Below is our recent interview with Shaun Masavage, CEO at Edge Tech Labs:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Edge Tech Labs?
A: Edge Tech Labs is a full stack engineering company. We realized that modern products require more than just a specific technological expertise (e.g. software, web design, etc.), so we created a company of engineers that could combine their cumulative efforts into a product that merged different technological expertise into IoT products that are able to take advantage of all modern tools. We’re leveraging these capabilities to attempt and modernize music education.
Q: Why do you want to change the music education industry?
A: The internet was a fantastic evolution for music education, but it has limitations. Videos are not interactive. Even a live Skype session is challenging because an instructor is not in the room with you. By linking videos to physical devices (e.g. the LEDs of Fret Zealot on guitars, ukuleles, or bass guitars), it’s akin to bringing the instructor back in the room with you. Instructors are able to better demonstrate concepts and students are able to concentrate on learning rather than wondering if their fingers are in the correct positions, etc. Prior to Fret Zealot, upwards of 90% of new guitar students gave up within the first few weeks. Our usage numbers are showing that Fret Zealot customers are more than three times more likely to continue playing than players trying to learn through traditional means.
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Q: You’ve recently launched Fret Zealot Courses, a marketplace that allows instructors to offer video lesson programs; could you tell us something more?
A: Aside from the instructional quality of these courses being personally vetted and approved by our team to ensure it’s all very high quality, we’re excited to be mutually collaborating with instructors. Rather than try and create our own courses (most of our company is not at a professional instruction level), we help great instructors sell and promote their own inspiring videos. This also gives customers many more options rather than feeling limited by a particular style or feel to a course/instructor. Add in the option to subscribe for a low monthly cost and get access to all videos, there really isn’t a kind of guitar course marketplace like this on the market.
Q: What is the primary innovation of your marketplace?
A: The live video sync of instructor finger positions and color coded LEDs is a fundamental innovation. Finger positions are great, but the Fret Zealot data is created manually by our team, so we can augment it even further and create specialized displays that emphasize particular instructional concepts. For example, if a student is being taught how to use barre chords, we light up LEDs at all locations the single finger is meant to go in one color and other fingers in other locations. If a scale pattern is being shown, we light up all the applicable fret locations at once and color code them if applicable / desired by the instructor. These highly visual techniques take away major barriers to entry for guitar and decrease frustration. It also allows students to pick up where they left of much easier of they do take weeks or months away from playing.
Q: Can you give us insights into your features?
A: The core feature of the Fret Zealot ecosystem is the state-of-the-art LED strip that is applied to the guitar neck. It’s thinner than the fret height and doesn’t interfere with playing, so it goes largely unnoticed until it’s of course displaying LEDs. Everything is controlled from the mobile apps, which means everything can be updated as we make improvements and release features. In addition to Courses and video lessons, the app currently has 10,000 chords available to display along with every scale in every key, 70,000 songs, a tuner with over 55 tunings available, a metronome, and light shows for fun.
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Q: What can we expect from Edge Tech Labs in the future?
A: We’re heavily focusing on refining our current features at the moment, but in the future we are looking to release new versions of Fret Zealot for different instruments and sizes. We’re also looking to add a tremendous number of new courses and video lessons. Most of our new features are by popular customer requests, so we’re looking forward to focusing on those for a while.