Interview with JoyTunes Co-Creator Yuval Kaminka

screenshot-joytunes-2Yuval Kaminka may very well be the face of music education in the modern world. Traditional music lessons are old news. In this electronic era, even learning to play piano can be done on your iPad!

Kaminka is the co-developer of JoyTunes, a company that creates apps to teach people how to play musical instruments. JoyTunes has reached number one in the children’s education section of iTunes and won multiple awards, a feet all the more impressive considering its extremely limited marketing budget.

The idea for the app started after Kaminka noticed children’s dedication and aptitude for playing games on electronics. After witnessing a child persevere through a video game, only to arguing with his mom about putting the time in to practice piano, he realized he wanted to combine this dedication kids are clearly capable of with the mastery of instruments. In his words, he set out to create “very fun, very addictive, very easy to use tools for people who want to learn to play musical instruments.”

Kaminka is a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces and comes from a computer science background. . He brought in a tech-savvy friend to work with him on JoyTunes.

Unlike many music apps which simply feature virtual keyboards, JoyTunes allows you to put your device next to a piano. It registers what you are playing on the actual, real-life keyboard and gives you feedback. For apps, the company has both Piano Dust Buster, named because it gets the dust off your unused household piano, and Piano Maestro, which is “a service for people who want to learn to play piano.” Despite its electronic nature, it is built so you can work with a teacher. Both apps have a large selection of books, song, and exercises.

The game tries to match up traditional game goals with music education. When you play well, you get stars, points, and new avatars like in any other video game. The game concept can incorporate many real musical instruments beyond the piano, including saxophones, violins, pianos, guitars, flutes, and recorders.

Kaminka says that one of the major struggles with the app is actually its uniqueness. Because it’s so unlike the other music and piano apps out there, it can be difficult to get people to understand what the app truly is and does. Thankfully, JoyTunes has a few aces in the hole in the form of its investors, which include both the former CEO of Steinway, the famous piano company, and the CEO and Co-founder of Harmonix, the makers of Rockband. Kaminka describes JoyTunes as sitting at the “crossroads” of these two worlds.

About the music education market, Kaminka said, “It’s very stable, it doesnt-it’s kind of slowly diminishing a little bit, very very slowly, and definitely not increasing….There’s nothing really new in it. Maybe some stuff on the hardware side, some audio stuff…on the side of education, not so much. And we set out to kind of change that.”

Kaminka hopes to expand the instruments included in the JoyTune apps and the platforms that they can be played on. After that, who knows where the company will go? The sky is the limit in this changing digital age.


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Author: Georgeanne Oliver View all posts by
Georgeanne Oliver is Blast's Site Editor.

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