A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a tweet (@MyMuCo) that talked about helping kids be more engaged in music practice.
As a teacher myself, of course I was interested, so I checked out the website.
The site, www.MyMuCo.com, is very friendly and has a video that explains the product. There are also posted reviews from respected publications on the home page.
The app has the following features:
- Lesson Planning
- Practice Planning
- Syncing with students
- Student profile
- Teacher calendar
- Student dashboard
- Teacher feedback
- Lesson library
I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Kuta and Ian Green from MyMuCo for my BAM Radio Network show, The Music Teacher's Resource Guide. Listen to the interview here, and read the summary from the interview below.
MyMuCo; a new Music Practice App
MyMuCo Inc. is a technology start up based near Toronto, Canada with a mission to strengthen the global community of musicians, to nurture new musical talent and to provide more resources to musicians with which they may pursue their passions.
The premise behind this resource is that kids need a community to help them accomplish goals. By involving parents and teachers in an engaging app, a musical community is born for that child, and practicing is not only fun, but there's also accountability.
Their mission statement is: “Inspiration for Kids, efficiency for teachers”
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Victoria Kuta and Ian Green about this app. Ian is one of the co-founders of the app, and Victoria is in charge of sales and marketing.
This product is an iPad based music learning system for private music teachers and their students. The MyMuCo Kids app provides children aged 6-13 with a fun and engaging virtual environment in which to learn, practice and perform music, and at the same time allows their parents and music teachers to be fully involved in the process. The learning system includes a corresponding MyMuCo Teacher app for music teachers containing extensive tools for studio management, and which seamlessly integrates with MyMuCo Kids, allowing teachers to streamline lesson planning and student practice management.
After doing extensive marketing research, Victoria found that there were 3 main areas that were important to music teachers: students' practice frequency, students' practice efficacy and communication between students, parents and the music teacher.
Essentially, teachers sign up for an account (there's a FREE 14 day trial period) and email their students a code to sign up and also be able to sync the accounts. Students log in to the app and record their practice (what they worked on, how long, and most importantly, how THEY felt about their session). Through the app's Dashboard feature, the teacher can see all the data the student inputted for the week in terms of what they worked on and what difficulties they may have had with the assignment.
The emotional data that the student reports is very important. For some students, it is harder to express their emotions face-to-face to an adult. However, recording them on an app is less scary, and in some ways, more accurate as to how the student is feeling. Visually seeing how they are feeling may also motivate them to “change that frown upside down.”
How does MyMuCo engage the student to practice?
The engaging part for the student is similar to a video game experience. The app is very colorful, and the student can create (and earn) avatars. Basically, the student can earn points based upon the completion of tasks assigned by the teacher. He/she uses the app as a digital recorder of what has been accomplished throughout the week. Points can be thought of as digital currency; students can “buy” a variety of prizes, including exciting avatars.
The key point is that the student has to work for a few weeks in order to earn certain prizes. This allows the teacher to create long-term and short-term goals, and teaches the student how to properly practice over time. This creates value in the long term plan and teaches the importance of regular practice.
How does this music practice app improve communication between parents and teachers?
The app has an email feature where the teacher can send the assignment to the parent (or really any interested 3rd party, like the school music teacher) so that the parent knows what their child should be working on. Many parents have not had a musical experience when they were younger, so they may not know how to help their child or what to expect. This communication feature can help teachers communicate with parents to in turn help them focus their child's practice.
This email feature is great too for the school music teacher (if the private teacher so chooses) to see what the student is working on and to get feedback on the student's progress from the private teacher. Many times, school music teachers may not see certain students regularly due to academic conflicts. This communication can provide information on the student's progress, especially during Solo Festival season.
How do I know my students are reporting truthfully?
Playing devil's advocate, couldn't the students just lie when they report what they've done or how they are feeling?
As music teachers, we know when students are not practicing, or practicing properly. This app is based upon the honor system, but based on results thus far, Victoria and Ian have found that the students have reported truthfully. Because the app is visual, students can see their progress and will be inspired to complete the tasks so that they can not only feel better, but also start to hear improvements in their own playing. Once they start seeing and hearing progress, the students become more energized to practice.
By those teachers using the app, it's been reported that those students using MyMuCo have progressed 30% more than those students not using the app.
Right now, the MyMuCo app is only available on iPad. In the future, there are plans to expand to Android devices.
SPECIAL OFFER FOR NEW SUBSCRIBERS TO MY SITE!!!
If you are a new subscriber to my site, you will receive a FREE 4 month subscription to the MyMuCo Teacher App, which entitles you and 5 of your students to try out this exciting fun resource.
This offer ends May 15, 2015!
Sign up by clicking on this special link.
- Listen to the full interview on my BAM Radio Network Music Teacher's Resource Guide show here.
- Subscribe to my website by May 15, 2015 using this special link to get a FREE 4 month subscription to the MyMuCo Teacher App.
- What are some ways you are able to get young musicians to practice regularly? I would love to know – please let me know in the Comments below!
- Want more tips to inspire students to practice? Check out these articles, and sign up over there on the right to get a FREE video on the 1 Tip That Can Give You an Edge at Your Next Audition.