This AR Drum Kit Makes a Compelling Case for the Future of Music Lessons

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There’s a million things you could do to enhance your life if you had the power to seamlessly augment the world around you with digital and interactive information. And while we’re far from the “seamless” part of that reality, we’re getting early glimpses of how the world could be better with this power.

Take, for example, this project which uses augmented reality to turn a regular electronic drum set into a fully functional rhythm ‘game’ that provides real practice for drum players.

This isn’t a concept—it’s a live demo running on a Quest Pro headset, powered by the VR drumming app Paradiddle. While the app already allows players to play a fully virtual drum set of their dreams, or align virtual drums with their real ones, in the future this AR mode will be added to the app to give drummers a view of their real drums while retaining all the benefits of the digital overlay.

And what benefits are those? Well practicing existing techniques is obvious, but imagine learning entirely new songs in this interactive way, complete with gamified metrics for how well you’re doing and how quickly you’re improving. And how about turning down a song’s speed until you get the fundamentals, and then slowly cranking it up until you’re hitting every note?

While we might think of drum lessons as a fairly niche use-case for AR, it’s easy to imagine how similar systems could apply to almost any instrument. And what do you know—there’s already a similar project for piano players! Somebody give me one for the sax because I’ve been saying I’d pick it up for years!

There’s still a lot of work to be done to make experiences like these easy enough that anyone can use them, but there’s a real possibility that the future of ‘rhythm games’ could actually teach players how to play real instruments at a high level.