MICRO Grant Recipient Algorhythmic Labs Offers New Way To Teach Kids Music

When the pandemic made it impossible for Adam Canosa to be the hands-on school music teacher he has been for a decade-plus, he taught himself coding to develop an online music instruction platform. Hillsborough-based edtech Algorhythmic Labs is the result.

An experienced public school music teacher and self-taught coder has built Hillsborough-based Algorhythmic Labs to use AI to allow students to learn music on a computer in a gamified way. 

Adam Canosa, the Founder and CEO of Algorhythmic Labs, said that the SaaS edtech personalizes music instruction. He has already been in contact with teachers around the country who are interested in piloting the site. 

Canosa said Algorhythmic Labs could potentially lead to better outcomes for students in the classroom.

“We are trying to equip kids with the feedback and the tools that they can guide their own learning,” he said. 

Rather than provide instruction on how to play a specific instrument, the startup has developed a standalone product that enables students to play music on their computer. His own students use Chromebooks, creating music in an interactive and gamified way using the touchpad and keyboard.

“The way the tool works is that it doesn’t need an instrument,” he said. “The tool itself is a pitched instrument.”

The site does not use a microphone, which allows students to play simultaneously in a classroom by listening on headphones or earbuds without disturbing each other.

After Covid disrupted the normal classroom setting, it made kids unable to play instruments and sing in music class. Canosa was determined to find a solution and spent his free time coding the early prototype of Algorthymic Labs. Canosa is entirely self-taught as a developer.

“I kind of saw Covid as the sabbatical I was never going to get from teaching,” Canosa said, “and so I spent time with my kids and I just took as many online coding courses as possible.”

He said that thank to the site he developed, his students started performing songs even more challenging than they were playing before Covid hit. After seeing this initial success, he returned to UNC-Chapel Hill—where he had been an undergrad music major—as a part-time graduate student in the Masters of Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship program. Canosa will finish his masters degree next summer.

MICRO grant recipient

Canosa received a $10,000 MICRO grant from NC IDEA in April. He is planning on using the money for marketing and graphic design. He is trying to obtain more traditional seed funding and build a team, preparing to launch more officially in 2024 or 2025.

Canosa is trying to get this educational tool into other classrooms. He said he wants to keep supporting teachers that are using the tool.

He is thinking of using a freemium business model for Algorhythmic Labs so that teachers do not have to pay substantial amounts of money. He said there will probably be paid subscription tiers above that, with some options including teachers uploading their own songs to the website. 

Canosa especially wants his tech to be suitable for young children to use, which affects how he develops the product.

“I really want elementary teachers and parents to feel comfortable with this,” he said, “so at the moment I’m not planning out any sort of communication between users, or using pop music.”

Canosa added he does not want to include ads on his website because as a parent he worries about inappropriate popups. His two children are the biggest motivators for Algorhythmic Labs.

“I’m definitely trying to build out something that I would want for my own kid,” he said. 

Although children are the main audience, anyone can use the tool. He said he will start targeting schools in North Carolina but that it could be used in any space that has access to the technology, which is viable because of the influx of kids using devices during the pandemic. 

Music learning is “a very supportive and collaborative environment that you don’t necessarily get in a math classroom,” which is why it is so important, Canosa said. 

He is also looking for a co-founder with business and finance knowledge who is passionate about music education.

About Lauren Zola 33 Articles
Lauren is a reporter and summer intern at GrepBeat. She is currently enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and will start her junior year in the fall. She has written for The Daily Tar Heel and loves to play tennis.