What did the world of music performance, sight reading, and ensemble practice do before the time of the tablet? Printed off lots of paper and carried around gigantic folders, that’s what!
Mobile devices have truly revolutionized the sheer convenience factor of giant folder days past. Beyond that though, the technology has led to so much more. Programs that not only save trees but allow for rewinding through music, scrutinizing technique, and probably most helpful, isolating parts and boosting the effective factor of time devoted to practice, which is a mindset that any budding music student needs to hear early on. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality.
Well, over time, software with this kind of mission has exploded onto the global music tech scene. Apps like Jammit for rockers and Cadenza for the conservatory student in all of us, are designed to support players trying to learn music.
Now joining the ranks of these educational and technological efforts is Part Play – a program that is similarly geared toward music isolation and idiosyncratic practice capability. However, what makes this newly launched, now Kickstarter-fueled project different, is in the program taking the focus away from simply looking at scrolling notes and focusing more on everything else that goes into playing as part of a group – most notably in that of quartets and smaller ensembles – an aspect likely to appeal greatly to high school or university students with both curriculum and independent side performance ambitions.
Created and developed by professional violinists Philip Aird (Royal Ballet Sinfonia) and Steve Bingham (Bingham String Quartet), Part Play is a simply presented but impressively powerful program that combines expertly performed live performance video reference recordings (executed by some of the UK’s most esteemed quartets and ensembles) and precise tools of control for things like: tempo, looping and, of course, muting or soloing specific instruments within the full group. Access to supplementary benefits like a growing community of player-users and the convenience of two-click reach to get started working with any piece of one’s choice certainly helps illuminate the possibilities!
Right now, Part Play carries a widely assorted catalog of more than 50 movements from compositions that cross several time periods and composers with many more revered compositions in the works for the future through the help of Kickstarter.
Prepping for a formal launch on 10 June 2016, Part Play’s Kickstarter is currently running with an objective goal of $14,524 USD (£10,000 GBP) in funding and 29 days to reach it. The backer perks are pretty darn exciting, expanding from a straightforward subscription for Part Play, to high-grade necessities for violinists/cellists, studio time with Aird and Bingham to see behind the scenes, passes the intimate launch party, and even a chance to have one’s own composition recorded for addition into the Part Play library! Check out the full Kickstarter promo video below.
Those out there who might feel this tool is narrowly aimed toward string players need not worry: Other future aspirations for Part Play include the desire to integrate wind parts for reach into a larger pool of applicable compositions and the ability to bring Part Play’s technology to more musicians.