The Minnesota Music Education Association held its annual Mid-Winter conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Thursday and Friday (there are some events on Saturday, but it has basically become a two day conference).
I always stress the importance of the vendor area, because it is a place where networking happens (and sometimes, impromptu counseling sessions) and it is where music educators can see what is out there in terms of equipment, technology, travel, and fundraising.
I was very pleased to see that Zivix brought a booth to MMEA this year. I love this for two reasons: first of all, they are selling products that can change how we interact with music and technology; second, they are a Minnesota-based company. Their booth focused on the JamStik, and had a lot of interest from music educators (I heard that about 4,000 attendees were registered). The JamStik was also present at TMEA as part of Romeo Music–but their booth at MMEA represented their first “full” presence at a music education conference (they have been at other conferences, such as NAMM, in the past).
In my session at MMEA, I talked about the JamStik and about Zivix. In general, it is a company made up of guitar players and engineers (and a combination of both) that are getting into the “traditional” music education market (they have always been focused on helping people learn the guitar). Their main device, the JamStik+, is a guitar interface that uses Bluetooth MIDI to transmit data to an iOS Device or Mac (soon Android and eventually Windows), meaning that guitar players can interact with apps like GarageBand, or even utilize “traditional” notation apps like Notion. They include a suite a downloadable apps that make the JamStik wonderful for teaching guitar (on screen diagrams and interactions that can be mirrored), and basically, if an app uses Core MIDI, the JamStik can interact with it.
They also have a wonderful device called a PUC which transmits MIDI data via Bluetooth from an existing MIDI device (keyboard, pad) to an iOS Device or Mac. Both are fantastic devices, and one or both can likely fit into your workflow as a music educator.
At any rate, I enjoyed seeing them at MMEA, and I look forward to their future success in music education.
If you would like to know more about Zivix and their products, check out their website. Education pricing is available.