Paul Wood, Applause Music Director.

Paul Wood, Applause Music Direcor

In 2015, East Ayrshire County Music Services -  of which I had been head for ten years - received the Major Award of the UK National Music Council for the third year in succession - something which had never been achieved before.

It had been apparent to me for some time, that for my own personal development to continue, I needed a change from schools’ music and I had already decided that from August 2015, I would devote myself to full time composition and arrangements for strings - but fate intervened. 

While on holiday in Norway, an inspired non-musician, devised the system of interactive music display which has made Applause possible.  

His peace had been shattered by a young violinist who spent an hour every morning, practising scales in a nearby tent, and although most notes were played perfectly, one particular note was painfully out of tune every time it was attempted.  He concluded, that if the same sort of visual feedback provided by a violin tuner app, could be embedded in each note in a scale displayed on an iPad, violinists would get the pitch right every time (and he could go back to reading peacefully in the sun)

Realising that the needs of a young violinist in a tent were no different from those of every young violinist practising in a bedroom, the idea for Applause was carefully refined, then a successful concept-proving prototype was created, however, although Applause was technically successful, it was at a dead end, as it lacked content and credibility.

I was approached and after the Applause prototype had been demonstrated to me, was asked if I would be interested in curating a collection of material that would appeal - literally - to every learner violinist in the world.  I said I would

Then, I was asked if when Applause Violin was complete, I would like to do something similar for the trombone, the cello, the French horn….

On August 1st 2015 I took up the post of Music Director at Applause and I know I have the best job in the world.  The technological side of Applause is very exciting and seductive, but the only real measure of our success will be in the extra progress made by our student users.  

Applause should still be considered as work in progress but I believe every violin teacher who explores Applause Violin, will find some exercises from which their younger students will benefit. However, if you can’t, or if you have any comments or observations you wish to make,  please use the Applause Forum to air your views so that others can read them, and then they too may be inspired to share their own thoughts.