EarBeater and the Story Behind it

By - July 4th 2014

Posted on: July 4th, 2014 by Morten Vestergaard No Comments
Morten Vestergaard & René Engholm Larsen

When I started studying at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus back in 2003, I had no idea that ear training would become valuable to me. I remember the first ear training classes and how hard I found them to be. Yet no matter how hard they were, following my passion in music was well worth the challenge.

I had not been doing much ear training before starting my studies in music school. I had only been practicing the basic intervals, scales and chords: the modes, the triads and four-note chords.

In school, I really dived into it and practiced extensively, and I gradually became better at it. It ended up being my favourite subject and it was clearly the one that benefitted my musicality the most.

After 4 years in music school, I decided to drop out and pursue another big passion of mine – web design and communication – so I enrolled in the Multimedia Design and Communication programme at Business Academy in Aarhus.

The Birth of EarBeater

During my studies, I began looking for a good online ear training tool, but I couldn’t find anything that would be well designed and easy to use, so I decided to build my own. I soon found out that my coding skills were insufficient and that I would need a lot of help to complete the project. So I contacted my friend René, a skilled programmer, and I asked for his help. He agreed, and that was essentially the birth of EarBeater.

We started designing what would become our first online ear training app. In the beginning, we had no idea what we were doing. Several different approaches were used during the project and we learned a lot from our mistakes as we went along. Eventually we finished it and placed it online so that other passionate musicians could use it.

Building the iOS Version

Soon after the release, people started asking about an iOS version of EarBeater – something we had not considered at the time. After discussing the option, we realized that it would potentially be a great learning experience for us while creating a product that iOS users wanted. But first we had to find out how to build it. We had no experience making apps for tablets and mobile devices, so we had to start from scratch. Multiple factors had to be considered while making the app. What would make a good user experience? Which technology should we use? etc…

We started making wireframes for the iPad app, and the design was tested on friends and family members while making changes until we got it right. We researched what technologies would be the best fit for us and came to the conclusion that a cross platform development tool would be great. That way, the code could be reused on other platforms such as Android (yes, an Android version is coming).

Throughout the journey, we tried many different approaches and we practically had to start over three times before we found the right solution. The best solution for us proved to be the Starling and Feathers framework for Adobe AIR.

The iPad version was finally released in November 2013 and we have since gotten a lot of positive feedback. We continue to work on the app and are currently finishing the iPhone version, which will be released in August 2014.

EarBeater is currently available for iPad as a free lite version and a paid pro version.

The Team

Morten and René are childhood friends and have known each other since preschool. They have been doing geeky projects together since the age of the C64 and the Amiga computers. Today, they both have full-time jobs and work on EarBeater in their spare time.

René

René is the hardcore coder of the team. He has been programming since he was 10 years old, and he is an expert when it comes to Computer Vision. He is in charge of coding the EarBeater app, and he also handles the finances.

Morten

Morten is the musician of the team. He has been playing the bass for many years and he is working with website development and communication on a daily basis.

He is in charge of the overall design of the EarBeater app, the online marketing as well as building and updating the website.