The goal of learning a new instrument is the sort of bucket list item that all too often stays in said bucket. Maybe you bought a guitar a while back and noodled around on it for a few days, before placing it in the closet to gather dust. But a new French startup called Jellynote wants to change all that by making the process more like a video game.
The service provides you with the sheet music for thousands of songs, and uses the microphone on your computer or smartphone to gamify the process of learning an instrument, scoring you based on the percentage of correct notes you play for piano, bass, sax, violin, trumpet, or guitar.
“There are three key challenges when you learn to play an instrument,” Jellynote co-founder Baptiste Poirer told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “You need to find content, learn how to read it and stay motivated.”
The Jellynote process seems brilliantly simple. If you want to learn John Legend’s “All of Me,” for instance, you can pull up the sheet music (or guitar tabs), and then choose one of three modes: ‘listen,’ ‘learn’ and ‘practice.’
In listening mode, you can hear the song and follow along as the app highlights the current notes being played. In learning mode, Jellynote listens to the note you’re playing and waits for you to play the right note. In practice mode, you play along with the song after you’ve learned the notes.
Creating an account and engaging listen mode on Jellynote are free, but the learn and practice modes require signing up for a premium account. A premium account will run you $10 for one month, but Jellynote also offers discounts for longer subscriptions, priced at $8 per month for a 6-month subscription, and $5 per month for a full year.
The app itself is quite extensive, featuring user profile pages with your saved song scores, as well as the ability to follow and message other users. Jellynote also offers integration with YouTube cover videos, analyzing the audio track and synchronizing it with the song’s score. Jellynote’s primary selling point, though, is in its Guitar Hero-like practice model, which will keep you coming back again and again to try and beat your high score.
The program is available on the web, Android, and iOS and is currently still in beta.