Instructional Design in Music/Sound Industry

17 May 2010 - 4:21am
4 years ago
3 replies
1554 reads
Prashant Dixit
2008

Just a few hours back when I was speaking to a musician friend of mine, he seemed very frustrated about the interface of a sound-mixing software.  As a usability and user interface professional, I never ever understood one thing: In the music world, there are so many softwares and so many workstations used to create music and certainly people want to buy these expensive products yet they are scared of one question. The question is how do they learn them?? They have music workstations etc that cost an arm and a leg yet they barely put any effort on creating interactive tuts to get a handle on these complex systems. I would go and buy a keyboard for 3000 Euros today if I also get a tutorial DVD for 50 Euros, something which I rarely find. I just don’t get it why some of these companies are so stupid.

I say as a design professional so many people want to try technology but they do not because at times they are scared to the extent that they think learning these devices is like skating on thin ice. Since the devices are so much rich in functionalities the scare is how we will learn so much stuff yet all we need is 15 well-structured video/interactive tutorials.

These companies just don’t get it. What they give is boring ridiculous 500 page black and white manual who everyone is afraid of. Korg is selling workstations for 3000 Euros with almost no such tutorials. Of course we have sites like Youtube where we can find user generated tuts but that’s like fishing without training. Our life would be a lot easier if these companies invest as low as 5% of their budgets on making the users understand their devices easily.

Is it a deliberate business strategy?  Does the complexity in musical devices sweeten the deal for them?  How would they position their products in the market as desired ones (complexity is there USP??)...how would the music teaching businesses will run? If everyone could learn these devices at home...many so called music teaching shops will be closed.

But learning a device is totally different from understanding the essence of music, the rhythm, the harmony, the tone, the tempo, the notes, the pulses and all the musical attributes that constitute heart throbbing compositions.

I would like to know what IxD community thinks. Is there any research on designing effective instructions that are best for developing desired skills in music production arena?

With BR,

Prashant

Comments

17 May 2010 - 6:40am
elvenmuse
2010

Design Strategico may help', it is not IxD, Product Design (or Computer Science / ui Design)... but more about managing progetti (disegni in italian are drawings). You can manage proggetti di Musica... like founding an unsigned label with online redistribution.

Sorry, didn't read the post... I have few time to reply @IxDA mailing list.

> Just a few hours back when I was speaking to a musician friend of mine, he > seemed very frustrated about the interface of a sound-mixing software.  > As a > usability and user interface professional, I never ever understood one > thing: > In the music world, there are so many softwares and so many workstations > used > to create music and certainly people want to buy these expensive products > yet > they are scared of one question. The question is how do they learn them?? > They have music workstations etc that cost an arm and a leg yet they > barely > put any effort on creating interactive tuts to get a handle on these > complex > systems. I would go and buy a keyboard for 3000 Euros today if I also get > a > tutorial DVD for 50 Euros, something which I rarely find. I just don’t > get > it why some of these companies are so stupid. > > I say as a design professional so many people want to try technology but > they > do not because at times they are scared to the extent that they think > learning these devices is like skating on thin ice. Since the devices are > so > much rich in functionalities the scare is how we will learn so much stuff > yet > all we need is 15 well-structured video/interactive tutorials. > > These companies just don’t get it. What they give is boring ridiculous > 500 > page black and white manual who everyone is afraid of. Korg is selling > workstations for 3000 Euros with almost no such tutorials. Of course we > have > sites like Youtube where we can find user generated tuts but that’s like > fishing without training. Our life would be a lot easier if these > companies > invest as low as 5% of their budgets on making the users understand their > devices easily. > > Is it a deliberate business strategy?  Does the complexity in musical > devices sweeten the deal for them?  How would they position their > products > in the market as desired ones (complexity is there USP??)...how would the > music teaching businesses will run? If everyone could learn these devices > at > home...many so called music teaching shops will be closed. > > But learning a device is totally different from understanding the essence > of > music, the rhythm, the harmony, the tone, the tempo, the notes, the pulses > and all the musical attributes that constitute heart throbbing > compositions. > > I would like to know what IxD community thinks. Is there any research on > designing effective instructions that are best for developing desired > skills > in music production arena? > > With BR, > > Prashant > > (((Please leave

17 May 2010 - 9:50am
Nasir Barday5
2006

Prashant,

Interesting that you point to the music production industry asn area that "doesnt get it." I think you might be indicting too broadly, because I usually point to music production manufacturers as people who DO get it :). In the heat of creativity, if a musician has to think about the tool itself, the idea disappears forever. And if this frustration happens often enough, word travels fast, and people buy something else. Given this, I think the music world front-runs most other industries in designing things you don't have to think about.

I do agree though that hardware music workstation keyboards are more complicated than they need to be. But not many people use them nowadays-- the music workstation has given way to Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software, and you'll find there are plenty of tutorials available for all of them. Third parties make these tutorials, just as they have to do for Adobe's Creative suite.

One DAW that truly inspires me as an interaction designer, though, is Ableton Live. It has a quick built-in tutorial, but its approach to production is so natural that you don't need much more than a simple introduction to pick it up.

  • Nasir

On 5/17/10, elvenmuse wrote: > Design Strategico may help', it is not IxD, Product Design (or Computer > Science / ui Design)... but more about managing progetti (disegni in > italian are drawings). You can manage proggetti di Musica... like founding > an unsigned label with online redistribution. > > Sorry, didn't read the post... I have few time to reply @IxDA mailing list. > > > Just a few hours back when I was speaking to a musician friend of mine, > he > > seemed very frustrated about the interface of a sound-mixing software. > > As a > > usability and user interface professional, I never ever understood one > > thing: > > In the music world, there are so many softwares and so many workstations > > used > > to create music and certainly people want to buy these expensive products > > yet > > they are scared of one question. The question is how do they learn them?? > > They have music workstations etc that cost an arm and a leg yet they > > barely > > put any effort on creating interactive tuts to get a handle on these > > complex > > systems. I would go and buy a keyboard for 3000 Euros today if I also get > > a > > tutorial DVD for 50 Euros, something which I rarely find. I just don’t > > get > > it why some of these companies are so stupid. > > > > I say as a design professional so many people want to try technology but > > they > > do not because at times they are scared to the extent that they think > > learning these devices is like skating on thin ice. Since the devices are > > so > > much rich in functionalities the scare is how we will learn so much stuff > > yet > > all we need is 15 well-structured video/interactive tutorials. > > > > These companies just don’t get it. What they give is boring ridiculous > > 500 > > page black and white manual who everyone is afraid of. Korg is selling > > workstations for 3000 Euros with almost no such tutorials. Of course we > > have > > sites like Youtube where we can find user generated tuts but that’s > like > > fishing without training. Our life would be a lot easier if these > > companies > > invest as low as 5% of their budgets on making the users understand their > > devices easily. > > > > Is it a deliberate business strategy?  Does the complexity in musical > > devices sweeten the deal for them?  How would they position their > > products > > in the market as desired ones (complexity is there USP??)...how would the > > music teaching businesses will run? If everyone could learn these devices > > at > > home...many so called music teaching shops will be closed. > > > > But learning a device is totally different from understanding the essence > > of > > music, the rhythm, the harmony, the tone, the tempo, the notes, the > pulses > > and all the musical attributes that constitute heart throbbing > > compositions. > > > > I would like to know what IxD community thinks. Is there any research on > > designing effective instructions that are best for developing desired > > skills > > in music production arena? > > > > With BR, > > > > Prashant > > > > (((Please leave > > (((Please leave all

17 May 2010 - 1:30pm
Dustin Kirk
2006

Prashant, a good person to contact on this topic is Bob Krull. He is a retired professor at RPI who as spent a lot of time investigating this topic. He is a great guy and would definitely love to talk about this with you.


His LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bob-krull/a/bb6/577
Prodigiously,

-d- Dustin Kirk

On Mon, May 17, 2010 at 8:52 AM, Nasir Barday5 <nbarday@gmail.com> wrote:

Prashant,

Interesting that you point to the music production industry asn area
that "doesnt get it." I think you might be indicting too broadly,
because I usually point to music production manufacturers as people
who DO get it :). In the heat of creativity, if a musician has to
think about the tool itself, the idea disappears forever. And if this
frustration happens often enough, word travels fast, and people buy
something else. Given this, I think the music world front-runs most
other industries in designing things you don't have to think about.

I do agree though that hardware music workstation keyboards are more
complicated than they need to be. But not many people use them
nowadays-- the music workstation has given way to Digital Audio
Workstation (DAW) software, and you'll find there are plenty of
tutorials available for all of them. Third parties make these
tutorials, just as they have to do for Adobe's Creative suite.

One DAW that truly inspires me as an interaction designer, though, is
Ableton Live. It has a quick built-in tutorial, but its approach to
production is so natural that you don't need much more than a simple
introduction to pick it up.

* Nasir

On 5/17/10, elvenmuse wrote:
> Design Strategico may help', it is not IxD, Product Design (or Computer
> Science / ui Design)... but more about managing progetti (disegni in
> italian are drawings). You can manage proggetti di Musica... like founding
> an unsigned label with online redistribution.
>
> Sorry, didn't read the post... I have few time to reply @IxDA mailing list.
>
> > Just a few hours back when I was speaking to a musician friend of mine,
> he
> > seemed very frustrated about the interface of a sound-mixing software.Â
> > As a
> > usability and user interface professional, I never ever understood one
> > thing:
> > In the music world, there are so many softwares and so many workstations
> > used
> > to create music and certainly people want to buy these expensive products
> > yet
> > they are scared of one question. The question is how do they learn them??
> > They have music workstations etc that cost an arm and a leg yet they
> > barely
> > put any effort on creating interactive tuts to get a handle on these
> > complex
> > systems. I would go and buy a keyboard for 3000 Euros today if I also get
> > a
> > tutorial DVD for 50 Euros, something which I rarely find. I just don’t
> > get
> > it why some of these companies are so stupid.
> >
> > I say as a design professional so many people want to try technology but
> > they
> > do not because at times they are scared to the extent that they think
> > learning these devices is like skating on thin ice. Since the devices are
> > so
> > much rich in functionalities the scare is how we will learn so much stuff
> > yet
> > all we need is 15 well-structured video/interactive tutorials.
> >
> > These companies just don’t get it. What they give is boring ridiculous
> > 500
> > page black and white manual who everyone is afraid of. Korg is selling
> > workstations for 3000 Euros with almost no such tutorials. Of course we
> > have
> > sites like Youtube where we can find user generated tuts but that’s
> like
> > fishing without training. Our life would be a lot easier if these
> > companies
> > invest as low as 5% of their budgets on making the users understand their
> > devices easily.
> >
> > Is it a deliberate business strategy?  Does the complexity in musical
> > devices sweeten the deal for them?  How would they position their
> > products
> > in the market as desired ones (complexity is there USP??)...how would the
> > music teaching businesses will run? If everyone could learn these devices
> > at
> > home...many so called music teaching shops will be closed.
> >
> > But learning a device is totally different from understanding the essence
> > of
> > music, the rhythm, the harmony, the tone, the tempo, the notes, the
> pulses
> > and all the musical attributes that constitute heart throbbing
> > compositions.
> >
> > I would like to know what IxD community thinks. Is there any research on
> > designing effective instructions that are best for developing desired
> > skills
> > in music production arena?
> >
> > With BR,
> >
> > Prashant
> >
> > (((Please leave
>
> (((Please leave all

(((Please leave all co
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