Growing up, I used to think that music was not my thing, and people needed to be born with talent in order to play music. This idea lasted for a few decades, when until one day, I happened to know that one of my colleagues was taking vocal classes. His experience struck a chord in me: I might not be born music-talented, but what stopped me from learning it?
It was then I started to pick up vocal classes and piano lessons myself, and I was thrilled like a kid going to a theme park for the first time. While I was nowhere near a professional musician, what came to me as most important is the enjoyment and the feeling of being immersive in music, not just listening or watching.
Bringing music to life with education
When we think of Music, Education and Technology, these are three things that rarely come together. To be frank, Music and Education are complex enough on their own. Learning music is more than just a cognitive process and it requires guidance, stimulation and feedback on several other aspects such as posture, psychomotor skills or emotion expression. This is the reason why many people believe that it’s impossible for technology to replace a music teacher. It’s true that the extent of how much technology can participate in music education is limited by how much learners’ data can the edtech platform collect and process. With the advancement of technology, especially sound and image AI, this is becoming more feasible than we could imagine.
Music Education Technology has been growing rapidly in the past decades thanks to the growth of internet penetration and declining cost of high speed connectivity. This would then reduce the cost of connected devices (especially in developing countries), and the advancement of technology in parallel. All of these external factors allowed learners to quickly access learning materials and instructions anytime and anywhere. We estimate that the global music instrument education is valued at 10.6 billion USD, which will constantly grow and evolve with complex approaches to provide the most values to eager learners.
In my opinion, there are two fields of technology that I believe will contribute and change the Music Edtech industry tremendously:
AI/ML: although AI isn’t new, AI is being used to improve education and therefore this piece of technology will continue to augment the work of the educators. Real-time audio and visual recognition allow music edtech solutions to capture and enrich learning data. This will help in moving authentic personalized learning to the next level. It will also re-energize students by offering them opportunities to select what they learn and how they wish to learn it.
AR/VR: these immersive technologies have benefitted the education sector by helping students learn complex problems with the help of lifelike examples. Likewise in music education, the possible applications are enormous. For example, AR can help learners practice on an augmented instrument anywhere when they have some spare time. Or VR can make remote music instrument learning more efficient, by allowing learners to project themselves, communicate and interact with the instructor seamlessly.
Our journey in Music Edtech
While most players currently aim to bring music education from offline to online, we had a different approach when it comes to this industry. Other than just bringing music online, the personalisation aspect was very important to us as well. Keeping close to our hearts that everyone is unique with their own music preference, prior knowledge, goal and musicality, our ambition is to offer a personalized learning path to each learner. This is so that they will just learn what they like in a way that is most efficient.
The journey to this has not been easy, and there were big challenges to this. One of the biggest challenges for our approach is the novelty of it, thus resulting in little know-how or reference that we can rely on. It is essential for us to be super agile to quickly test and validate our hypotheses and assumptions in designing our learning approaches.
Personally, while working in Music Edtech didn’t change me much, it had reinforced my belief of being user-centric. This mindset is important in any product. However, as a Music Edtech platform, we need to connect with users even more than ever, to understand who they are, what they need and design a learning plan that they are excited to pursue. It’s not that a big deal if we recommend a wrong shopping item, but learners are going to struggle (and start doubting themselves) if we give them an inappropriate lesson.
Everyone can music
My colleague, who had inspired me to pick up music classes, eventually went on and co-founded Amanotes (where I’m currently working) with the slogan “Everyone can music”. This vision touched my heart the very first time I heard it, because I was sure that there were millions of people out there who had shared the same thought with the old me – afraid to pick up music and reluctant to its perceived “difficulty”. It’s precisely because I had such an experience and shift of thoughts myself, that I connected with this, and believed that Music Edtech will be able to democratize music, enabling anyone and everyone to be part of this amazing art of sound.
If there was something that I could say to others out there, it would be: The possibilities are endless; the only limit is our imagination. The field is still green and we need more explorers to bring music to every corner of the earth.
Lisa Nguyen is the General Manager of Amanotes Music Education with a mission to make music learning personal for every learners and enable them to achieve their musical dream faster and easier. Prior to Amanotes, she was the CEO of Chotot.com, the number 1 C2C marketplace in Vietnam, where she led the team to deliver strong user and financial growth even in challenging time and drove Chotot to profitability 1 year ahead of plan. Known as an empowering leader, Lisa embraces changes and endeavors to foster a culture which all members can reach their highest potential.
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