Music powerhouse Quincy Jones launched a music education application this week that he believed would be the “Rosetta Stone of Piano.”

The app, called Playground Sessions, is based on a learn-by-playing foundation, allowing users of all ages to master the piano by playing sounds they know and love.

“Music is the world’s common denominator, and there is nothing I am more passionate about than getting music and music instruction into the hands of children and adults who can benefit from its intangible magic,” Jones said in a statement. “Playground Sessions is the ultimate technology to bring music to people of all ages who have the passion to learn it.”

The software, which has been in production for more than three years, combines elements of gaming, such as real-time feedback, scoring and rewards for completing challenges, in a series of interactive video tutorials from Internet music phenomenon David Sides.

The app features more than 90 sounds from popular artists such as Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Frank Sinatra. Users will learn to read notation through “Apologize,” find their way around the keyboard with “Hey Soul Sister,” and master rhythm with “Because of You,” for example.
The project’s co-founder and CEO Chris Vance said the program is a mash-up of the concepts behind the Guitar Hero video games and the Rosetta Stone language courses.

“We had this crazy idea: Could we do Guitar Hero with real instruments?” Vance told technology Web site Mashable. “Everyone still harbors that desire to be a rock star; it’s a universal truth that’s never going to go away.”

Vance said Quincy immediately bought into his vision and was a “spiritual guiding force,” ensuring the software would be an effective and rewarding experience for users.

There’s “such a need for this,” Quincy, a 27-time Grammy winner, told Billboard. The producer of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and other successful albums said he particularly hopes that it would have a positive impact on music education programs in schools.

“Our kids in this country know less than any other country,” Jones said. “We need something like Playground Sessions to push us forward.”

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO