Start-up of the Day: Helping the Brain via Music



Music is one of the oldest art forms known by humankind. While it might be difficult, maybe impossible, to know how prehistoric music sounded, we do know it was around. Throughout history, it has been used for entertainment, magic, rituals and religion among many other functional and non-functional practices. The Spanish start-up Sancal Method (Método Sáncal) is using music as a tool for developing cognitive abilities.


The powerful effect that music is able to have on the brain is well-known. For example, music can help with memory, pain reduction or stress relief. Although music goes beyond the act of just listening; playing it also counts. This young start-up is working under the principle that learning to play a musical instrument is one activity that can have the biggest impact on our brain. As such, it has the power to develop and strengthen the brain. This might not represent anything new on its own. Yet when it is combined with the digital technology developed by the start-up, it is possible to not only track cognitive development of people through music, but also to help those suffering from cognitive disorders or diseases that affect these functions, e.g. cancer.


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Learning and Making Music Has Never Been So Easy or Fun



Gismart – a leading developer and publisher of entertainment focused apps and games – launched two new music educational apps on the AppStore: Go Drums and DJ it!. This is a new addition to Gismart’s portfolio of edutainment products, the first one being Hello Piano. Launched in 2018, Hello Piano has since been numerously featured among the best educational products by App Store editors in 80+ countries worldwide.


“After the success of Hello Piano, a quiz-style educational app for learning the piano, we were confident to continue our educational series. We focused on creating the right balance of theoretical modules and practical lessons through mini-games to help users dive into the drumming and DJing realms easily,” – says a Gismart representative.


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Learning the Guitar Made Easier Through Gamification



Like any skill worth having, learning a musical instrument takes time, effort and plenty of practice but it is fair to say that those who persist are well rewarded.  The benefits of music go well beyond the obvious – both children and adults also see improvement in areas such as concentration, memory and self-confidence.


The challenge for teachers is to keep students enjoying their classes and practicing in order to unlock these big wins and this is where technology can play a key role.


Music has been taught in a very traditional fashion for a very long time and there can be quite a degree of resistance to change when it comes to new teaching methods.


You only have to look at the early success of the Guitar Hero video game to see how motivating it can be to turn guitar music into a game. It’s a fact that humans love to play, love to win and learn better when doing so.  So how are guitar schools using this technology to good effect?


At The Guitar Dojo in South Morang gamified learning is being utilized in-class for general music studies and also during practice time at home.  The highly visual nature adds another fun angle to the learning process for topics such as rhythm and ear training and their interactive practice app helps to motivate and support students as they learn.


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40 Years Ago, the Sony Walkman Changed How We Listen to Music



The world changed on July 1st, 1979: the day that Sony released the iconic Walkman TPS-L2, the first real portable music player that would revolutionize the way we listened to music in a way that no other device really had ever done before. Boomboxes and portable radios had been around for a while, but the Walkman made portable music private, ushering in a whole new era of people listening to music away from home.


Forty years later and Walkmans aren’t exactly popular to use anymore (outside of things like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, anyway), but the sea change that the Walkman caused in our lives is more apparent than ever.


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Art and science project highlights importance of not blowing off STEAM




KALAMAZOO, Mich—Whether art imitates life or life imitates art is a question for philosophers to hash out. But that art imitates chemistry is no question in a unique collaboration at Western Michigan University.


The STEAM Collaboration project, funded in part by a grant from the Chemical Measurement and Instrumentation program of the National Science Foundation’s Chemistry Division, brings together students from the Gwen Frostic School of Art, WMU School of Music and Department of Chemistry. It challenges the groups to develop original works of art based on analysis by mass spectrometry.


“This is, as far as I know, the only event of its kind where students from visual art, music composition and chemistry collaborate so closely, in the sense that both the chemists and artists are involved throughout the entire process” says Dr. Andre Venter, an associate professor of chemistry who leads the project alongside Patrick Wilson, an associate professor of art and Dr. Lisa Coons, an assistant professor of composition.


“STEM students are not well prepared for the creative needs that a future career in science requires,” says Venter. “Too often our science students are trained to follow recipes, yet, to quote Albert Einstein, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.'”


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Top Tips to Engage Primary Pupils in Music Lessons




More so than ever, in recent years the focus on attainment and ‘teaching to the test’ has resulted in creative subjects being pushed to the peripheries of the education curriculum. A recent proposal by Ofsted, however, which looks at broadening the curriculum and inspecting the way lessons are delivered, has the potential to introduce these subjects back into the classroom and encourage pupils to embrace their creative flair.


Despite the educational funding crisis and workload pressures that you read about in the headlines, Glenn Carter, year 5 teacher and history lead at Ingleby Mill Primary School, wants to help inspire and educate the future generation. The first thing about engaging students, particularly primary school students, is creating memorable and enjoyable lessons. Teaching music can be a difficult task, and it’s important to find new and exciting ways to inspire the children to think about music on a wider scale and incorporate creativity and imagination into the core subjects. Using a Promethean ActivPanel as a focal point within the classroom, Glenn regularly creates songs and melodies with the help of his class to aid the children in remembering important information or difficult topics.


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Idaho Teacher Uses Computer Video Games to Teach Science




Most high schools do not use a video game to teach science. But this is how Jonathan Schaper teaches ninth-grade earth science in Lewiston, ID.  Ninth-graders from Lewiston are learning about earth science from interdisciplinary video games created by college professors. Lessons cover evolution and DNA as well as how to analyze data.


Project Hastur is the second game from Polymorphic Games based at the University of Idaho. The video game combines tower defense with evolutionary mutants to create a challenging game and an educational experience.


“Many high schoolers have a preconceived notion that a scientist is someone in a white lab coat. Many of my students have an interest in science but do not see how they can pursue it. Project Hastur shows students you can be a business major, a music major or a graphic designer and still be involved in science,” Schaper said in an interview with the Idaho Statesman.


Barrie Robinson and Terence Soule, professors at the University of Idaho in biological sciences and computer science, respectively, created the interdisciplinary video game with teams of undergraduate students in diverse degree programs.


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Project Hastur:


How One Bold Entrepreneur Is Disrupting Music Industry Career Education



If you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school. And if you want to be a doctor, it’s medical school. How about if you want to be a music industry professional?  That was the question Dwight Heckelman grappled with for years during his own successful career in the music industry. Dissatisfied with educational options for young people, Dwight decided to create his own. At Groove U, Dwight’s ambitious two-year entrepreneurship and apprenticeship-oriented program, students learn what it really takes to break into the music industry and build a successful career.


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Student’s Sound Sculptures Explore Intersection of Technology and Art




Dillon Bastan was instructed to draw for an art class – but instead he made his own invention.


Such projects are typical for the incoming fourth-year design media arts student, who said he uses his knowledge of programming and circuitry to make art with sound. His projects incorporate music from synthesizers and sounds from the spaces around him, or include gadgets repetitively creating noise through circuitry and audio interaction.


Bastan said an appreciation of nonmusical sounds and his passion for inventing led him to begin creating art in 2015 that combines the two.


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