Canadian Startup Singspiel Wants to Revolutionize Music Education by Motivating Students

Meet Singspiel, a fourth-year design project turned music education startup.

Having just earned their degree in Systems Design from the University of Waterloo, the duo behind Singspiel has already covered ample ground in the startup world. Along with winning an award for best entrepreneurship at the Engineering Symposium at the University of Waterloo, Singspiel has also incubated with Communitech Hub’s VeloCity Garage before joining the accelerator track with JOLT at MaRS.

After chatting with co-founders Ivan Cheung and Arian Rahbari, they told Techvibes about their plans to revolutionize music education by motivating students to stay the course on their pursuit of musical mastery.

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Here’s a basic overview on how it works: Singspiel is a browser-based tool for music students where users can download the song that they’re currently tackling from an extensive library. As they play into a microphone, Singspiel’s algorithms crunch the data and will notify the student if they’ve played a note wrong, make suggestions (which include playing it slower or playing it again) or give the option to hear how someone else would play it.

“It’s all based on the ideals of psychology, motivation and why people quit,” elaborates Ivan on the problem most students have with practicing: “one major issue is scheduling, as a lot of kids have trouble fitting in time between sports programs and math tutoring. So instead of having parents track their practice times, Singspiel does it for them.”

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As a result, parents and teachers are also benefiting from the Singspiel platform as they can easily compile status reports of the student’s learning progress. By graphing all the practice-generated data, Singspiel is able to visually demonstrate to the student that practice does indeed make perfect.

Along with adding the element of motivation, Arian adds that Singspiel aims to maintain the student-teacher connection in between lessons, as students are likely to continually reinforce mistakes over and over again when they’re left to their own devices.

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“Many times, students aren’t sure about the specific areas of mistakes that they’re having trouble with,” explains Arian, “ so we’re trying to bridge the gap between the teacher and the student at home – if [Singspiel is] on their mobile device, it’s like their teacher is always in their pocket.”

Along with catering to students, parents and teachers, Singspiel is also working in conjunction with music schools in offering the next level of add-ons to current service offerings. While their initial focus is on empowering piano teachers and students within the music institutional space, Ivan and Arian plan on extending the Singspiel reach to the general public by late summer of 2013. 

Photo: MaRS