Learn to play exotic musical instruments online
TuCuatro is an online learning portal dedicated to the instruction on how to play the Venezuelan Cuatro. An initiative started by founder/ renowned cuatrista Adrian Toro in 2011 as the first transferrable Learning Management System on how to play the Venezuelan Cuatro has expanded considerably & enhanced in collaboration with e-learning & service management expert Adriaan Van Nieuwkerk. During the relaunch from the beta portal in August 2012, exponential growth has been witnessed resulting in over 10,000 registered members year to year as of August 2013 who are currently learning and engaging in activities relating to the Venezuelan Cuatro.
Foundation of TuCuatro: Changes in Musical Instrument Learning Dynamics
The interest in the Cuatro is evident within the online environment and many flock to the internet as a tremendous resource on learning how to play. Although the resource is vast, there has been no initiative to create an organized method on how to play the musical instrument. Furthermore, there was no portal where there can be a specific interaction between the Cuatro enthusiast community. The Cuatro is a rather clandestine instrument, musical notes are not typically used by those who are learning and teaching methods from professional instructors are done through demonstrating techniques, training the ear and repetition of interpretations.
The Venezuelan Cuatro remains the most popular instrument in Venezuela attracting not only the youth of the country but also those who rediscover their passion for Venezuelan culture. A four-string instrument that is easy to learn how to play and highly complicated to master can be made use of as an accompaniment instrument or that of a soloist. The evolution of learning to play musical instruments has had its impact on the Venezuelan Cuatro as many thrive within YouTube & other social media channels sharing their progress and in some instances even providing mini-tutorials on how to execute certain techniques. This has come a long way since the times of learning different songs by the guy “chamo” sitting on the corner and from the painfully laborious task of learning a song by listening to a cassette and trying to find the notes by ear rewinding the songs time and time again.
TuCuatro LMS: The Solution
The dynamics of skill set learning such as that for musical instruments have been impacted considerably with the internet. Currently, our portal is focused on the Venezuelan Cuatro, but there are many other instruments that share similar characteristics. By design, the TuCuatro portal is transferable and applicable to other musical instruments which have similar profiles to that of the Venezuelan Cuatro. There is a wide range of clandestine instruments for which there are limited resources on learning how to play them. The TuCuatro LMS (Learning Management System) can therefore provide an e-learning solution for these instruments to be achievable on an extensive scale.
For Students & Instructors Alike
TuCuatro LMS is not only for students, but also caters to teachers. E-learning is a hot topic and many instructors are marketing themselves through tools such as YouTube, but do not have specific areas where they are able to give their experience and teachings a directed approach. The TuCuatro LMS will provide instructors with the ability to teach online and be remunerated for their contributions accordingly. The instructors who are dedicated to the teachings of instruments are scarce and by offering their teachings online we will be able to contribute to maintaining their integrity and ensure that they share their knowledge on an even greater scale. There is a vast list of clandestine instruments and we intend to offer an e-learning solution to any prospective student worldwide.
The cultural element to what TuCuatro LMS offers is of great importance. It is because of a portal such as TuCuatro LMS that instruments such as the Venezuelan Cuatro can continue to expand and capture the minds and hearts of generations to come and maintain cultural integrity. We intend to apply the same to all instruments which can adopt the LMS and participate. The benefits of TuCuatro LMS range from providing musicians worldwide with a means to continue to learn any instrument, maintain cultural integrity & provide employment opportunities for skilled musicians. Whether it is the congas, the timple canario or the digeridoo, TuCuatro LMS can provide the means to learn how to play and contribute to the exposure of the instrument.
TuCuatro consists of categorized lessons, a social media platform & learning curriculum. The value added by TuCuatro for all students is the ability for students to share their progress with instructors or the community allowing them to receive tips and feedback on how they play. Receiving feedback from experienced instructors is one aspect that was not being facilitated through portals such as YouTube where simply anyone can leave a comment. Students within the portal seek guidance and support from other students who are currently engaging in the learning of the instrument resulting in a community providing motivational support.
Internationalization of Instruments
The currently established portal is more dedicated to Cuatro students in Venezuela. Many technical aspects needed to be considered for performance reasons as the Venezuelan infrastructure does not always permit extensive technology features. We are currently engaged in creating a separate portal completely orientated towards international students. From the portal students will be able to build an understanding of the instrument, learn how to play with a carefully structured curriculum, instructional lessons in English with translatable transcripts, source the instruments, engage in live Master Classes, and participate in events relating to the instrument. The intention is to build this foundation and achieve as many participants as possible for both those who are new to musical instruments and musicians looking for complementary instruments to indulge themselves with.
For success stories relating to instruments sharing similar characteristics as the Venezuelan Cuatro, we can refer to the Ukulele which has reached the far corners of the globe. The Venezuelan Cuatro is an instrument with similar potential and there are many more which can share this in common. To make such a success story into reality for TuCuatro LMS the intention is to enhance the current platform and create an umbrella portal for all clandestine musical instruments and perform high-level marketing campaigns through geo-targeting techniques. Language barriers can be overcome with accurate high-quality translation components.