Microsoft Ventures Accelerator graduate Skoove was created to offer a fun and effective, always available platform for learning one of the world’s most beloved instruments.
The music learning platform will be the first of its kind, offering interactive online piano lessons. Skoove operates through any web browser to deliver a library of expertly designed, software driven lessons, controlled via connecting a keyboard or e-piano to a computer. The app gives aspiring and returning pianists real time feedback on their progress, adapting to their pace as they advance.
The venture was founded in August 2014 by two industry professionals with some serious background knowledge. Stephan Schulz was one of the founders of Raumfeld, a company that perfected the wireless multi-room hifi system. Dr Florian Penge spent 10 years at Native Instruments, turning its Traktor line into the world’s most popular DJ platform.
Skoove works through any modern web browser with an e-piano or keyboard connected via USB. A version for acoustic pianos that makes use of devices’ internal microphones is currently in development, and is slated for release later this year.
Targeted primarily at beginner piano students aged 12 and older, the platform’s course curriculum has been developed and curated by Dominik Schirmer, a former lecturer at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
It not only incorporates a wide spectrum of popular music favorites, but also makes use of games that teach music theory and note reading. Skoove’s method breaks down popular songs, and accompanying theory into easy interactive steps in a way that teaches traditional piano-lesson methods in a modern software-based format. It’s an ideal set-up for the novice musician, and the truly motivated will be playing melodies within a few hours.
“We have designed Skoove to combine the best elements of a live tutor – giving real time feedback and adapting to the student – with all the convenience of the web, being available anywhere 24/7, and at a fraction of the price,” commented Dr Florian Plenge, Skoove cofounder and CEO. “61% of the people in the US, UK, Australia, and Germany would like to learn a musical instrument, but currently only a fraction actually do*. With Skoove, we hope to make that dream a reality for anyone with access to a computer and desire to learn.”
“With the support of world-renowned research organization, Fraunhofer IDMT (led by the inventor of the MP3), we have developed our own algorithm; ‘web-based polyphonic real time pitch validation’. This compares the frequency of the student’s input audio with the notes that should be played in order to estimate the likelihood that the student audio matches the target score,” said Schulz. “Our patent-pending control of the app via users’ keys allows students to always stay focused on the piano and minimises distractions.”
Skoove becomes accessible to the public from September 15th, and once users sign up through the Skoove homepage, they can access their unique profiles via any supporting device and web browser, with their progress and repertoire stored to be resumed at will. The service is free to use during the public beta period, and thereafter will offer subscriptions of between 5 and 10 euros per month when the full commercial launch takes place later this year. Skoove is currently available worldwide in English and German, with more languages to follow shortly.