VirtuosoXR! Rhythm Learning App made at MIT Reality Hack
VirtuosoXR is a music education platform that uses spatial computing and ethnomusicological methods for learning context and performance. Performing music is one the greatest joys in the world, but many people do not have access to great musical education or encounter a frustrating learning process that leads them to eventually give up. By augmenting makeshift tabletop surfaces and real instruments (such as drums and guitars), we can create an intuitive and tactile platform for music education.
Outside of the classroom, Virtuoso XR is a fun way to learn an instrument, but inside the classroom, we can offer teachers, parents, and students new ways of mastering the fundamentals of musical performance. It is our goal to not only teach musical, mathematical, and cultural concepts, but to increase the agency a student feels when approaching learning, so that after spending time on Virtuoso XR, they feel empowered to create their own music.
We built a tiny slice of this vision for the hackathon, in the form of a series of lessons designed teach rhythmic concepts from cultures around the world. Our app creates virtual drum targets aligned with a real tabletop, and provides intuitive spatial cues for players to use to hit the targets in time with a series of samba rhythms. After learning about the instrument that produces the sound, they are tasked with performing the rhythm directly on the table. Our experience was inspired by the simplicity and accessibility of Time Unit Box System, a method used by Ethnomusicologists to teach rhythm to musicians without western musical training in reading notation.
We eventually hope to expand our app to support a wide array of instruments, song content, and lesson packs. We also hope to use volumetric performances from master musicians to provide another layer authentic and intuitive learning to our platform. This is just the beginning!