Numbered Notes: Bringing Music Literacy to the People


Article by Paloma Basilio | 638 words

Jason MacCoy and Justin Eggert, the creators of Numbered Notes open their Kickstarter page with this assertion: “Music is the most commonly spoken language on Earth, yet only five percent of the population can read and write music – It’s time to change that.”

Music has the ability to evoke emotion and the power to lift spirits in all of us, yet making or playing it is an untouchable goal for many because it is a difficult discipline to learn. It takes a lot of time and dedication in order to become a great musician. Recently, there has been a crisis in schools where music class has been completely eliminated because some think that it isn’t important or necessary for children to learn. Learning to read and play music is difficult, but there isn’t a greater feeling than mastering a piece and ultimately performing your accomplishment for an audience. Besides, reading music is like riding a bicycle: it may take a few tries to get going again, but you’ll never forget how to do it.

The Easy-to-Use Numbered Notes System and App

numbered notes credit Kickstarter


Numbered Notes simplifies how we read music by using a numbering system. There are twelve notes per octave, seven notes and five accidentals. Each note that’s usually represented by letters A through G is replaced by a number one through twelve in this system. This number system can be used to read music for any instrument.

Numbered Notes will be available through a mobile application. According to the creators, “The app will include a large variety of public domain and licensed popular songs (new content will be added on a continuing basis). Public domain songs are free to play in their entirety, while a limited version of licensed songs will be available to play for free. Full play of licensed songs and Numbered Notes sheet music will be available as in-app purchases. We are working closely with publishers to keep the licensing costs as low as possible.”

Numbered Notes will also provide a way of sharing music. The creators have developed the “proprietary ‘Song Writer’ (currently in alpha) that allows our song writers to write and convert traditional notation to the Numbered Notes format. Song data is then published to the Numbered Notes app song catalog. We hope to include this in an update to the Numbered Notes app soon after launch so beginners and professionals alike, can write and share their music.”

The Importance of Music Education

MacCoy and Eggert’s number one goal is to have more children learn to read and play music, but this program is designed to make reading music easy for everyone. “Although our application is very entertaining and will include gamification aspects, our primary goal is effective learning and education. We want to reach the 95 percent music illiterate population.”

MacCoy and Eggert have done extensive research on how music improves other aspects of our lives. Two of the facts pointed on the Kickstarter page include: “Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons. Schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2 percent graduation rate and 93.9 percent attendance rate compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9 percent graduation and 84.9 percent attendance.” In my opinion, learning music is just as important to children as it is to learn a sport.

The Kickstarter Project’s Cancellation

MacCoy and Eggert cancelled the funding for this project on December 15, 2014, just a few days after they began collecting money. They have not stated a reason behind this sudden cancellation and have removed any means of contacting them through Kickstarter. We can only hope that they resume their interesting venture sometime soon.

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