For my senior capstone project, I created a concept for a tablet application that would help musicians practice, whether they read sheet music or not. By curating the musicians progress and applying multiple learning methods, the goal of the app is to increase overall musical comprehension and help improve the musician’s ability for performance.
These musicians use sheet music or tablature to practice music.
These musicians practice mostly by ear and memory.
These short exercises are designed to bridge the gap between audial and visual musicians.
I dedicated my last semester of school to investigating the question:
To understand this question more specifically, I narrowed my focus to three sub-questions. Spending two weeks investigating each question, I cumulated my knowledge into developing Rehearsal: an application for practicing musicians.
I began to answer this question by first examining my idea of what a “recreational musician” is. Without being biased by talent, I created an “experiences scale” that created a hierarchy of musical experiences based on ability, innovation, popularity, and focus.
Once the scope was defined, I sought out users to interview as inspiration for different personas. I captured the stories of Mason, a college student who was once in high school orchestra, Olivia, a pianist and violinist who takes private lessons, and Jonas, a local musician that plays guitar and synth. Click on the thumbnails to hear their stories.
This study led me to an amazing collection of musical graphic notations. I studied, compared, and categorized this collection in order to understand how four metrics (tempo, tone, rhythm, and accents) were being represented. Here are some examples:
For the final study, I used an iPad to download and test some of the most popular existing music apps. I created site maps to understand how their features were connected. I also took videos of my self testing the apps to songs that I knew how to play on the piano. These methods informed my final product: an app to help practicing musicians.