Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:31

VIDEO: Apollo-M app - one small step for music, one giant step for music learning


An Australian company has launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to deliver a ‘Netflix-style evolution in music learning’ with ‘unlimited access to music lessons for US $4.95 per month’.

Do you wish that you could learn to play music on a wide range of musical instruments in a simple to use subscription platform that is reminiscent of Netflix?

Well, now you can, with Australian-developed technology and $2 million worth of investment from Apollo Music and its Apollo-M app, designed for music students, music teachers and music professionals, which you’d probably also call… musicians!

The company’s Indiegogo campaign starts off by noting that ‘if you've ever bought a musical instrument, or been given one, it can be one of the most exciting moments of your life - you're holding a means to achieve dreams and share in the many rewards of playing your own music.’

But, as the next questions state - ‘How do you get there? How do you learn to play the music you love when living in a time where the internet offers access to seemingly endless options for all kinds of music lessons, teachers, books, videos and more?’.

Apollo Music says that ‘Choice is good, but wading through these possibilities to find good quality material can be time consuming and frustrating, and if you make the wrong choice, a genuinely disheartening experience’, while noting that ‘many a would-be musician has had their enthusiasm to learn a musical instrument crushed by that wall of noise and imagery.’

Naturally, Apollo-M asks ‘is there a better way to choose what you want to learn, to find the right lesson books and videos, to connect with the right teacher and other like-minded musicians, and find the right music school…’

Then it notes that ‘once you’ve found your path - is there a way to keep it all organised and in one place - ready to use on any device, anytime, anywhere, and to keep track of your progress, keeping you motivated to achieve your goals.’

Clearly, the answer is yes, with LearnToPlayMusic.com, from ‘Koala Music Publishing’ having already created lessons for over 35 years, from beginner to advanced, but has now created its ‘best and most innovative music education solution yet - Apollo-M.’

 Apollo Music says its app has the following features:

- Unlimited access to thousands of music instrument lessons with video and audio, plus podcasts, web TV shows, live concerts, bios and documentaries about learning and playing music.

- You can purchase over 350,000 sheet music and tablature downloads, music products and accessories at a substantial discount.

- Play along with 3D game-like music instrument animations and get interactive feedback on how well they have played a piece of music.

- The ability to practice performances with band backing tracks, record and mix their own compositions before uploading them for others to hear, plus tune their instruments and use the chord and scale finder to improve repertoire.

- Network with a worldwide community of music students, teachers and music professionals.

- Locate and connect with teachers or students in their local area or set up live video lessons and master classes.

- Upload, share, discuss and customize lessons and lesson plans and provide feedback to students.

- Share in the revenue generated from subscriptions and pay-per-view user-generated lesson content, and all for only US $4.95/month or FREE if you’re a teacher.

The co-founder and CEO of LearnToPlayMusic.com, Gary Turner said: “The appeal of a platform like Apollo-M is in having everything that a beginner or professional musician needs to pursue their music dreams, or a music teacher needs to teach their students, in one affordable place.

“It’s like Netflix for the world of musicians. Instead of paying $25 for only one lesson book, anyone can subscribe for just $4.95 per month, and get unlimited access to thousands of the best lessons, eBooks, videos, podcasts, web TV shows, digital sheet music and documentaries about learning and playing music.

“There really is no other app or website that will come close to matching Apollo-M’s features and value.

“Apollo-M really is the next evolution in music learning, teaching and playing, and we want everyone in the music community to have the opportunity to be involved and share in the rewards.

“On November 24th, we will be launching an Indiegogo campaign, allowing everyone to be directly involved in Apollo-M’s continuing development. We will be offering some really cool and exclusive perks to support the platform, and giving anyone that contributes a piece of the action.”

LearnToPlayMusic.com says Apollo-M is named after the Greek God of Music, Apollo (although he was also the God of the Sun and other things as a quick Google search will uncover).

It’s not actually named after the Apollo space program as my headline cheekily suggests, but hey, it’s still a giant step for learning music whichever way you look at it.

It is billed as a ‘revolutionary on-demand subscription-based music learning and teaching platform for use by aspiring and professional musicians, music educators and music-related businesses.’

Apollo-M ‘gives millions of musicians and music teachers worldwide unlimited access to thousands of the highest quality book, audio and video lessons, podcasts, webTV shows, documentaries, songs, jam tracks, music tools and digital sheet music, covering every popular musical instrument, genre, style and experience level.’

There is also ‘streaming video caching and downloadable content for subscribers’, with Apollo-M working ‘online, offline, anywhere, anytime, on every major platform and device.’

You can access it ‘through your internet browser on your laptop or desktop or downloaded as an app on to your smartphone or tablet,’ too.

The company says that when you first open Apollo-M, ‘you tell it what instrument you want to play, what style and your experience level, and it will create a personalised course for you. All lessons are step-by-step and easy-to-follow and come with video and/or audio demonstrating all songs and examples. See and hear how each one is played by a teacher and follow along with the music score and tablature animations, which make learning to read music fun.’

When you’re ready, you can ‘lug in your instrument or set up a microphone and challenge yourself as you play along with the backing band and get scored on how well you performed.  At any time you can change the lessons, course, style, or even instrument. You are in complete control of your learning path.’

Teachers can create custom lesson plans for students based on their skill levels, with students able to contact the teacher directly from the app with questions relating to topics and exercises teachers have set.

Lessons can be set up via live video connections and teachers can upload their own lessons and content to earn income from its use by students and other teachers.

It all sounds fantastically amazing!

Phase 1 of the project ‘is to develop and build the base cross-platform functionality and content library delivery features. What this means is that our "on-launch" goal is to deliver a subscription-based phone, tablet and desktop/laptop ready app, which for $4.95 a month (free for teachers), offers aspiring musicians, students, teachers, schools and professional musicians unlimited access to a huge selection of music instrument lessons and learning resources.’

Phase 1 Apollo-M content will feature:

- Many different musical instruments: Guitar, Piano/Keyboard, Bass Guitar, Drum Kit, Singing, Harmonica, Saxophone, Clarinet, Recorder, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo, Tin Whistle, Flute, Violin, Oboe, Cello, Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium/Baritone Horn, Bassoon and Tuba.

- Many different guitar playing styles: Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Slide Guitar, Left Hand Guitar, Classical Guitar and Slap Bass.

- Many different genres: Blues, Rock, Classical, Country, Hip-Hop, Folk/Traditional, Funk, Jazz, Metal, R&B and Ragtime.

- Many different age groups and experience levels: Kids 4 to 8 yrs, Absolute Beginners, Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.

- Many different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Dutch and Spanish.

Phase 1 of Apollo-M will also offer a convenient place to download and store RSS feeds from music magazines, fan clubs and articles as well as enabling in-app purchases of over 350,000 sheet music and tablature downloads, music products and accessories, integrated into the lesson content.

You can support the project at Indiegogo here - at time of publication, the campaign seeks to reach US $100,000 in funding, and has achieved just under US $25,000, with 29 days of the campaign to go.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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