Expressions Music Academy Oct 2017

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Melody The Monthly

NOVI LOCATION: 43370 West 10 Mile Rd Novi, MI 48375 TROY LOCATION: 4000 Livernois Rd Troy, MI 48098 PLYMOUTH-CANTON: 9357 General Drive Suite 101 Plymouth, MI 48170

DESIGNING A TOOL TO REACH MY STUDENTS’ HIGHEST POTENTIAL Everything That Went Into the New ‘Level Up’ App

I can’t believe Expressions Music Academy’s new ‘Level Up’ achievement program and app have been in full swing for a month already. It may appear like a simple, seamless integration into you and your student’s practice routines — or at least, I hope it does! — but the lead-up to its release was a long, laborious process. That said, it was worth every minute I spent on it, and I’m beyond thrilled to have it out in the world.

my imagination was brimming with potential features I wanted to implement, a laundry list of dream ideas that kept getting longer and longer. Luckily, the developers worked perfectly with me to realize nearly every one of those plans. We didn’t have to cut corners. But, of course, actually realizing my vision took time. It took eight months of constant back-and-forth between the developers and me. They’d show me the skeleton of a particular feature, I’d take a look, mull it over, test it for hours and hours, and come back with detailed feedback. It involved hundreds of hours of me being alone in a room, fiddling with the application and the plan for its development. As the process continued, the application became more fleshed out until it finally became what it is today. It’s honestly one of the achievements I’m most proud of. I encourage all of my readers, students, and teachers to download the Level Up app, totally free, from the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store and see what it can do. It’s designed from the ground up to make music lessons easier for everyone, giving clear progress markers for parents while synchronizing the efforts and motivational strategies of teachers and students. Schedule practice times, assign songs, listen to examples, compete on the leaderboards, track student progress — the list of awesome features just goes on and on. By the time it released, the Level Up app felt like a deeply personal project. It may have taken eight months to actually develop it, but in many ways, I’ve been designing the system since the day I started teaching music over 15 years ago. Everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve striven for, and the entire breadth of my passion for musical education is embedded in the very fabric of this powerful tool. To know that students and teachers are actually using it means more than I can say.

When I first set out to develop an app that would spur music students to realize their fullest potential, I had no idea what I was getting into. I asked myself,

“What if I could encourage students to practice even 50 percent more than they already were and what would that look like? What happens in that ideal world?” I knew that it would touch every aspect of the learning process, dramatically improving the skills and lives of students, while changing both teachers and parents for the better. If I could create a

tool like that, I knew it would be fundamentally transformative.

I went into the initial meetings with the developers equipped only with a rough sketch of my vision, based on Expressions’ previous Black Belt program. But beyond my first inklings,

- Jessica Schatz

Novi Location: 248-773-8364 | Troy Location: 248-845-4611 | Plymouth-Canton Location: 248-480-9108 | 1

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