20 September 2021
By Ellie Palmer
Music reading poses a challenge to kids, yet it is one of the most important elements of instrumental lessons. So how best to tackle this and improve the learning process? The TunyStones app offers a novel solution
The TunyStones app is a real game changer for piano lessons and home practice. Thanks to this playful, nonverbal and highly motivating method, the sometimes frustrating subject of music reading is transformed into a thrilling and motivating game.
TunyStones contains a sophisticated algorithm that recognises real acoustic piano sounds which move Tuny, the game character, automatically corresponding to the played tones.
How does it work?
Jan Gazdzicki, the inventor of the method, explains, "In our game little stones represent notes - and the musical stave is turned into a river surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape. Tuny jumps along a river from one stone to another. But finding the notes is often hard and as a result, Tuny - in his smart concert costume - may fall into the water instead of landing on the stone. No worries - there is always another chance!”
The use of the app does not require any previous theory knowledge as it is self-explanatory. A rough orientation about the notation system is given through the 'improvisation levels'. Next comes an introduction to musical intervals within popular melodies.
Last, but not least - you can compose with TunyStones and create your own melodies. But beware: Tuny will make an appearance and has to master your own compositions, including all of the leaps from stone to stone! The learning process thus transcends simple music reading and composition; it nurtures creativity and provides a unique form of feedback and self-assessment.
What makes TunyStones stand out?
✔ Effectively supports teaching, learning and motivates pupils
✔ It is free for all music teachers (full version)
✔ Free trial available for everybody
✔ Teaches from scratch - no previous knowledge required!
✔ The game is nonverbal: you intuitively understand how it works by playing
✔ Enhances creativity with composition, improvisation and reading features
✔ Enables you to compose your own music
✔ Turns music reading into a great adventure
✔ Automatically adjusts to different learning types/speeds
✔ Includes introductory levels to provide a general understanding for music notation
How can I download it?
“The app is perfect for daily exercises and independent practice at home. Beyond that, I would recommend using TunyStones towards the end of the lesson - the app has proved very popular with children aged 5 to 12 and can easily refresh the mind and motivate to overcome cognitive hurdles”, comments Gazdzicki.
How did the app come to fruition?
The tool’s development started at the Music Academy in Basel in 2016 and continued within a research project involving experts in music pedagogy, gamification and IT at the University of Applied Sciences, FHNW Hochschule für Musik Basel.
Many parents, pupils and most importantly, teachers, have tested the app during its development at the research project in Basel. Their ideas have influenced its development and made an important contribution to its success. The app is free for all piano teachers; all you need to do is create an account and access will be granted within days. Pupils and parents can try the app for free and choose between a monthly or semi-annual subscription. There are plans for other instruments as a further advancement.
Find out more information about TunyStones here.