In the lead up to the launch of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app, we’d like to tell you a story about the journey that got us here.

Over the next few days we’re releasing ten blogs by project manager Barbara Palczynski, charting the ten months it’s taken to turn ideas into reality.

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Understanding Progress  April 2015

““We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”” C. S. Lewis

The app is at Alpha stage and we are testing it remotely with volunteers and getting feedback through our carefully designed Google Docs questionnaire. We also have another fun evening of testing at Kings Place with more volunteers. A lot of the feedback is positive but some of the volunteers don’’t like it. They want to know how to win the game –and they are frustrated because it’s quite hard! So we have devised a way for you to spend time in what we will call ‘practice mode’, which should help you improve your skills and get higher scores. In contrast, some of our young volunteers seem to find it too easy. And therein lies a problem. One of the biggest challenges for this project has been to get the difficulty levels within the game right. What one person finds easy is hard for another. Slower is not necessarily simpler. Eventually we will need to make a decision on this algorithm, but for now, it’s back to the drawing board again.


In the meantime, as well as building the game we are creating a fantastic learning resource for users to find out more about Steve Reich and his music. We are very excited because over the last few months we have created some beautiful in-app videos to explain Clapping Music and another of his works, Electric Counterpoint. GCSE music teachers share this excitement because it is on the music syllabus. Through articles in teaching magazines and a mass dissemination of information to all schools, we hope our young audience all over the world will find this digital doorway a fun way to explore the composer and his music.

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