App changes tune for violin players

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Have you or someone you know quit learning a musical instrument because lessons got too boring?

A team of U of I students bet you would’ve stuck with it if you had their app.

Humble beginnings became a long-lasting hobby for Sam Walder.

“I started by making a violin out of a rubber band and cardboard, because I was jealous of my brother,” said Walder, “and now I still play, which is pretty rare, because most people quit.”

Don’t let Sam Walder’s knack for the violin fool you. He’s got the smarts for computer engineering.

One day, his talents with the two got him thinking.

“I love the intersection between the humanities and the sciences, ” said Walder. “Engineering and the arts, together. This is an extraordinary thing where very few people look at possibilities.”

“Sam said hey this is an idea that I’ve had for a while, but I haven’t really acted on it,” said Vishnu Indukuri, who later jumped on board with the project.

After a year and a half of tinkering, their possibility became reality.

Meet Trala.

It’s a teaching tool for music instructors to use with their students.

It shows you when you’re hitting the chords just right…and if you’re not, how to fix it.

It also has the power to change your tune.

 “This nine-year-old was saying I’m gonna quit, I’m gonna quit,” said Walder. “Then she starts using the app, and her eyes light up. She’s engaged with it. She’s playing with it. The teacher has to tell her to stop playing her instrument which has never been something she’s had to tell her student to do.”

“Whenever I see Sam just playing as fast as he can, Trala is just keeping up with him with no problem. It’s like alright we built something. We built something great,” said Indukuri.

Trala can be downloaded from the app store.

It has a two week free trial.

After that, the subscription costs $12 per month.

Several thousand violin players have already used it, and the creators are working right now to design the app for other instruments.


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