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Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
#3034053 10/10/20 07:39 AM
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Classnika, unlike general purpose video conferencing tools, is designed for remote learning and optimised for music. In particular:
(a) It provides the ability to link multiple views of the teacher's studio and the student's workspace using everyday devices (tablets and/or phones).
(b) It gives the teacher full control of the virtual class environment mimicking an in-person set up.
(c) Classnika's sound quality is optimised for music (unlike general purpose tools that are optimised for voice).
(d) It is designed to help you schedule, manage, and run your online classes all in the same place.
(e) It has an awards and point system to encourage younger children

Please see www.classnika.com for more information and examples of setting up your studio.

Our mission is to make remote learning more efficient and as effective as in-person lessons. If you share a similar view or would like to enhance the teaching experience online, download Classnika from Apple Store or Google Play.

For a limited time we are offering a 15-minute face-to-face training (using Classnika of course!) to teachers. If you are interested do the following

1. Install Classnika from Apple Store or Google Play on a tablet or phone (preferably a tablet).
2. Follow the instructions in the app to sign up with your preferred email as a teacher.
3. Suggest at least three time slots for your Classnika briefing and include the email you used to sign up by sending an email to martin@classnika.com
4. We will confirm the appointment.
5. Your appointment will appear in Classnika. Use Classnika at the scheduled time to join the briefing session.

Questions are most welcome.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
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Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3034093 10/10/20 10:13 AM
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This reads like an advertisement.


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Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3034126 10/10/20 11:48 AM
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This post and the one by someone else on the MIDIator happened to come on the same day. The Classnika appears to be geared for group lessons, and thus takes advantage of the sudden need for remote classroom management. In particular, there is the teacher's ability to mute the entire class. I don't see this as applying to one-on-one lessons. Also, I think that Zoom and similar also allow the administrator to do this. It may be more intuitive for teachers not used to the on-line world. But it is not specific to music. Though it shows examples of how it can be used for music.

I asked on PianoStreet last night. It "can" be used for one student. So can any such app. I've even had a Zoom session with myself and nobody else, in order to check the quality of recording a session, and how that works.

When it comes to a teacher zooming in on a student's hands, I remember that Zoom also had advanced capabilities that the other party can allow. But I'd also think that the student's hardware and setup would need to make that feasible.

Originally Posted by Stubbie
This reads like an advertisement.

They both sort of do, but this one more. Is it good for teachers to know what is out there as alternatives - and at what point is it too much an advert?

One thing I noticed when I googled the other one, is that they seem to have been dabbling in things involving electronics + keyboard for a few years - the earliest I saw was 2009. There were things like making your C sound like a drum, D sound like a bell or whatever. This one here seems more like alternatives to the likes of Zoom, for (mainly) classroom teaching, and not specialized toward music.

Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3034136 10/10/20 12:03 PM
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My advice for these advertisements:

You are seven months too late! Where were you when this stupid "pandemic" started? By now, all the piano teachers I know have figured out a way to use Zoom or other methods and make it work.

The coronavirus is here to stay just like the flu virus, but eventually people will get over it and go back to normal, regardless of what the government and the media want people to think.


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Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
AZNpiano #3034238 10/10/20 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
You are seven months too late! Where were you when this stupid "pandemic" started?

I wasn't home. But when I came back I was stuck with two kids (7 & 5) that had to do remote learning for their school and their Piano and Arts classes were cancelled. Then when teachers experimented with Zoom or Skype, the kids, particularly the younger one, were not engaged and needed constant supervision (and some arm twisting) which was a further drain on our time. So yes, Classnika started after the pandemic and because of it.

We have tested in on a number of kids including ours and refined it in conjunction with a number of enthusiastic and pioneering teachers. The kids became independent to use it quickly and do not require much supervision or assistance now. It is easier for them to operate. You don't have to give them an email account or give yours to them to join a session. It is safe and there is no possibility of a session being Zoomboomed and abused. The controls for kids are minimal so they cannot mess it up and the virtual class environment is completely managed by the teacher. Classnika's point and award system has enforced positive behavior and motivated the kids to want to learn.

Our local piano and art lessons have since reopened but my kids have not gone back. They have made phenomenal progress as we have been able to engage two superb teachers remotely (and have given them a tool that is fit for purpose) and were no longer bound to who was available in our local area.


I am sure you can and have figured out a way to make general purpose conferencing tools to work, there has been no other alternative. I am here to tell you that there is a better specialised alternative which is fit-for-purpose. There may be things such as screen-sharing and whiteboards that are available with Zoom and other general purpose tools that we are yet to include. But, we have focused and started to meet the most important needs of our teachers and students and in consultation with teachers who have patiently worked with us from the beginning. New features are being added constantly and quickly.

We are at the second stage of our roll out. Hence my direct approach to you on this forum. We are providing direct contact and face-to-face briefings and will help you set up and start using Classnika if you want a better way for your online classes. It will be a two-way conversation and we will be listening to your feedback and prioritising features that make your life easier.

Our vision is to make remote learning more efficient and as effective as in-person learning and we will only get there with your help.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
keystring #3034359 10/11/20 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
This post and the one by someone else on the MIDIator happened to come on the same day.
I can assure you that it was a mere coincidence! I have since spoken with the owner of MIDIator and I think they are addressing a very nice niche area where replication of exact sound is required.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3034369 10/11/20 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Classnika
Originally Posted by keystring
This post and the one by someone else on the MIDIator happened to come on the same day.
I can assure you that it was a mere coincidence! I have since spoken with the owner of MIDIator and I think they are addressing a very nice niche area where replication of exact sound is required.


It always seemed a coincidence. It did allow a comparison of ideas, which I did that night. I'm glad you folks put your heads together.

For MIDIator's "niche area", it addresses an essential part of piano lessons. ---- In lessons, a teacher must hear how correctly a student is playing as he teaches. If he demonstrates, then says "Do this.", then a) the student must hear what was demonstrated, b) the teacher must hear what was played. That means you must hear:

- the pitches that are played
- how long a note lasts (Zoom etc. tend to cut off a note, more for some people than others)
- overlap of notes (sloppy pedal, intentional overlap, finger releases of notes)
- dynamics (louder, softer)

You cannot say that a system is good for teaching music unless these four things are addressed. Zoom has a partial fix with "original sound". A same teacher has different results with different students, so equipment, bandwidth, modem, something must be the factor. The "niche area" seems to neatly circumvent the whole problem. As long as the other parts (seeing each other, also hearing voice) is addressed.

Your niche or specialization is probably group teaching, especially of younger students, where a teacher needs more control than they presently have. My grandchild is kindergarten age and a parent must be present for remote kindergarten to mute / unmute etc. There is a particular need in class teaching (of classes, groups), and you have addressed it. Most teachers here teach one-on-one.

You've got a situation where people who don't deal with computers and remote work, have suddenly been thrown into doing just that. There are teachers for whom it's new, and all the parents and older students.

Quote
There may be things such as screen-sharing and whiteboards that are available with Zoom and other general purpose tools that we are yet to include.
Without that, you're reduced to awkwardly holding a sheet of paper to a camera, figuring out "mirror image", or saying, "No, not that book, the other one. TWO lines down, not three. Two LINES, not measures. No, the other book!" or playing charades. (Someone should create a skit. It might be hilarious.)

Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
keystring #3034387 10/11/20 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Your niche or specialization is probably group teaching, especially of younger students, where a teacher needs more control than they presently have. My grandchild is kindergarten age and a parent must be present for remote kindergarten to mute / unmute etc. There is a particular need in class teaching (of classes, groups), and you have addressed it. Most teachers here teach one-on-one.

Most teachers and students that we have worked with have used Classnika for one-on-one lessons. What we have found is that children engagement with the teacher improves when teacher transmits a facial view in addition to the keyboard, particularly for younger kids. Conversely, when the teacher is able to see the child and the child's fingering at the same time, the teacher is better able to detect signs of fatigue, lack of concentration or engagement while correcting the child's technique at the same time. We have found this four-camera set up quite successful for one-on-one lessons, particularly for younger kids.

By putting the teacher in control, and removing (largely) the controls from the student side, we have made it easier for teachers to run their class and have largely relieved parents from having to be involved.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3034394 10/11/20 08:39 AM
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@keystring how often do you use whiteboarding or screen-sharing features in your teaching and which one is more important to you?


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3035321 10/13/20 07:00 PM
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I want to open up the question to the group (and expand) to get an idea of what features are more important (and in what order), please:

(a) Ability to run the service on desktop
(b) Screen-sharing feature
(c) whiteboarding capability
(d) getting connected to potential new students


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3035661 10/14/20 07:39 PM
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It would need to be a desktop application, for me to be interested.
I would find it restricting to conduct a lesson, using only a mobile phone, or tablet.

Also, could you provide more detail on exactly how your app is optimised for music, versus other existing apps?

Also not sure how many students would be prepared to invest in additional cameras, and associated mounting devices.


Rob
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3035853 10/15/20 09:30 AM
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Just to add,

I very rarely use screen sharing, or whiteboard.
Instead, I have a fixed camera, focussing on my actual desktop, where I can place a music sheet, or whatever, and my students can see me point to any part, and watch me write comments, etc in real time. I find that to be a more human and realistic experience for the student.


Rob
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3035876 10/15/20 10:14 AM
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I had another look at the site and the "music" section and was puzzled by the picture. Like why would a child sit too low, and be looking up at the camera like that instead of maybe looking at the piano or the music, and sort of "posed". It's actually a Shutterstock image under "beautiful blond girl with blue eyes in pretties (at the piano)" - "Joy" is a model or actress. So that part isn't representative, but just to give an idea. The picture of the boy with a phone hovering from a gooseneck stand seems to be original to Classnika only. It probably shows a typical scenario as envisioned: camera overhead; tablet for seeing & hearing the teacher.

I understand that the OP is not a piano teacher, but is trying to bring out a program to help teachers.

I work on-line with a teacher and have done so for some years. Yes, you may want to see the teacher's face. But you'd want to see more than just the hands, and the piano has more octaves than that little bit. My teacher wants to see me at least from stool to head, because posture and movement are important. Definitely not the view of "Joy". And somebody please raise little Joy's bench! wink

We do use screen share - a lot. The biggest problem with Zoom is still sound quality, and this seems to fluctuate depending on each student's home, I'm told. Apparently mine is actually the worst. I'm also the only out-of-country student.

Originally Posted by Rob
Just to add,

I very rarely use screen sharing, or whiteboard.
Instead, I have a fixed camera, focussing on my actual desktop, where I can place a music sheet, or whatever, and my students can see me point to any part, and watch me write comments, etc in real time. I find that to be a more human and realistic experience for the student.

Rob, what platform are you using ? Zoom? Something else?

Originally Posted by Rob
Also, could you provide more detail on exactly how your app is optimised for music, versus other existing apps?

My number one question!

Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
R0B #3036096 10/15/20 09:01 PM
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@Rob thanks for sharing your views.
Originally Posted by R0B
Also, could you provide more detail on exactly how your app is optimised for music, versus other existing apps?
Video conferencing prioritises sound over video. When the connection is temporarily poor the app tries to maintain the sound quality even if that is at the expense of video quality. A higher sampling rate is used for sound as well.

Originally Posted by R0B
Also not sure how many students would be prepared to invest in additional cameras, and associated mounting devices.
A single device (camera) works but we recommend that students have two devices. In a lot of households there are more than one phone or tablet that can be used for the duration of the lesson. The app supports older devices with iOS 9.0 or Android 4.1 and up. This means if anyone has an older device it can still be used as the second camera. As for mounting devices, very cheap options are available on eBay or Amazon for around $10. One student even improvised on an upright piano, he stacked a number of heavy books on top of the piano and inserted the mobile in between two books, pointing the tip of the camera to the keyboard. The hack was surprisingly stable.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
R0B #3036098 10/15/20 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by R0B
Just to add,


Instead, I have a fixed camera, focussing on my actual desktop, where I can place a music sheet, or whatever, and my students can see me point to any part, and watch me write comments, etc in real time. I find that to be a more human and realistic experience for the student.

That's how we typically use Classnika with painting or math classes. With Classnika you can easily switch between views from your main device (typically the tablet). You as the teacher select what view you want to see bigger, say in the piano set up the student's hands, and you also select what view the student sees in the bigger part of their screen. So the student could be looking at your hands on the piano or your music sheet or your face. You are in control. Of course, if you want to focus on posture or pedals you can position a camera as a side view. You can set up as many cameras as you need.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
keystring #3036099 10/15/20 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
The picture of the boy with a phone hovering from a gooseneck stand seems to be original to Classnika only. It probably shows a typical scenario as envisioned: camera overhead; tablet for seeing & hearing the teacher.

We will be posting pictures of the typical piano set up on the website, soon.


Classnika, Designed for teaching piano face-to-face online. Optimised for music quality and supporting multiple cameras for an improved learning experience
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3036106 10/15/20 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Classnika
Video conferencing prioritises sound over video. When the connection is temporarily poor the app tries to maintain the sound quality even if that is at the expense of video quality. A higher sampling rate is used for sound as well.
Video conferencing prioritizes spoken sound in a way that is good for speakers. That is how Skype ruined what used to work through an algorithm that cut out ambient noise. In Zoom, you have an "original sound" setting to circumvent this. The usual setting that reduces ambient noise also cuts off sustained notes. Thus the note value of a whole note may sound like an eighth or sixteenth. A teacher also wants to hear pedal technique. Have you done anything in this regard?
Quote
We will be posting pictures of the typical piano set up on the website, soon.
Will you let us know here when you do that, so we can have a look?

Does the app work with laptops or desktop computers?

Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
Classnika #3036137 10/16/20 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Rob, what platform are you using ? Zoom? Something else?

I have used Skype for several years, but currently using Zoom, as well.


Rob
Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
R0B #3036233 10/16/20 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by R0B
Originally Posted by keystring
Rob, what platform are you using ? Zoom? Something else?

I have used Skype for several years, but currently using Zoom, as well.

Thanks. I imagine you switched from Skype to Zoom for the same reason we did. We switched last year. There was a deterioration in Zoom over what it had been once they had multiply more users of a sudden and had to adjust to that massively increased load.

Re: Classnika: Multi-View App for Teaching Piano Online
keystring #3036461 10/16/20 09:38 PM
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Ironically, in a recent Zoom lesson, the audio quality deteriorated so much, that we both quickly switched to Skype, which worked great, that time.

Zoom has recently added a High Fidelity music option in audio settings, but I have yet to try it out in a live setting.


Rob
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