Israeli startup merges music and algorithms to make practice a pleasure

Tonara’s latest version of its musical app increases student’s practice time and helps teachers manage their business

Tonara in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Tonara in action (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli startup Tonara has decided it wants to change the way music is taught, by combining notes, some of which are hundreds of years old, with cutting edge technologies that make students want to practice their instruments.

The company, founded in 2008, has developed an interactive app to help prospective musicians learn how to play and to let them practice their skills while receiving feedback on their work. On Monday, the company said it has released a new version of its musical app that it says increases the music students’ practice time and helps music teachers effectively manage the business side of the profession.

The idea behind Tonara is to help motivate young music players to practice music, even when students might not find the practicing itself rewarding. The new Tonara 360 version has a number of new features.

Through the “Teacher’s Zone,” teachers will be able to assign two types of practice assignments. One option is for teachers to assign students a certain amount of time they must play per day, and when students complete their assignments, the teacher receives a notification saying so. The other option is for teachers to send their students recordings of pieces of music, and through algorithm-based technology, the app grades the students’ performance based on rhythm, pitch, and tempo, and offers feedback.

Finally, the “Teacher’s Zone” will allow teachers to collect payments. The first stage of this is already available. Of the $39 per month students pay for Tonara 360, $20 will go to the music teacher as compensation for time spent working outside of music lessons. The second stage, which will allow teachers to collect payments for their frontal music lessons, is still in the works.

Both teachers and students need to download the app. Once a teacher decides to use Tonara 360, the teacher adds the student to his app, and the student receives an invitation to join. If the student accepts in the invitation, the teacher and student become automatically connected. From there, the teacher can send the student assignments.

In addition, the company, which is based in Tel Aviv, will allow the user to access its entire music catalog for an additional monthly cost of $9.90. This allows students to practice from more than one thousand music pieces, spanning from classical music to pop, and receive feedback from the app. The basic version of the app only had around 200 pieces of recorded music.

“By using technology to help teachers more easily provide feedback and guidance to students, as well as providing students with the right environment to effectively learn how to play music, we are fixing music education by bringing joy back into the process, encouraging and supporting students to pursue their dreams of becoming musicians,”  said CEO Ohad Golan in a statement.

In 2015, Chinese Internet giant Baidu, along with its Israeli venture capital partner Carmel Ventures, said it was investing $5 million in the Israeli startup.

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