Amplify’s digital music education platform strikes chord with educators
Natalie Kradolfer, managing director of music education startup Amplify, says it’s a thrill to see schools embracing her company’s digital education platform.
Amplify, the platform, teaches primary school kids the curriculum through pre-made music programs. Schools deliver ready-to-go lessons without needing extra music expertise or specialist teachers.
Natalie has just put the finishing touches on a new mini-module for Amplify. Featuring East Arnhem Land act King Stingray, the module marks NAIDOC week. She says 241 teachers have already signed up for access. Many more teachers are already subscribers to the full Amplify platform.
But transforming Amplify from an inspiring idea to reality was a long road, Natalie adds.
“It was a process of distilling a lot of the ideas that we had into a [product] that was actually possible,” she says.
Natalie and husband Ricky Kradolfer, Amplify’s co-founding duo, knew what they needed Amplify to be. In short, a music education product to help rock Australian primary music education out of a state of doldrums, due to staff and expertise shortages.
To make it happen, they needed to develop an extremely user-friendly product for teachers. They needed Amplify to deliver the right curriculum outcomes. And the kids had to be really excited to be a part of the learning experience.
“We knew that tech was the solution,” Natalie says. “Kids aren’t being taught music in their classrooms because there are not enough teachers, let alone music teachers.”
A digital solution for music in schools
The idea of the Amplify platform really started to gather steam once Amplify received some funding. This emboldened Natalie and Ricky to consider a digital partner to help them develop their product and ultimately get it into market.
Amplify enlisted Airteam, and the partnership kicked off with a few early guiding principles: At all costs, never be boring; help teachers facilitate student learning; enable teachers to learn about music, along with the kids.
Natalie says teacher feedback indicates Amplify is rising to the challenges it was intended to overcome.
“The most common thing we hear is how easy it is to use,” says Natalie. “It looks and feels like things they might be familiar with, which was a big part of our UX design. Teachers who haven’t used it before are navigating it and [finding it] super easy.”
Turning inspiration into a real product
Nick Simpson, Airteam’s head of UX, collaborated closely with Amplify throughout the Research and Discovery and Human-Centred Design phases of the project.
He says Amplify was extremely passionate about bringing its idea to life.
“They needed somebody to help them flesh it out, turn it into reality, and actually implement it,” Nick says. “That’s where we came in.”
Airteam, a passionate team of problem-solving experts in software engineering and UX design, co-plans, co-designs, and co-builds software products with its clients.
Its collaborative approach underpins its results.
Amplify visited Airteam’s office for collaborative sessions during the project. According to Natalie, the brainstorming sessions during the Human-Centred Design phase were fun and fruitful.
“Nick is an absolute legend,” says Natalie. “He’s also the fastest designer I think I’ve ever worked with.”
A modern digital education platform for modern music learners
Amplify, the platform, is built to look quite familiar to anybody who has ever navigated streaming platforms such as Spotify and Netflix.
The contemporary interface immerses users in a modern music education universe. The home page features bold buttons and images that support seamless interactivity.
Natalie and Ricky spent about 200 hours in studios and other settings, filming educational content for the platform. The lesson content includes appearances of modern-day artists such as Amy Shark and Guy Sebastian.
Teachers access the portal to curate playlists to teach their students. They guide students through a fun chain of lessons, content, and activities. They download assessment rubrics and lessons to ensure they are hitting key learning outcomes in education guidelines.
A market-ready education platform surpassing expectation
76 schools have already subscribed to Amplify, and many more teachers have overall.
Ben Mullaley, delivery manager at Airteam, concentrated heavily on the project during the Agile Development and Lean UX phase.
He says Amplify has a fantastic platform almost straight out of the box.
It’s market-ready, and scalable.
“Originally, they were just focusing on New South Wales and that curriculum,” says Ben, “and then halfway through the build they realised they can go interstate with this. And now they’re at the point where they want to build on that even further and go international.”
Natalie says collaborating with Airteam helped her see the product’s potential in a new light.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that anything is possible,” she says.
She is also excited to see that teachers aren’t just subscribing to Amplify. They are making use of it.
All the teachers have logged in. They’re all progressing through the sequences, and that’s ultimately the true sign of success.