TECHNOLOGY Want to learn classical music any time and any where, at your pace? Check out Team Levitum’s Musiguru app. SAVITHA GAUTAM
What happens when six friends, who are geeks and share a passion for classical music, brain-storm? They toss new ideas at each other and see if one of those can be turned into a real project. It was during one such innovative sessions that the mobile and web music application, Musiguru, was created.
The friends in question – Lavanya Gopinath, Aravind Krishnaswamy, Aditya Shankar, Rajaram Kannan, Vishnu Ratheesh and Vinu Thomas – form the core team of Levitum Software Labs, a Bengaluru-based mobile cloud start-up that builds engaging apps on the iOS and Android platform.
Technology has lent a fresh twist to the Chennai’s Margazhi Season, and that’s what makes such apps noteworthy. Talking about Musiguru and its genesis, the young Levitum spokespersons Lavanya and Aravind (the latter had flown down from Bengaluru for this interview), say, “While music holds a special place in our hearts, the hectic pace of our lives today leaves most of us with little time for music. Nine out of 10 people nurse a deep desire to sing better or play a new instrument, but can’t. We pondered over this often. That’s when this idea struck us… How about creating something that allows you to learn music anytime, any place and at your pace? From that ‘Aha!’ moment was born Musiguru.”
The app is currently available on Apple Store and its second version has just been launched. And already 1,000 users have tried it.
What’s unique about this app? Aravind explains: “Musiguru offers a step by step approach to learning. Here a user is taken through a guided progression: instruction, practice and evaluation. There is the Karaoke feature, which is a Picture-In-Picture learning experience that enables students to record themselves while also watching the lyrics (or the instructor performing).”
Another interesting aspect is that users can access multiple music courses through a single app. At present, Musiguru offers modules designed by tabla maestro Muthu Kumar (a disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Husain), Priya Kalyanpur, a Hindustani vocalist and bhajan singer, and Carnatic vocalist Padma Krishnaswamy. Reiterating the fact that Musiguru cannot replace a guru, only augment the learning process, Aravind and Lavanya along with the Levitum team are trying to get many more top-ranking musicians/gurus to contribute to the app. “We are planning to have a stall in one of the sabhas during the Season, and hope to pitch our ideas to as many people as possible.”
But how does Team Levitum plan to get across to more users when the app is only available on Apple Store? “While the app works now only on iPads, iPods and the Mac, we will soon make it available for Android and Web.”
Aravind and Lavanya say, “An artist can reach out to a wider audience through in-person training, go global, keep track of what students are doing anywhere in the world, use the social media networks (Facebook, Twitter) to interact, upload additional modules automatically over time and definitely build a larger user base.”
As Aravind and Lavanya talk about their new creation, their enthusiasm and rapport are palpable. Says Aravind, “Rajaram and I started this company three years ago. Soon we roped in the others. Believe me, every morning is new and so much fun! Raj is in Hyderabad, Lavanya in Chennai, and the rest of us are in Bengaluru. We spend most of our time video conferencing and every small step in improving the app is a moment of joy, triumph.”
Those interested in contributing to or downloading this free and user-friendly app can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.musiguru.in