In an email interview conducted earlier this week, Gary Turner, CEO of LearnToPlayMusic.com shared the latest on the new Apollo-M, on-demand, music lesson database integration coming to the website's toolkit. Set to launch in the 2nd quarter of 2015, Apollo-M aims to make music lessons accessible to anyone who has an interest in learning to play. Whether you're a aspiring musician or an advanced player, Turner believes “Apollo-M really is the next evolution in music learning, teaching and playing."
The following Q&A was a written interview with Mr. Turner taking place on November 5, 2014.
Q: What was the driving force behind founding LearnToPlayMusic.com?
A: I was teaching Guitar and I thought that most of the teaching materials available at the time weren't really that great-particuarly for modern guitarists. So I decided to write my own guitar lesson book. This 1st book was quite successful (and went on to sell 6 million copies) and this led to over 250 other book titles covering more guitar genres and styles as well as a aid variety of other popular instruments.
Q: What does Apollo-M bring to the table for LearnToPlayMusic.com users?
A: Apollo-M provides users with unlimited access to all music learning content -and more- for $4.95 a month. This includes thousands of audio and video lessons, ebooks, songs, jam tracks, music tools and digital sheet music covering every musical instrument, genre, style, experience level and age. All lessons can be streamed and cached for later use –even offline, when and wherever they want.
It will also give musicians all the digital tools they need to learn, play, practice and write their own music, including Multi-track Recording & Mixing, Songwriter's Assistant, Chord & Scale Finder, Backing Tracks, Tuner and Drum Beats. Apollo-M will also connect like minded musicians worldwide and also help students find music teachers via on demand live video, one-on-one, anytime, anywhere. Apollo-M will also give users access to over 350,000 Sheet Music Titles, Books, Musical Instruments and Accessories.
One of the advanced features will be interactive music performance analysis and feedback software featuring 3-D game like music instrument graphics. Users plug their instrument directly into their Tablet, smartphone or laptop and play along to get an instant score on how well they have played the piece of music.
Q: What is the benefit of an Apollo-M subscription vs. tutorials that are already openly available on platforms like YouTube?
A: Because there is so much unvetted content on YouTube, and as it not necessarily uploaded by skilled players or teachers - it's not all good. Finding quality content can be quite time-consuming and difficult, particularly for a beginning player. Also the material on YouTube in general is not presented in a logical fashion and quite often can contain a minefield incorrect information. Apollo-M will provide all carefully graded lessons and courses all in the one place-the Apollo-M App. All Apollo-M content can be downloaded, cached, compartmentalised and modified by the user for use online or off-line. On any platform. Anytime Anywhere.
Q: How do the lessons work? Are there specific courses for different lessons of musicians or is it more a la carte styles for individual lessons?
A: All the lessons are divided into courses covering all popular instruments (e.g. guitar, bass, drums, piano, harmonica, saxophone, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, wind and brass instruments, strings) and genres such as rock, pop, country, blues, jazz, classical an concert band. We also give guidance, recommendations and learning plans depending upon the age, ability,goals and preferecnes of the user.
Q: What role does your social media integration play in Apollo-M?
A: One of the features of Apollo-M is called Apollo-M Connect which is a social network focused on connecting a worldwide community of musicians with other learning musicians as well as music professionals and will provide educators and students a platform to upload, share, discuss and customize their own and Apollo-M content, lessons, courses and teaching methods. Students will also be able to use the platform for feedback from teachers and their peers. Their content will be organized in a comprehensive category structure per Instrument, style, genre, age and standard of playing. Tutorials, journals, polls, groups, teaching portfolios, user profiles, Band pages and a place to meet other musicians to form a band will also be a feature.
As Apollo-M continues to grow, Turner intends to work closely with music teachers, schools, studios, associations, an other industry professionals to be sure they are providing the best resources possible to subscribers. He plans to offer a discounted rate for educators and students and wil be establish a revenue-sharing model for contributors as well as a pay-per-view royalty program.
"We want everyone in the music community to have the opportunity to be involved and share in the rewards,” Turner added. “In the coming weeks, we will be launching an Indiegogo campaign, allowing everyone to be directly involved in Apollo-M’s continuing development. We will be offering some really cool and exclusive perks to support the platform, and giving anyone that contributes a piece of the action.” The crowdfunding campaign is set to launch on Monday, November 24th.