Quincy Jones Evolves Music Education With Playground Sessions
Fresh off his 80th birthday celebrations, legendary music producer Quincy Jones spent the eve of his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrating the launch of his new music software Playground Sessions at the Bel-Air Hotel.
Jones has teamed up with co-founder and CEO Chris Vance to create the software they have dubbed the “Rosetta Stone” of music. With the creative input from accomplished pianist, teacher and YouTube sensation David Sides, Playground Sessions modernizes the traditional piano lesson with engaging techniques to teach users to play their favorite songs on the piano. It’s a revival of the thrill of Guitar Hero where you’re only keys away from feeling like a rock star.
“I think it’s one of the secrets of getting the kids to understand their own culture," Jones tells THR. “Every country in the world understands more about music than we do. It’s going to make people that don’t even want to be musicians play. It's a great part of your soul.”
For a subscription of $9.99 a month, aspiring musicians can learn to play popular songs they already know across three difficulty levels. With the web and a keyboard, in the convenience of their own homes, members are well on their way towards learning tracks across all musical genres ranging from Beethoven’s "Fur Elise" to One Republic’s "Apologize." After downloading the program, Sides becomes your music teacher, providing various tutorials along the way with live feedback and scoring that can share your progress through Facebook and Twitter.
Vance is excited to present a program that is not only a new form of technology but incorporates the necessary feedback that one would receive from a live piano lesson with a teacher. When music plays such an important role in our everyday lives, he feels that we must be more active creators of it.
“I’m very confident in the future years there will be a lot more musicians that are no longer just passive listeners to music but are actively engaging in the creative process,” says Vance.
Jones admits he’s been waiting a long time for Playground Sessions to come to fruition. He believes that music education is vital now more than ever and that exercising your creativity can only expand your world.
“If you’ve got the left and right brain down, you’ve got it all together because that’s emotion and intellect.” says Jones.
Asked to riff on the excitement of being inducted into the Rock Hall on Thursday, Jones kept tight lipped. In fact, he was far more excited about celebrating his milestone birthday on the eve prior.
"Yesterday they celebrated my 80th birthday," he muses. "They had a huge birthday almost as big as the Grammys with Michael Caine. He and I were born the same year, month, day and hour. I've known him 45 years. Eighty feels great. My doctor promised me 110."