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A New app For Teaching Online!!
#3033678 10/09/20 07:01 AM
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Hi everyone, i'm happy to introduce you a new app that streams midi from students to teachers. It's called MIDIator.
My name its Itai, and i'm from Israel. I teach many years and recently i tried to teach using Zoom and Whatsapp, but the sound quality was terrible!
I real feel unprofessional when i use it.
So i decide to write an app that can stream the midi from one keyboard to the other.

When using MIDIator- the Students play on their own keyboard and the teachers hear them on their Electric piano's speaker!

You can adjust latency, and even trigger a metronome on your student's device.

Feel free to check it out, it's totally free for limited time (and we'd love to get feedback on your experience).
Here is the link, IOS version will be released next week.

MIDIator App

Last edited by itai.street; 10/09/20 07:02 AM.
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Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3033981 10/10/20 12:11 AM
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I am assuming that both the teacher and the student must have a digital piano.

When one of the parties, plays, and the other party hears it coming out of their piano, are all aspects preserved or just the notes, since it's midi? Do you hear dynamics, touch, articulation, sustain?
Are only certain types of electric pianos compatible with this?

Meanwhile, when I have lessons with my teacher remotely, we have a number of things going on. There's the camera, plus the instrument (I use a cable into a mixer), and the voice of the teacher and student since they have to talk each other. How does this work together with your app? Would they still have to use something like Zoom for the rest of it?

Right now it's free, but later there will be a charge (to the teacher). If someone signs up now while it's free, what happens when there starts to be a fee?

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3033998 10/10/20 01:48 AM
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Excellent questions!

I was thinking about classical music and how none of this technology would actually enhance what piano teachers actually do. I guess it would work for beginners, but when you have to work on harder music, this stuff just won't suffice.

Also, Zoom is a lot better now. The company has really upped its game for music teachers everywhere.


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Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
keystring #3034017 10/10/20 03:04 AM
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Hey, good questions!

1. You do have to own to electric pianos for it to work, since you can't send midi through acoustic pianos.
2. Any midi supported keyboard will do .
3. You hear everything, It sounds 100% the same as the students plays/hears on his own keyboard.
4. The app runs on the background, no problem using zoom simultaneously.
5. The service is free for limited, you don't really sign up now, since all features are available for everyone. Later on you will have to sign up properly (teachers only).

As for AZNpiano comment, I would definitely check zoom improvements, but its audio streaming, there will always be a limit for the quality of sound. Besides that, MIDIator makes sure you here the playing in the proper rhythm 100% of the time (using automated latecny) , in zoom or whatsapp, sometimes you get the sudden stops (when there's a bad connection for an example), that could really freak me out!

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034121 10/10/20 11:34 AM
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Thank you for your answers. One part of my question remains unanswered.

Originally Posted by me
Meanwhile, when I have lessons with my teacher remotely, we have a number of things going on. There's the camera, plus the instrument (I use a cable into a mixer), and the voice of the teacher and student since they have to talk each other. How does this work together with your app? Would they still have to use something like Zoom for the rest of it?

Like, your app will take care of the "hearing the piano being played" part. But what about the "hearing each other speak" and "seeing each other" part? Does this work in conjunction with Zoom or a similar program?

At this time, and still even with "original sound" turned on, a sustained note will come out as staccato. As we explore pedal choices, for example, none of this can be done on-line in real time at present. If your app circumvents this part, that could be a good solution.

Quote
2. Any midi supported keyboard will do .
How does one know whether a piano is "midi supported"?
I have a Kawai CA97 - sound goes through cable into a mixer which also holds my voice from the mike. I think the cable is not midi, but something else?
Do you also have support material to help teachers who may not be up on computer-eze?

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034197 10/10/20 02:58 PM
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Hi KeyString.

From a quick check online i saw KAWAI CA97 has midi connectivity , using the usb connection.

As for your first question, You would still need Zoom or whatsapp for the video and conversation, but you wont need that cable that is connected to the mixer.

As for staccato , You are right, that is horrible.
MIDIator doesn't have that issue since MIDIator doesn't stream the sound itself, but the midi only.
That is why you get 100% accuracy of the notes, rhythm, note lengths, dynamics etc..
It's literally like sitting next to your teacher.

Give it a try, and let me know if you have any more questions!
Itai.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034392 10/11/20 08:36 AM
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Thanks again. I'm thinking that whatever answers you give to my questions might help some others who are as clueless as I am.

I crawled under my piano and this is the view:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kmw0narb9c9xs9p/midi.JPG?dl=0

The red-yellow are of course the cables (are they - cables?) going to the mixer. The mixer is a Xynyx Q802USB. It has a USB port which is fat and round at its, end but the other end going to the computer looks like an ordinary USB. I remember something about conversion of analog to digital or digital to analog. In case that matters.

I'm assuming that the ports to the right, "Midi in" and "Midi out" are the ones used in your application. If so, we'd have to purchase or already own the thingy that plugs into it. Does that mean there are two USB things plugging into two ports in the computer? Or they branch out with a single connector computer-side?

2. Meanwhile, I have the piano plugged into the mixer plugged into the computer. If I ALSO have Midi cables plugged in (into the computer) will there be interference? If so, I guess turning the mixer off would stop that. Except that I have an XLR clip-on mike which plugs into the mixer, and is powered by it. (I've always fancied getting a Yeti wink )

Quote
MIDIator doesn't have that issue since MIDIator doesn't stream the sound itself, but the midi only.
That is why you get 100% accuracy of the notes, rhythm, note lengths, dynamics etc..

I grasped that part immediately.

Quote
Give it a try, and let me know if you have any more questions!

I've told my teacher the existence of this, and I'm doing the research (consulting you) at this point.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034400 10/11/20 08:48 AM
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I'm lost on midi cables right now. The two ports on the piano are for 5-pin cables, and what we buy is the "male" 5-pin. What's at the other end? I see midi-cables that have the same 5 pins at either end - can't be that. There are "converter cables" with a box in the middle - can't be that. Is it a cable that has a USB port at the other end? Do we need two cables (one for the "in" and one for the "out") going into two USB ports on the computer?

I don't suppose there is an "in" cable and an "out" cable - but that the cable just transmits whatever comes across (through it).

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034415 10/11/20 09:24 AM
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I just thought of a new concern:

Will the sound sync with what is seen? When the teacher hears the sound coming out of his own piano, while he watches the student's hands playing the piano, do these things sync up? That is something that both teacher and student watch for, in a learning context.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034500 10/11/20 01:29 PM
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Hey Keystring.

1. You dont need to use the midi in/out port with the 5-pin.
What you need is to plug the usb cable to your phone. Yes, it requries a USB to USB adapter(both female) so you could plug in your charger from one end and your keyboard from the other.

2. About sync- well yes, you could make it sync.
MIDIator has latency feature you can use.
If you see the video is coming too late , than increase the latency till it matches your video (kinda like when you use VLC player and you adjust your subtitles to fit the video).

Did i miss anything?

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034525 10/11/20 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by itai.street
Hey Keystring.

1. You dont need to use the midi in/out port with the 5-pin.
What you need is to plug the usb cable to your phone. Yes, it requires a USB to USB adapter(both female) so you could plug in your charger from one end and your keyboard from the other.
I'm afraid that I'm mixed up on a couple of things.

First, no phone is involved. I have a piano, a laptop, a camera, and if it counts, the mixer. I also don't know what you mean by "charger" (is that the mixer?)
Quote
What you need is to plug the usb cable to your phone.
So the "phone" is my laptop?

What USB cable do you mean? Do you mean the one coming from my mixer? At the mixer end it looks like this (square ended)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b2lkbr6xlgqc8ta/USB1.JPG?dl=0

The other end has the usual flat USB shape

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i773m9y8itu9sr0/USB2.JPG?dl=0

It is already plugged into the laptop.

(There is no phone)

---------------
If I understand you correctly:
My left-right cable (yellow-red) is going to the mixer. A USB cable goes from the mixer to the laptop. And this USB cable which is already attached is already set up for this? Or not?

Meanwhile, my teacher does not have a mixer. Do people without a mixer use the 5-pin cable or something else?
Does your site have instructions for people who don't know their way around?

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
keystring #3034685 10/12/20 03:12 AM
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Hey keystring,
It is a lot simpler than you think.
I'll explain:

1. You don't need any mixer/laptop/yellow cables/red cables when using MIDIator.
2. MIDIator is an app for your phone, so the only thing that is required is to connect your piano to your phone.
3. The way to that is using either a square usb cable that on his other side fits your mobile (same socket for charging).
Another option is to buy a 3 dollar adapter like this one
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.computercablestore.com%2Fusb-adapter-usb-a-female-to-female&psig=AOvVaw0RPnzSTo2Wq44DeFhl6XJo&ust=1602576485870000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCLDtq-PMruwCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAH.

Than you plug in the squre usb from the piano to the adapter and your charging cable from the adapter to your phone.

Everything else is not necessary.
BTY, the 5 pin doesn't fit mixers, since it is a midi port, not an audio one. And another note, the usb and the 5 pin port are the same, the difference is that the usb is newer and it holds both midi input and output in its cable.

Hope that helps.
Itai.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034699 10/12/20 05:09 AM
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I don't use a phone. I use a laptop. So MIDIator can only be used on a phone? If so, I can't use it. I have a laptop. and two screens.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034708 10/12/20 05:52 AM
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I suggest you have instructions, diagrams and pictures available to people, if you plan to sell this to people who are not digital nerds. There is almost zero information. You don't even say that it connects to a phone instead of a laptop - nor what hardware connects.

(How many people would want to do lessons on something as tiny as a phone? Especially the teacher?)

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034754 10/12/20 09:34 AM
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I doubled down on learning how to Zoom with the extended spring break. I took hours wathcing videos, got help from this forum and links, and Zoomed with myself in various rooms and with other friends to test and re-test.

Once I had my set up with laptops and an old phone for an over the keys view, I took a few moments with my students at their first Zoom lesson to explain the settings. And, that was just for camera angle and position.

Just reading all this, "red cable, uderside, mic, cord, etc" made my eyes swim.

As Keystring suggested, very clear pictorial directions are crucial.

And, lessons over a phone screen is not good. At least ipad size. Laptop works.

Anyway, I teach from acoustic, and most of my students have acoustic, so I'm out.

good luck!


Learning as I teach.
Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
missbelle #3034783 10/12/20 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by missbelle
At least ipad size. Laptop works.

In fact, I have a second monitor plugged into my laptop, same size as the laptop monitor, and it sits on the piano. This lets me have two things open. Also when I'm playing, I can glance over at his "face" in front of me to watch for signals to stop.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034788 10/12/20 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by itai.street
square usb from the piano
Let's start here. We never established which port on the piano. I showed you a picture. The 5-pin is not it. Got that. There's square. Here, I've circled it:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n9xbrh3rr1y10n3/midi-port.jpg?dl=0

The white thing is square, plastic-looking, and says "USB to host".
IS THAT THE PIANO PORT?

Now, will the software also work piano-to-laptop? Is it restricted to phone?

I suppose one could have both laptop and phone open, but then you've got two devices to deal with. I know for a fact my teacher wouldn't go for that. I'm not sure that I would either.

Once we know whether it goes to laptop, we can also look for the type of cable (if it does).

If it does work with the laptop, then the male end going into the laptop would not be the tiny one that goes into the phone, but the wider one. DOES IT WORK WITH A LAPTOP?

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034869 10/12/20 03:14 PM
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Hey keystring.

First of all, i'll work on an explanation video/document so thanks for these comments.

About the other questions -

1. In the coming weeks there will be a version for PC's, laptops and macs but for the time being the first release is only for mobile phones.

2. If you have your lesson with your laptop then yes, you will need both laptop and phone (you don't really need to use the phone during the class, only keep it connected to the keyboard so the midi will be streamed)

3. USB to host is the right port exactly.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034873 10/12/20 03:19 PM
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Thank you. Can you announce the PC laptop release?

I'd also suggest that if this is for teachers and teaching, that you rush that part, because very few teachers (if any) will want to work using the phone, or two devices - and most will prefer their students use a a laptop. Teaching is also about seeing technique.

Re: A New app For Teaching Online!!
itai.street #3034883 10/12/20 03:31 PM
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Will do keystring.
Thank you for your comments.

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