Founded in 2017 and funded by the CEOs of LinkedIn and Duolingo, Trala aims to make learning the violin accessible to all, with a special emphasis on adult beginners. The app pairs students with online teachers and provides between-lesson feedback and instructional videos.
“I have always had a keen interest in helping find ways to increase and enhance the opportunities for music education," said Bell, who also is not only a touring soloist but also Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. "I have been involved with organizations that focus on music in the schools and more specifically children from families with socioeconomic challenges."
"What excites me about Trala is that it can not only reach this demographic, but also another demographic that is so important - the adult music lover who always wanted to play the violin," Bell said. "I'm convinced now that the music education industry could be significantly strengthened if we served adults and people of all geographic backgrounds with the same resources we bring to schoolchildren.”
When students download Trala, they answer questions about their age and preferred genre of music (pop and rock, country, classical, hip hop, folk) to be matched with a violin teacher for their age, skill level, and unique goals.
Pricing is low - for example, four lessons a month are $34.99 for the first month and then $139 per month afterwards. There is also an option to take one lesson a month; $9.99 for the first lesson and then $44.99 per month thereafter. Students can switch teachers at any time, with free cancellations and rescheduling.
The app also promises that adult students will not have to learn using children's books or methods. "Learn violin by playing the music you love - whether that’s Britney Spears, Bluegrass, or Bela Bartok," says their website. "Stay motivated with the world’s largest library of violin videos and exercises featuring folks like Katie Jacoby (The Who) and Kiana June Webe"
Through the app, students can receive instant feedback on their pitch and rhythm through proprietary signal processing invented by Trala's co-founders. The app also gives students access to a library of violin videos and exercises, group classes and performances, a tuner and interactive sheet music.
Bell will help shape Trala’s curriculum and also record a series of behind-the-scenes videos while he’s on tour to share his advice and inspiration with Trala students. He also will perform at Trala’s NYC Conference at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music on September 29.
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