Tech's Sibelius, and MakeMusic Inc.'s Finale help teach everything from theory to composition, as well as help composers 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. "Every musician is a student and learning constantly -- 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 more of the newest apps, programs and tools along with hundreds of new tech-enabled traditional instruments at the NAMM Show January 24-27.

SOURCE National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)