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The teaching tools of tomorrow?
The University of Leeds (UK) had a stand at the London International Music Show, showcasing a research project called iMaestro, which they describe as an "interactive multimedia environment for technology-enhanced music education and creative, collaborative composition and performance". [Now breathe — Ed]

In simple terms, the iMaestro project looks for ways to develop technologies to "support music performance and theory training", using recently developed IT tools.

Their main focus is on a system called 3D Augmented Mirror (AMIR) that aims to improve the technique of string players, using motion-tracking cameras (which could be as simple as a web cam, according to the researchers) and sensors placed in various places on the instrument and bow. Data from the sensors is captured and displayed in 3D in the iMaestro software application, so a tutor can analyse the way the player bows a string, for example. Students can take part in lessons stored on a special server, and their performance data can be saved and used to track their progress.

The researchers say that there are many applications for this kind of technology. For example, tutors could remotely deliver lessons to multiple pupils simultaneously, gathering data to track the progress of the pupils and using it to focus their practice routines. If it's embraced by schools, it could change the techniques used in music tuition.

The iMaestro project is being developed by a consortium of educational institutions and research centres, including IRCAM in France, London's City University, the University of Florence and the University of Leeds. For further details, visit the iMaestro web site.

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