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Are holographic teachers the future of music education?

Laura  Barnes
Are holographic teachers the future of music education?

It wasn’t too long ago that our vision of what the near future would look like consisted of robots and machines helping humans go about their daily lives, serving them at restaurants, and even providing companionship.

Most of these ideas have been explored to death in cinema and TV, and quite worryingly, a lot of the time the stories end in disaster, with machines rising up to kill off humanity with their superhuman strength and what not.

Perhaps that’s why virtual reality and holograms are being explored a lot more, providing a slightly less terrifying way for humans to use artificial intelligence to better their lives, ya know, without the worry that things might get all Terminator-ish.

A new app developed for Microsoft’s HoloLens is aiming to bring holograms to musical education.
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Teomirn is the world’s first virtual reality piano teacher, which can be projected into your home, classroom, or anywhere you have an instrument set up.

Using a HoloLens headset, students can watch the virtual teacher play, sit alongside them, and even watch their technique from over their holographic shoulder.

The app features various modes, including a set of disembodied hands that play at your own keyboard while you sit in front of it and watch. You can also have the hands play a virtual keyboard positioned just above your own, so you can follow along on your real keyboard and mimic their movement.

Having the full-bodied teacher mode helps students understand how posture and arm position play a role in the performance.

The app lets you choose from a virtual library of songs, then watch as the teacher plays your chosen melody. The virtual hands light up keys as they play – green for the left hand, blue for the right – and coloured lines stream steadily down toward the keys to indicate which notes are coming up.

The great thing about this is that if one particular mode isn’t working for you, you can pause at any time and change learning modes, as well as rewind tricky parts of the music.

Despite still being in its early stages – as is the world of virtual and augmented reality – Teomirn is already showing a lot of promise, opening up the opportunity for learning the piano to people no matter where they are in the world.

A future where every child in a music lesson is able to get individual, expert guidance and technique training at exactly the same time sounds fantastic. But I believe we are still a long way off this technology becoming commonplace in schools and at home.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is still a pricey piece of equipment that hasn’t even had its retail release yet. While developers and businesses are able to get their hands on a headset for £2,000+, we currently don’t know exactly what a consumer price will be. Chances are, it won’t be cheap.

As well as all of this, there are of course always benefits to having a real-life person teaching you an instrument and I’m not sure a hologram will be able to answer all the many questions students will have about certain techniques and concepts.

I think it's safe to say human music teachers are pretty safe... for now, at least.

Check out the Teomirn in action in the video below:

Tags: education , piano , Opinion , virtual reality , HoloLens , Teomirn , piano teachers , holograms

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