Music Technology

JamBlaster lets anyone anywhere join together with the band

Playing music with someone is not only a fun and creative activity, but it also brings people closer together. Unfortunately, unless the people playing are actually in the same room, it’s almost impossible to jam out together.

The JamBlaster is one solution to this problem. Using an input device that connects instrument to computer, musicians are able to play their music to a Web site called JamKazam. This allows Mac or PC users to video chat with other musicians and play their music in real time. This way, everyone can hear what the other is playing and it’s super fast so there’s no lag.

JamBlaster’s campaign has some great examples of how well this product works, showing musicians in four different locations making music together. The whole concept of the ease of “plug and play”, as the campaign refers to it, is especially appealing to those who don’t feel like mucking around with software in order to get great sound. Interested backers can have their own for $199 by August 2015. JamBlaster is looking for $100,000 in funding.


Cue Page Turner gives Bluetooth page flippers some sheet cred

The Premise. Musicians around the world have experienced frustration at having to stop playing their instrument in order to turn a pages of their sheet music. At best, it can result in momentary panic in terms of catching up to the continuation of a composition. At worst, there’s an avalanche of paper that must be frantically gathered. Tablets can clean up the mess, but they involve their own compromises — limited battery life, distracting screen glow, and generally a smaller size than the area of a standard music sheet.

The Product. Cue Page Turner is a mechanical page turner that turns the physical pages of sheet music while musicians are playing. The turning mechanism is controlled by a wireless foot pedal. Cue Page Turner also has a vacuum bottom that allows it to rest stably on a music stand or piano.

The Pitch. The Indiegogo campaign for the Cue Page Turner features a short video explaining the device as well as the reward tiers of the campaign. The rest tells how the idea for the product was born and how, after years on the back burner, it can finally be manufactured thanks to 3D printers. What the campaign lacks is a photo of Cue Page Turner itself. Rather, because it hasn’t actually been manufactured yet, the campaign only features digital mock-ups of what the page turner is supposed to look like.

The Perks. Supporters of Cue Page Turner giving $50 or more will receive the Cue Page Turner Lite which can hold 12 pages. Contributors giving $100 or more will receive the Original Cue Page Turner that holds 24. Higher backers in the $500 range will receive gold- or silver-plated Cue Page Tuners, which look more snazzy and tell the world, “I have a silver-plated Cue Page Turner.”

The Potential. There’s nary a performing musician who wouldn’t find the Cue Page Turner intriguing. Orchestras especially will continue to use sheet music for performances for the foreseeable future. So, while there are other products on the market that turn pages digitally, none are able to do so with physical paper. PageFlip and AirTurn, for example, both use wireless foot pedals to turn pages on a Mac, PC or iPad, but cannot be used with physical paper. At such an early stage, it’s difficult to justify shelling out in anticipation of the product because there are just too many questions, but demand could heat up with the next movement for this musicians’ aid.