Augmented Reality Music Education

Augmented Reality Music Education Featured Image

As I prepare to start my PhD, I thought it would be fun to openly explore some of my ideas for research to see if I actually like them. One of those ideas is Augmented Reality Music Education. In other words, a project that merges some of my personal interests like gaming, education, and music.

Table of Contents

Core Idea

If I had to sum up Augmented Reality Music Education (ARME), I would say that the core idea is in the name. In other words, I would like to create some form of supplemental music education which leverages augmented reality.

Of course, the idea is more nuanced than that. At the moment, I imagine ARME would be a video game that ran on equipment like the HTC Vive. With the game launched, users would practice their physical instrument while various data elements would overlay the instrument.

For example, let’s say ARME is developed for guitar. Then, I would imagine the headset would overlay the instrument with information like fingerings, strum patterns, chord accuracy, tuning, tempo, etc.

On top of data visualization, ARME would also have gaming aspects to it. For instance, I would imagine ARME would support achievements. In addition, there would need to be a social aspect to the game to add some level of competitive or cooperative play.

In essence, ARME would be a complete music education system—not just a fun gimmick.

Inspiration

As I’ve already stated, the idea for this project comes from my interests in gaming, education, and music. Of course, the project is more selfishly motivated than that. After all, I just want to build a tool that will help me learn how to play guitar.

Currently, I play trombone. While it’s a great instrument, it’s not entirely practical in an apartment. Instead, in my free time, I like to play around on my guitar. Unfortunately, I’m not very good, and practicing alone is pretty boring. With an Augmented Reality Music Education system, I would be able to take my hobby to the next level.

If a system like ARME went on to help others, that would be a bonus. In the end, what use is this research if it doesn’t benefit someone other than myself.

Existing Research

In terms of research, I’ve found a ton of papers covering areas around Augmented Reality Music Education:

So, it’s not like I’d be jumping into uncharted territory. After all, these papers have citations of their own that I can trace back for more information.

Risk Assessment

In order to evaluate risk, I’ll be using the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Oriented. For each section, I’ll give the project a rating out of ten before averaging the score for an overall assessment.

Ultimately, I’d like for my ideas to have scores as close to ten as possible. Of course, I won’t sweat it if they don’t. I’ll just scrap the idea or refine it later. At any rate, let’s check out the breakdown:

Specific (5)

While I believe the topic is very specific, the plan of attack is pretty amorphous. In fact, the scope of the project is incredibly large. It may make more sense to focus on a specific area of Augmented Reality Music Education like presenting and tracking sheet music or instrument data visualization.

As I read grow more familiar with the field, I’ll be able to more comfortably focus my idea.

Measurable (6)

One of the struggles with this type of project is measuring its effectiveness. In other words, how well does Augmented Reality Music Education improve a student’s X? For example, X could be any of the following:

  • Learning Rate
  • Enjoyment
  • Performance

I believe all of these areas could be measured with this type of project. That said, the challenge would be acquiring enough students to get a large enough sample size.

Achievable (7)

Overall, the project has a lot of moving parts. Here’s a small list of the areas this project would cover:

  • Music
    • Audio Processing
    • Music Tracking
  • Education
    • Motivational Techniques
    • Curriculum Development
  • Game Development
    • Competitive/Cooperative Play
    • Object Tracking
    • Virtual/Augmented Reality Graphics

Of course, this just scratches the surface. A project like this will likely have to go through several prototypes before anything of real value will be created. In other words, ARME has a lot of associated risks.

That said, I’m comfortable with the amount of research currently in areas at least tangentially related to the topic. And, I’m excited that this topic is relatively new.

Relevant (10)

To be honest, I believe ARME is extremely relevant. It seems technology continues to advance, but the way we teach music has largely stayed the same. Of course, I could be totally off-base, but I find that technology hasn’t really been integrated with music education.

Time-Oriented (4)

With a project of this scope, I think that I’d have trouble putting it together in a reasonable amount of time. We’d probably be looking at two years of development before we could even collect any meaningful data. In other words, the scope will need to be reduced before ARME becomes practical.

Overall Assessment (6.4)

Overall, I give this project a 6.4 out of 10. That said, the project code benefit from a reduced scope. I’m just not sure which areas I’d like to pursue yet.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to learn about some of my ideas for potential PhD research. If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends. And if you have any advice or feedback, let me know in the comments.

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Jeremy Grifski
Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Today, he pursues a PhD in Computer Science in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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