As students of music will doubtless agree, music theory can be a bit, well, dry. It's certainly not as memorable or interesting as getting to grips with an actual instrument, but it is rewarding. The education wing of instrument amplification titan Orange Amps has announced what's billed as the first truly interactive music theory teaching tool in the world. The Orange Musicboard has been designed to engage students both visually and aurally, and is set to make music theory class rock.
Orange Music Education's take on the interactive white board is a little different to examples we've seen from the likes of LG and Smart Technologies. For one thing, the wall-mountable, height-adjustable Musicboard has an in-display physical piano keyboard to the top with 61 weighted keys and four different instrument sounds to choose from. This allows teachers to demonstrate hand positions and note locations.
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There's a large digital tuner for voice or acoustic instruments to the top right, under which is a box for class notes. The rest of the display is dominated by three staves. The current key is displayed to the left of each staff and music notation can be transposed across treble, alto, tenor and bass clefs. A built-in metronome can be programmed and activated to help keep time.
Patented note-detecting wands allow teachers to point to notes written on the three available staves with a marker pen and have them played through the Musicboard's stereo speakers to the class. This means that students can learn major and minor scales, chords, harmonies and short compositions by reading the notation and hearing what the music is supposed to sound like all in one place. Up to three wireless wands can be used simultaneously across all three staves.
The Musicboard doesn't rely on external computer processing for operation, but is built is around integrated Intel microprocessors and software algorithms, though teachers can pair a smartphone with the Musicboard over Bluetooth for playback of music to accompany a lesson or just provide a backing beat. Electric guitarists can plug directly into the jack at the side of the Musicboard and output via its speakers, and even dial in some distortion if required.
After testing, tweaking and refining the technology with the help of more than 40 teachers for over 4 years, Orange Music Education says that its Musicboard teaching tool is now ready for launch. There's no word on pricing or availability at the moment, but visitors to the NAMM Show can see it in action at the Orange Amps booth.
The introduction video below shows the Musicboard in action.
Source: Orange Music Education