Didn’t you hear? Play by Jellynote is the new cool kid on the block
What started out as a desire for connection in a time of isolation has become so much more (read our previous article on how it all started). Now we’re a community of musicians sharing and collaborating, and we’re only going to keep growing. In the few months since our private beta launch: more than 1200 videos have been uploaded to the platform, our Discord community has expanded to 1000 users, and we’ve even developed our own language.
➤ Check out one of our favorite Plays on Jupiter of Holst
Yes, you read that correctly. “Violinet” (a clarinet playing a viola part), “cellophonium” (a euphonium playing a cello part), and “playathonian” (a Play user who makes five or more recordings in a row) are some of the many terms you’ll find in our dictionary. We promise we’re not a cult! Though, with our supportive community, opportunities for self-development and a packed activity calendar (that includes game nights and musical quizzes)… who wouldn’t want to drink the kool-aid?
I had the opportunity to sit down last week with some of Play’s Beta testers to see what they had to say. “I think that Play is awesome!,” says professional violinist and String section leader, Dana Wenzel.
“I love the variety of different music that there is to play, and it’s so much fun to meet musicians from all over the world.”
It’s this sense of community, she tells me, that sets Play apart from other platforms. “The community is so kind and encouraging,” Dana says, “There are all kinds of musicians on here, from professionals to beginners, and all of them are encouraged to participate, make friends, and have fun making music!”
Brass section leader Jordan Crawford echoes this sentiment. He believes the platform’s accessibility is one of its greatest strengths.
“We’ve made a point as section leaders to focus on cultivating an environment where people of all skill levels feel valued and enjoy making music with everyone”
he tells me, citing the platform’s built-in practice mode, which allows users to adjust the tempo of their piece, listen back to any sections they find difficult, and listen to a synthesized playback of their part (and other parts) to see how different sections of the piece fit together.
“And if anyone needs any help,” he continues, “the Discord server is a great resource to connect with other musicians, get feedback and solicit advice.”
“I really like being part of the Play community!”, Varun tells me. For them, one of the main advantages of Play is that it brings people together, regardless of their ability or experience.
For Ryan, this mix of skill levels allows him to watch less experienced musicians improve and gain in confidence.
“I’ve had the joy of watching them grow and become better players”
Dana has high hopes for this community. “I think that Play will be more successful once our community grows even larger. The people are what make Play the platform that it is, and when we have even more members playing, contributing, and making friends, it will become an even more fun and rewarding experience!” she tells me.
It’s a far-reaching community. I have the chance to speak to people from all over the world. And yet, despite both their geographical and cultural distance, they are linked by a passion for music and a desire to collaborate.
There’s Solenne from France, for example. For her, the platform has facilitated not just a musical exchange, but a cultural exchange too.
“We are just coming together for the love of music and the love of playing together”
Juan Pérez agrees. “Creo que esta herramienta puede llegar a ser una forma muy bonita de tocar juntos,” he tells me, from his home in Spain. This roughly translates as:
“I think that this tool may become a very beautiful way of playing together.”
Truly, Play has no barriers. “It doesn’t matter if we don’t share the same language or cultural background,” Jordan adds. “When we make music together, we share a common bond that’s almost impossible to find doing anything else.”
There’s room for improvement. Professional bass player, teacher and self-described “stubborn student”, Leandro Ferreira, thinks the user experience might be improved if it was easier to share videos. “We could partner with social media platforms to share what we’re doing more easily and invite our followers to join our videos,” he suggests.
There’s also the limited availability of scores to contend with (especially if you’re like me and your Spotify is an eclectic mix of musical theatre and Olivia Rodrigo- don’t judge!). It’s something Jordan recognizes, but he remains hopeful.
“In 12 months, I’d love to see Play grow to include a more comprehensive catalogue of music from as many genres as possible so anyone can find something they like,” he tells me.
What strikes me most as I speak to these musicians is their excitement for the future of Play. More users, more music, more connection: this is only the beginning.
➤ Wanna join in the fun? Check out Play by yourself