I decided recently that it would be a good idea to start a new article series where I interview people from the world of guitars and/or iOS development. One of the first companies I thought of was Rock Prodigy as they cover both fields. Luckily for me, they agreed to be the first company I questioned. I am very grateful for that.
The format of this article series is simple. I ask six scary questions and one not-scary question. None of the questions are really scary questions. They’re just questions that I—Scarebear—really wanted answers to. The last question I imagine everyone wants to know the answer to.
So, without further ado …
Six scary questions
- The iOS version of your Rock Prodigy software was the first version I came across. What made you decide to create your instructional software for iOS initially?
When we started development back in 2010 the iPad had just recently released. We had big dreams and iOS felt like the right first step. When we started, there were a lot of apps coming out on the market but no one else had a product like Rock Prodigy. On top of that, we knew that our pitch recognition system would work on iOS and at the time Android was not yet advanced enough to provide a good customer experience for processing audio. That left Windows and Mac but with all the buzz going on about the iPad it was a unanimous vote.
- You also have the Dave Mustaine*, Grateful Dead and The Offspring versions of Rock Prodigy for iOS. What was it like working with the original artists when transcribing their music and then recording their input for the lessons themselves?
It was a blast being able to work with such iconic guitarists and learn from them first hand. For each of the apps we had to immerse ourselves into their music and their particular approach to the guitar. We learned a lot about guitar playing, tone, and it feels incredible to be able to share that knowledge with our students.
- Your Rock Prodigy software is now available for Mac and Windows platforms. Was it difficult to make your software available on these platforms or had a lot of the work been done prior to the iOS version anyway?
Yes, there were definitely new challenges, but we have been very lucky to work with talented pros that have helped make developing new products possible.
- The iOS version of Rock Prodigy has undergone a transformation since the release of the Windows/Mac versions making it less like the Dave Mustaine, Grateful Dead and The Prodigy interfaces. What has been the reaction to the change from your original iOS users?
We’ve had a great reaction to the updates. One of the greatest things about being a company our size is that we can make changes fairly quickly. We pay close attention to what our students say and we make improvements based on their feedback. The organization and navigation of the content is where the major improvements have been made. The play experience is basically the same but now you can progress through the lessons and exercises in a much more effective way.
- Rock Prodigy has a social aspect to it as well with many users sharing their results with you and their friends on their favourite social media platforms. How important do you believe that feature is to the user’s experience when learning how to play guitar?
This is an area where we still want to explore new ideas and opportunities. The original iOS apps connected to Apple Game Center but there were some limitations with the number of songs and lessons that could be accepted by the Game Center leaderboards. Currently many of our students use the Rock Prodigy Facebook Page as the place to ask questions, share experience and offer helpful feedback. We definitely see more social media integration in the future because we want to create a community where people learning guitar can interact with their peers and learn from each other as well as our products.
- Tell the truth now, is transcribing music for guitar and constructing lessons that people seem to want to learn as much fun as I’ve imagined it to be?
It is a lot of fun. Transcribing songs helps you hear the music in a much different way, and you learn a lot. Also, making the lessons is a great exercise of creativity where sometimes you have to work with very limited concepts and create a lesson that students will enjoy. As guitar players and music lovers we try to make the most effective tool to learn guitar and it is really rewarding seeing how our work changes peoples lives.
One not-so scary question
- What’s in the not-so-distant future for Rock Prodigy and it’s users?
We are constantly improving features so we can offer the best customer experience possible. In the future you will see improvements to our existing software as well as courses for intermediate to advanced players. You will also see products come out for more instruments like bass, voice, piano, etc. We really enjoy helping more people become more musical and really that’s what it’s all about.
No, thank you Rock Prodigy! I appreciate your time and what you’re doing for the online guitar community. Rock on.
* At the time of writing this app was being updated in the iTunes store.