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A new composition webapp by the creators of Syntorial
Old 8th August 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

A new composition webapp by the creators of Syntorial

Hi everyone,

We're just about to release Building Blocks, our webapp approach to composition.
Official launch date is August 21st but you can try the first four lessons for free at the website. I'm very interested in hearing opinions from musicians/producers on all levels so I thought I'd post here (Hope it's ok to do so)

Old 11th August 2019
  #2
Gear Nut
 

looks really interesting and i would use it. i have syntorial and that was really helpful, and also fun to work through. i don't do subscriptions though as i can't dedicate enough time to things to make them worth paying every month. it's a pity you don't have the option to just purchase access to the course(s) so one can use as and when one wants.
Old 12th August 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickBeatman View Post
looks really interesting and i would use it. i have syntorial and that was really helpful, and also fun to work through. i don't do subscriptions though as i can't dedicate enough time to things to make them worth paying every month. it's a pity you don't have the option to just purchase access to the course(s) so one can use as and when one wants.
Thanks for the feedback on price. We decided to go with a low monthly subscription instead of bigger lifetime fee in order to create a lower cost of entry. But, we'l definitely take this into consideration.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Edit:

My concerns were fully addressed by Joe of Audible Genious.
See messages below.


I have very mixed feelings about this.

On one hand the concept is great, the material very good
and the technical implementation excellent.

However:

The design has the same super annoying flaw that syntorial had: unless you can pass various tests with a perfect score
you are stuck forever (and with a subscription pay model to boot!).

It becomes, imo, ludicrous for example when the test early on is to perfectly recreate multiple random, non-trivial 16th note patterns without the ability to
play back your recreation and compare to the original, you have to play it in total your mind and submit, and no ability to slow down the original
pattern, or remove the obfuscating metronome. Masochistic territory.

I think that this program would benefit by looking at vastly successful tutorials such as playground sessions that are based on similar premise
but do not require the student to perfectly play every piece in order to progress thru the course.

I fear that this decision is not based simply on false pedagogical premises
(=get perfect score or never graduate to next stage) but on financial considerations:some learners would do the whole course in a month and thus pay only $15 for the whole thing. Thus by making progress exceedingly hard
revenues increase (if the students do not quit in frustration).

Last edited by consnyc; 4 weeks ago at 05:02 AM.. Reason: Audible Genius reply clarified things
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the feedback! A few clarifying points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
I have very mixed feelings about this.

On one hand the concept is great, the material very good
and the technical implementation excellent.

However:

The design has the same super annoying flaw that syntorial had: unless you can pass various tests with a perfect score
you are stuck forever (and with a subscription pay model to boot!).
In Syntorial you don't need a perfect score to pass. You just need 1/3 stars.

In Building Blocks there are two types of lessons with different requirements. For the Challenges you need 50% to pass. However, if you get less than 50% twice we let you pass anyway with a "we think you should give it another shot, but feel free to move on" message. As for the Exercises...

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post

It becomes, imo, ludicrous for example when the test early on is to perfectly recreate multiple random, non-trivial 16th note patterns without the ability to
play back your recreation and compare to the original, you have to play it in total your mind and submit, and no ability to slow down the original
pattern, or remove the obfuscating metronome. Masochistic territory.
In the Exercises you're referring to, yes you need a perfect score in this case. But they're purposely made to be short and relatively simple, not full songs. So like you mentioned, just a 16th note Hi-Hat rhythm. No other drums. Or just a bass rhythm, with one pitch.

That being said, if we start to get the feedback from people that these Exercises are too hard, we'll adjust them to make them easier. We've beta tested for about 6 months now, and haven't received that feedback, but we're always listening to our users, and always ready to make the necessary adjustments. We also haven't heard that the metronome is "obfuscating" but again, if that's something we start hearing regularly, we'll add the option to turn it off. Because...

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post

I fear that this decision is not based simply on false pedagogical premises
(=get perfect score or never graduate to next stage) but on financial considerations:some learners would do the whole course in a month and thus pay only $15 for the whole thing. Thus by making progress exceedingly hard
revenues increase (if the students do not quit in frustration).
We're not assholes. We're not trying to make it too hard in order make more money off of you. Our method is based on ear training. And if you don't sufficiently train your ear before moving forward, odds are you won't be able to do the later lessons.

And btw, you can jump ahead to any lesson at any time with the Table Of Contents view in the Course Map. So you can ignore our progress restrictions altogether if you'd like.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeHanleyMusic View Post
Thanks for the feedback! A few clarifying points:



In Syntorial you don't need a perfect score to pass. You just need 1/3 stars.

In Building Blocks there are two types of lessons with different requirements. For the Challenges you need 50% to pass. However, if you get less than 50% twice we let you pass anyway with a "we think you should give it another shot, but feel free to move on" message. As for the Exercises...



In the Exercises you're referring to, yes you need a perfect score in this case. But they're purposely made to be short and relatively simple, not full songs. So like you mentioned, just a 16th note Hi-Hat rhythm. No other drums. Or just a bass rhythm, with one pitch.

That being said, if we start to get the feedback from people that these Exercises are too hard, we'll adjust them to make them easier. We've beta tested for about 6 months now, and haven't received that feedback, but we're always listening to our users, and always ready to make the necessary adjustments. We also haven't heard that the metronome is "obfuscating" but again, if that's something we start hearing regularly, we'll add the option to turn it off. Because...



We're not assholes. We're not trying to make it too hard in order make more money off of you. Our method is based on ear training. And if you don't sufficiently train your ear before moving forward, odds are you won't be able to do the later lessons.

And btw, you can jump ahead to any lesson at any time with the Table Of Contents view in the Course Map. So you can ignore our progress restrictions altogether if you'd like.
I appreciate both the tone and substance of the reply and
I am *very* happy that there is away to
skip the exercises. Why one has to go thru the table of contents to
do so? The regular navigation menu does not allow this and thus creates
the impression that the user is stuck, however. Please consider
allowing access from the regular navigation menu as well.

Regarding not being an asshole: although I realize it came across
that way, I never claimed that
pursuing a flawed business model makes you an asshole.
Same for pursuing flawed pedagogical theories.
Example: when you started taking piano lessons did the teacher say:
I am not going to give you lesson #2 unless you recognize all notes
and intervals by ear, perfectly? I guess not. That way of teaching would kill the
training of everyone except the few ppl with perfect pitch.
Also different people learn differently. Some learn sequentially and
in depth. Others with multiple iterations of continuous improvement.
Etc. A computer educational program should respect that simple scientific fact.

My apologies if I offended you. My goal was only to make changes
allowing me (and others like me) to progress and not get stuck
because I cannot tell 9 random 16th note 4-bar sequences by ear at 120bpm
(which was my situation that caused the frustration, i believe reasonably so).

Best of luck with your course. It deserves much success.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
shreddoggie's Avatar
Clearly no ones aspiration is to be in Buddy Rich's band.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
I appreciate both the tone and substance of the reply and
I am *very* happy that there is away to
skip the exercises. Why one has to go thru the table of contents to
do so? The regular navigation menu does not allow this and thus creates
the impression that the user is stuck, however. Please consider
allowing access from the regular navigation menu as well.
It's at the top right corner of the Course Map (navigation page) https://www.audiblegenius.com/course/bb1/coursemap. You aren't the first to not notice it, so it may be time for us to make it bigger or more noticeable. Thanks for the feedback on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
Regarding not being an asshole: although I realize it came across
that way, I never claimed that
pursuing a flawed business model makes you an asshole.
Same for pursuing flawed pedagogical theories.
Example: when you started taking piano lessons did the teacher say:
I am not going to give you lesson #2 unless you recognize all notes
and intervals by ear, perfectly? I guess not. That way of teaching would kill the
training of everyone except the few ppl with perfect pitch.
Also different people learn differently. Some learn sequentially and
in depth. Others with multiple iterations of continuous improvement.
Etc. A computer educational program should respect that simple scientific fact.
Just because you don't like our approach, doesn't make it "flawed". And our track record speaks for itself. Syntorial has proven to be highly effective for a lot of people. So while you may not like our approach, proof of concept shows that it works.

I had a variety of piano teachers. Some were loose, some were strict. I found the combination of techniques to be the most effective, and we've brought that combination into Building Blocks, by only having some lessons require a perfect score.

And our lessons work on the concept of relative pitch, not perfect pitch. So you absolutely don't need to have perfect pitch to complete them.

Overall, yes we hold our students to a higher standard, but we also give them an easy out (the List view that lets you jump around). Syntorial has a reputation for being very effective. It also has a reputation for becoming difficult as you get further in, because we have to make sure your ear is sufficiently trained, otherwise you won't be able to complete the later lessons. That's the nature of ear training. If you're doing it right, and actually gaining the ability to create the the things you hear, it's going to be challenging.


Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
My apologies if I offended you. My goal was only to make changes
allowing me (and others like me) to progress and not get stuck
because I cannot tell 9 random 16th note 4-bar sequences by ear at 120bpm
(which was my situation that caused the frustration, i believe reasonably so).
No offense taken. I really do appreciate honest feedback like this. I think any educational company that would intentionally making something difficult in order to generate more revenue deserves the "asshole" moniker. But I wasn't saying you were directly calling me an asshole.

And an important distinction here: The Hi-Hat exercise you're referring to is not 4 bars at 120 bpm. It's 1 bar at 80 bpm. That's very important, as these perfect-score exercises have to be simple enough for people to be able to complete.

As I write this of course I realize I'm saying it to someone who had trouble completing it. So it's on my radar. If more feedback like this comes in on this Exercise, we'll change it. Because if people can't get past it, that's a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
Best of luck with your course. It deserves much success.
Thank you. I do genuinely appreciate this candid feedback, and am happy to continue the back and forth. Anything we can learn from folks like you to make our courses better is always valuable.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeHanleyMusic View Post

Just because you don't like our approach, doesn't make it "flawed". And our track record speaks for itself. Syntorial has proven to be highly effective for a lot of people. So while you may not like our approach, proof of concept shows that it works.

.
Again thank you for receiving customer feedback in a productive manner.

About what is flawed or not. It strikes me as fundamentally wrong to
get students stuck in a difficult part of training unless/until
they get very good at it.

There are two reasons why this is not ideal:

1. Modern educational theory emphasizes probably above everythinge else the
individuality of students/learners. Each person is not learning the same way
and the same rigid training regime will not work for everyone. It may
work for some or even many, but not for everyone.

2. Performance science (sports, and every other endeavor) teaches that
there are performance plateaus always and for every trainee.
The way to get out of a plateau is not to insist on doing the same
again and again and again, but to switch to a different task, make progress
in semi-related or unrelated tasks and then come back to the
original problem area.

Please consider the above, if you can. It is not my opinion only. The above are well established empirically and scientifically.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
Again thank you for receiving customer feedback in a productive manner.

1. Modern educational theory emphasizes probably above everythinge else the
individuality of students/learners. Each person is not learning the same way
and the same rigid training regime will not work for everyone. It may
work for some or even many, but not for everyone.
Again, only some of our lessons require a perfect score. In fact, in the spirit of this debate I counted them: 16 out of 94. That means 78 out of 94 lessons either require a non-perfect score, or no score at all (the ones in which you write your own music).

You keep extrapolating the Exercises to the whole course, which is misleading. Our course achieves a balance of laid-back and rigid, with an emphasis on laid-back, according to the numbers above. So to describe our overall regime as "rigid" is about as inaccurate as describing it as "flawed".

Yes, the perfect-score Exercises adhere to a high standard. But again our goal is to make sure your ear is trained. We want to make sure that, in reality, you will gain the skills you came to learn. And of course, if you'd prefer to just jump around and disregard how well your ear is developing, you can do that in the List view.

In short, we allow for the "individuality of students".

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post

2. Performance science (sports, and every other endeavor) teaches that
there are performance plateaus always and for every trainee.
The way to get out of a plateau is not to insist on doing the same
again and again and again, but to switch to a different task, make progress
in semi-related or unrelated tasks and then come back to the
original problem area.

Please consider the above, if you can. It is not my opinion only. The above are well established empirically and scientifically.
The repetition you're referring to is within each individual exercise. And when it comes to ear training, repetition is essential. If we didn't do that, your ear wouldn't become trained. So while I can appreciate that performance science doesn't like repetition, I'm more concerned with actually training your ears.

More importantly, overall, we change it up a lot. We constantly alternate between lessons that cover drums, bass and chords, including non-perfect lessons, perfect lessons, lessons in which you write your own music, and quizzes. And while it's nice that performance science agrees with this approach, we do it because we found it to be really effective in Syntorial for the following reasons:

1. It gives your brain time to "marinate" (not a performance science term, but damnit it should be one) in its experience with the previous subject
2. Coming back to the subject later on has a way of re-clarifying it, making it stronger.
3. It avoids boredom.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Frankly, I feel we are talking past each other and there is no reason
for that. Too many marginally relevant and distracting details.

Indeed, as you say, only a small portion of the full course can get you stuck.
However these "trap points" are interjected at regular intervals
throughout the course and thus in the absence of a visible bypass mechanism
the whole course after the point of getting stuck will become inaccessible.

Now that you pointed out that there is a way to bypass, and I know it thanks to
this thread, I do not have to get stuck any longer
(and I can enjoy and benefit from your product!! By the way how does one re-activate a cancelled subscription?)

Nothing to debate further, except, from an interface design
perspective, it would be better to make bypassing known, easy to access,
and in the usual workflow of learning (not thru some obscure menu).

Is this a fair recommendation/ask? I do not wish to misrepresent your effort/
product/intent or company's reputation, or offend, or keep you/me from more
productive use of our time .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by consnyc View Post
Frankly, I feel we are talking past each other and there is no reason
for that. Too many marginally relevant and distracting details.

Indeed, as you say, only a small portion of the full course can get you stuck.
However these "trap points" are interjected at regular intervals
throughout the course and thus in the absence of a visible bypass mechanism
the whole course after the point of getting stuck will become inaccessible.

Now that you pointed out that there is a way to bypass, and I know it thanks to
this thread, I do not have to get stuck any longer
(and I can enjoy and benefit from your product!! By the way how does one re-activate a cancelled subscription?)

Nothing to debate further, except, from an interface design
perspective, it would be better to make bypassing known, easy to access,
and in the usual workflow of learning (not thru some obscure menu).

Is this a fair recommendation/ask? I do not wish to misrepresent your effort/
product/intent or company's reputation, or offend, or keep you/me from more
productive use of our time .
Very fair. We want the option to be available, and if it's not noticeable than it's not really available in a way that matters. I'll put it on the to-do list.

You can un-cancel at www.audiblegenius.com/dashboard. If for some reason, the Uncancel link isn't there, let me know and I can do it from my end.

And thanks for subscribing!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeHanleyMusic View Post
Very fair. We want the option to be available, and if it's not noticeable than it's not really available in a way that matters. I'll put it on the to-do list.

You can un-cancel at www.audiblegenius.com/dashboard. If for some reason, the Uncancel link isn't there, let me know and I can do it from my end.

And thanks for subscribing!
Thank you!.

Link for un-canceling is not there so I would appreciate help for that. I will send PM
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

I thought Joe would be working on a 'Syntorial' for things like compression, E.Q. and the like, something important but basic, fundamental for his next release.

This is another level altogether. Congratulations on all the work this must have taken. I'm all over this.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
I thought Joe would be working on a 'Syntorial' for things like compression, E.Q. and the like, something important but basic, fundamental for his next release.

This is another level altogether. Congratulations on all the work this must have taken. I'm all over this.
Thank you! After we complete Building Blocks 2 & 3 we'll be moving onto audio effects.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Jtt
Gear Addict
 
Jtt's Avatar
 

Looks really nice. Hopefully it gets as comprehensive as Syntorial (which is fantastic). Wish these excellent resources were around when I was starting out.

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