One important pearl of wisdom garnered from coaching youth baseball is that it is really difficult to teach a 5 year-old, but every once in a while it is possible to trick him into learning. At that age, the most important thing is to make the activity fun and the skills will follow. Zivix takes this approach to help people teach themselves how to play the guitar.
The Jamstik+ is a Bluetooth guitar that interacts with an app on an iOS or Android device or computer apps, such as Apple’s GarageBand, providing opportunities to practice and to play. The app interacts with the guitar to become a virtual teacher. As Chris Heille, Musician Specialist, at Zivix demonstrates in the above video filmed at International CES2016, the app shows the student proper finger placement and adjusts its timing to ensure the finger position is in the right place.
When in arcade mode, it works in a way that is similar to a game console. The important difference, instead of playing guitar with a game controller, the student is using an instrument with real strings and frets. Heille points out that the power of this is that, “The cool thing about working with arcade mode is that you are playing with rhythm, muscle memory and music.”
This is important as Zivix claims that 90% of people who take traditional guitar lessons quit within the first year. Heille indicates that 60 to 70% of those using the Jamstik are using it as a learning tool. Over time the data gathered from millions of sessions will be valuable for improving the app as a teaching tool.
Heille points out they have found that this type of teaching is more time-efficient that traditional methods. And, it isn’t exclusively self-teaching, as they have program to help educators leverage the technology. It seems like the technique of displaying the notes on a screen might even trick one into learning how to read music. If the few minutes this author spent with the Jamstik+ are an indication, then Zivix has hit its target of making it fun to learn and play the guitar.