Monthly Archives: April 2013

Learning lessons from the world of music

In previous posts, I have look at how organisations can learn from the world of music. But what about L&D? One of the great things about the world of music is that it is no stranger to technology!

I’ll start with a relative newcomer to the scene: “Playground Sessions” is a new web based music service co-created by music legend Quincy Jones – if you think don’t know who he is, you will have heard his work at least as a producer of the best selling Michael Jackson album “Thriller”.
In their own words, what this new site does is allow learners to:

  • Play popular songs you know and love
  • Play right away
  • Real-time feedback
  • Rookie, Intermediate and Advanced levels
  • Developed by top musicians including Quincy Jones

One of the challenges in the past of web based musical instrument tuition has been the lack of instant feedback which we as L&D folk know is so important! Here’s a taste of what they are doing:


I like the approach of using collaboration with peers in this – sharing your work with fellow pupils and of course, the adoption of badges.

An older tool I came across recently is an online “ear training” tool. It’s flash based so sadly you won’t be using this on a mobile device. Once again, you are getting instant feedback from this simple tool.

Of course, one of my music posts won’t be complete without a “Yes” reference! And this time, it’s their amazing guitarist, Steve Howe – Steve has recorded a series of YouTube videos showing you both hands so that you can watch his technique and also see the chords he is using with the inset of the fretboard.


My next site gets included for it’s mobile support – is a great on-line resource that provides the key things you need to learn: opportunity to put the theory into practice, exercises with instant feedback and lots of performance support via a set of handy tools. And is there an app for this? You bet! There are 2 apps on iTunes to enable you to learn on the move.

iphone app screenshot

My final example stays is back to the guitar – and I like this one for a number of reasons:

  • He shows you how to play it, and does so slowly as well!
  • Finger technique and tabs
  • Downloadable backing tracks to enable you to practice this with a real band!

If only our in-house compliance training could be this engaging! 

So, next time you get to one of Peter Cook’s “The Academy of Rock” events, you will be able to take your guitar and join in!

These examples work because they allow the student unlimited practice with repeatable demonstration of the “how” and for most of them, instant feedback. All things we should see in a good learning programme in our own organisations.