Meet Jellynote, a French startup that provides a new yet familiar experience for learning music. With Jellynote, you can find scores and see YouTube covers at the same time, create a songbook and suggest different versions. But the killer feature is a Guitar Hero-like mode that takes advantage of your microphone. It’s like playing the video game, but with a real guitar — you can see in real time if you are playing the right note and follow your progress on the score.
“There are three key challenges when you learn to play a new instrument,” co-founder and CEO Baptiste Poirier told me in a phone interview. “You need to find content, learn how to read it and stay motivated.”
When you browse Jellynote’s website, you instantly know this isn’t your average score database with a bunch of zipped images thrown up on the Internet. And the team has a few tricks up its sleeve to make the experience better.
For instance, the startup worked on a .midi file conversion tool so that every score is a native page. After searching for an artist or song name like on Spotify, you can see the score and play the guitar, bass or piano part in your browser, change the tempo and more.
When it comes to cover videos, Jellynote analyzes the audio track and synchronizes it with the score in real time. This way, you can jump to a particular part of the score to see how they do it on video. And finally, in practice mode, learning a new song feels like beating a high score in Guitar Hero.
Jellynote is an interesting take on music learning for two reasons. It isn’t a dumbed down step-by-step program — these courses usually don’t work with impatient people. Yet, there are many little details that will make you come back to Jellynote and actually keep trying and practicing.
When asked about music rights, Poirier told me that he would love to sign deals with publishers so that Jellynote could share the company’s revenue with them. But for now, it seems like the service is still flying under content holders’ radar.