A Black Belt in Music
You could, thanks to the Japanese “belt” system of rewarding expertise.
The online computer game site for music training, Theta Music Trainer, rewards digital color-belts according to players’ scores. Each player begins with a white belt (Levels 0-9) and progresses through nine more belt colors by clearing game levels, all the way to the black belt (Level 700+).
All the games on Theta Music teach music skills, from basic to advanced, can help audiences understand and appreciate what they’re hearing, and musicians keep their skills sharp.
As Steve Myers of parent company Theta Music Technologies explains to Opus Osm, “We were looking for some kind of [reward] system that was instantly recognizable by people from all over the world. The idea of a Japanese martial arts dojo was a good fit.”
Additionally, when you finish a game, he says, you are shown links to three more games appropriate for your current belt class and progress. “This is especially useful for those still at the white or gray belt level,” Mr Myers explains, “because it ensures players won’t be recommended games that are too difficult or that require much music theory.”
For example, in the “Channel Scramble” game, you guess which instruments are getting louder in the mix. In “Band Match” you guess the combination of instruments played in a sound clip. “Speed Pitch” asks you to choose which of two tones, on different instruments, is higher. Clearly, these games can help students of all ages, whether they play in a rock band or go to symphony concerts.
Help for Students and Teachers
Mr Myers says feedback on the belt system has been very positive. “Students seem to enjoy progressing through the belt classes, and it also gives a teacher a quick idea of how far each student has progressed,” he says.
He adds, “So far, the only complaint has been that it is difficult and time-consuming to achieve the higher belt classes. But that’s the way it was intended to be.”
Theta Music Trainer is Opus Osm’s Education Partner (quality organizations which help educate people in the classic arts, with at least part of their services offered free of charge). You can access the training site from their website, or from their logo on the Opus Osm Home page. — oo
– Mary Matz
Photo Credits: Top: Black Belt Auto Glass website