Mid-August, and it’s nearly finished! I can play through the exercises as soon as I have entered their data. It’s truly thrilling. I have already tested the first of the five modules which comprise the course, and tomorrow I will be able to test the second.
The experience of using the Music Reading Trainer is delightfully addictive. The sense of success when you get through the tunes with increasing ease is compelling. Like a good book it’s hard to put down.
One great result of presenting the MRT at Leicester DeMontfort University’s Innovation Centre in May was the very generous offer of pro bono supervision from expert coder David Chan. We have been meeting most Friday afternoons ever since and it has been a revelation to me.
His patient mentorship has encouraged me to revise my approach to the basic design of the coding. For example, instead of ‘hard-coding’ – leaving variables scattered around the active do-stuff part of the programme – they now appear once in the passive data files. It’s so much easier to make changes.
Another light-bulb moment happened when I realised I didn’t have to record/edit/test hundreds of chords for the accompaniments. I recorded thirty single guitar notes and wrote a programme which compiles them into any chord I need simply by writing it into data. It simply collects the individual notes of each chord and plays them together. Magic.
Each week I leave our session with a new task set by David and spend the ensuing week agonising until it’s done. My original prototype, which I used to think trundled along quite nicely, is becoming streamlined. It’s like it’s on a diet. Every improvement means it sheds some or other now-redundant snippet of code. What was pages and pages of rambling hard-coded print-out is now a few elegant paragraphs.
It’s been like climbing a mountain ridge. You get to the top of one peak and find another higher one blocking your descent into the valley. But maybe that’s not too far away now. My target date to launch the Music Reading Trainer For Guitar App in the Apple App Store and Google Play is on my birthday at the beginning of November. I reckon we’re on target. My heart-felt gratitude to David for helping me over the finishing line. It will have been worth the pain!