Online Music Lessons Go 3-D


iperform-using-unity3dWith Apple’s new GarageBand ’09, you can watch celebrity musicians like Sting and John Fogerty show you how to play the guitar, and that’s nice — but can you look over their shoulder to make sure you’ve got your fingering technique just right? That’s pretty much the value proposition for iPerform3D’s online guitar training videos: the instructors’ performances are motion captured and rendered into animated, interactive, 3-D  graphics. (They’re generated through the Unity graphics engine, a plug-in that’s mostly known for rendering 3-D games for the web.) You move your mouse to zoom and rotate the camera position around the guitar-playing avatar, as desired.

Developed by MTW Studios, the application was inspired by conversations with music teachers, who “universally felt that allowing a student to move around them to achieve an optimal view of the material…was the key to successful learning,” Founder and CEO Robert Miller told me by e-mail. While each lesson also comes with real video of the instructors (mostly established studio musicians), Miller claims  customers consider the virtual versions better teaching guides.

The service is subscription-based (a beginner’s course will set you back $39.95), which may be a tough sale in recessionary times. There’s also that 800-pound competitor called GarageBand to contend with. Miller argues that Apple’s entry into the music education space confirms MTW’s belief there’s a market for computerized music education. iPerform’s gamble is that would-be musicians will learn more from virtual guitar heroes than real ones.



if you look at iperform3d’s site, they offer videos with a bunch of helpful tips, like how to hold your guitar, how to tune your guitar, etc.

Check it out.

Doug at Metal Method

I’m not sure that something like iPerform3D is a useful guitar learning tool. I mean, sure, it looks good and it sounds like it could be fun. But do I really want to watch a cartoon character play a guitar from all possible angles? Will this really teach me how to play guitar?
I believe that what you need is someone to show you how to hold your guitar and how to use your pick and your fingers, but after that all you need is some good tablature and you’re set to go. The quality of lessons depend on the material of the lessons and not so much on presentation.
I think that if I would practice with iPerform3D, I would spend 90% of my time rotating the little guy around and only 10% actually playing. So in my opinion, if you want to learn to play a guitar, pick up your guitar and practice. If you want to have some fun, go and get iPerform3D.

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