For musicians interested in learning classical music, taking music theory classes can be a good choice—but for those who want to learn genres like R&B, folk, rock, and pop, there’s a disconnect, says Alex Andrews.
Andrews is a developer and founder of Ten Kettles, a small indie dev company behind Waay, a mobile app meant to help DIY musicians with music theory. Before creating Waay, Andrews, from a young age, was passionate about music. He’s spent years
working on developing his skills and touring with local Toronto bands.
"After teaching music and playing in bands in and around the city for years, I wanted to combine this passion for applied music theory with my background as an engineer, and that's how
Waay was born!” says Andrews.
Waay works by offering short video lessons emphasizing practical music theory and practice with interactive music lessons. While there are currently three achievement levels like Melodies and Chords, Ten Kettles
is working on adding more lessons. At
$4.99 for the iPhone and iPad app, it can also be a better alternative to expensive private lessons. In the meantime, users can work with the current lessons and easily track their progress using the app.
“There are so many fantastic ways to use music theory when you write music, ways that help you be more creative, get more songs written, and have more fun,” says Andrews. “For many people, they'd never seen music theory used as a creative tool before. It was great to see what they could do with it.”
Andrews says that music theory that requires musicians in non-classical fields to learn how to analyze Bach and Beethoven can make musicians feel they aren’t getting the most out of the education. And as someone who has taught private music lessons tailored to each student, Andrews hopes that his app will similarly help students learn theory at their own pace and in whatever genre they choose. He hopes the app will attract people who aren’t necessarilly interested in an overly-structured approach to learning music.
“Why are you learning music theory to write a music exam, when you could be learning music theory to, you know, write music?” Andrews says. “That's the approach I took when teaching private lessons and writing music with bands in Toronto, and it was such a fantastic way to make music theory genuinely useful and get people excited.”