Instant Musician Turns Your iPhone Into An AR Piano Instructor

Learn how to play piano using just your iPhone and a crisp one dollar bill. 

Instant Musician, previously only being available as a Microsoft HoloLens app, has now made its way to iOS, offering users a way to learn proper piano skills using their smart phones. 

Using a dollar bill on your piano mantle as a marker for your cell phone camera, the app registers the AR components and visualizes the song in long bars above each key.

The app was designed by Music Everywhere, an AR music studio based in both Pittsburgh and New York dedicated to developing music education applications for Microsoft Hololens and mobile AR. In little over a year, the project has quickly grown from a simple idea by students at Carnegie Mellon, into an app for both the Microsoft HoloLens, as well as Apple iOS.

Founder Seth Glickman was initially inspired to develop the app as a way to teach wanna-be pianists who  didn’t have the time for formal piano lessons or would benefit from having solo lessons.

“We would like to find a way to involve people [who don’t enjoy piano lessons] without necessarily competing with mentored learning, which we strongly believe in,” said Glickman, “but to give an alternative path and to give a tool.”

The HoloLens app works similar to how a professional teacher would instruct their student, blending both conventional, structured lessons with improvisation and classical theory.

Currently, the iPhone app lacks a majority of the components featured in its headset counterpart. Instead, Instant Musician operates more like a game of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, displaying easy-to-follow visualizations of what keys to play and for how long using your iPhone’s camera. This allows for a portable learning solution in which users can play piano without the need of physical sheet music. The app is available now via the App Store. Users can also purchase additional songbooks to learn even more tunes. 

Glickman has also expressed interest in expanding their software to include more instruments in the near future, bringing AR education to even more aspiring musicians.

While it might be a bit cumbersome performing a piece while simultaneously holding an iPhone, the app could still prove an excellent resource for performers of any skill level looking to master a basic melody or pattern. Instant Musician expands the accessibility of learning how to play piano by delivering easy-to-navigate instructional software right from your smart phone device.

Image Credit: Music Everywhere, Inc.

About the Scout

Allison Hollender

Allison is a Bay Area journalist reporting for VRScout. Follow her attempts at jokes @alleyrenee16.

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