Purdue startup could change the way high school students practice music

February 11, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue startup has developed a gamified learning management system that is being tested in Indiana high schools and could help music students develop better practice habits and assist teachers in distributing learning materials and announcements through a communication platform.

Andrew King, a Purdue University professor and director of orchestras, and Alexander Akagi, a sophomore studying computer science at Purdue, founded Vivaldi Education LLC, a startup developing a performing arts learning management system for high schools.

"The system has a portal for instructors to send YouTube videos of the musical pieces the course is working on to the students. Instructors are then able to view analytics on who has and hasn't watched the videos, helping to determine student practice behaviors," Akagi said. "Students can look at a graph and see how much they have been practicing and then compare that to the average of the section or the average of the entire orchestra. We want to make it so students can compete against each other and then eventually, since it's Web-based, have schools competing against other schools ensembles."

Akagi acquired the help of Ben Alderfer, also a sophomore studying computer science aat Purdue, and Edward Williams a student at Brown University, to help develop the initial product.        

The startup is receiving assistance through the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

"I took Vivaldi through the Purdue Foundry's LaunchBox program earlier this year, which really helped refine our idea and what we were building," Akagi said. "We also were accepted into the Silicon Valley Boilermaker Innovation Group program and are currently working with an SV Big mentor in Silicon Valley and with a Purdue Foundry entrepreneur-in-residence. Both have been a tremendous help to our company.

"We plan to develop an iPhone and Android app version of the system over the winter," Akagi said. "Our goal is to eventually expand the product into high schools across the United States."

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org

About Vivaldi Education LLC

Vivaldi is a competitive and gamified Learning Management System (LMS), designed for High School Performing Arts Departments. Teachers are able to send their students YouTube videos and tasks about what to do, and students will document their practice on the system. This allows for easy visualization of how much students practice in relation to the average of their section, their ensemble, or even the ensembles of different schools. 

Writer: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586, HKHenry@prf.org 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org 

Source: Alex Akagi, 317-503-8308, aakagi@purdue.edu 

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