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Accord-On!, Musicianship Made Easy



Ernesto Zurita Ruiz, Mechanical Engineering Student at University of Portland

Anyone who’s ever tried to learn a musical instrument knows it takes time, dedication, and above all, practice. In recent years, technologies have appeared to help aspiring musicians learn new instruments or improve their musical skills. Accord-On!’s mission is to use technology to help new musicians learn to play traditional instruments, such as the accordion.


Hailing from the University of Portland, Acord-On! Is Ernesto Zurita Ruiz, a senior studying mechanical engineering and entrepreneurship and Stelios Papoutsakis, a senior studying electrical engineering and computer science.


Describe your invention?

Accord-On! is a tool to help people learn to play the diatonic accordion through a game-like interactive learning style similar to the popular Guitar Hero games. Through a cloud-based database, users will be able to download tutorials for their favorite accordion song covers or lessons to their mobile device, which is then transmitted to the Accord-On! hardware on the accordion where each button is lit according to a finger color-coded scheme. The hardware component of Accord-On! is a kit of lights and circuitry that can be installed by either the user or a music store onto the accordion button (accessed from the back panel). The LED lights connect to a mobile device via Bluetooth using the Accord-On! app. Fundamental materials are LED lights, a Bluetooth module, a microcontroller, a power supply module, and miscellaneous material.


What is the specific environmental, social, or community problem your team seeks to address?

Music is an important social component in cultures. It binds people together through the musical and artistic expression of emotion. The accordion is an important traditional instrument for cultures across Latin America, Europe, and remote countries like New Zealand. However, traditional instruments across the globe are at risk of disappearing in traditional culture and there is an effort to keep them alive and even revive their interest among younger generations. Accord-On! will become a part of the effort to bring interest in such a traditional instrument among younger generations and revive the musical binding force of people that have a cultural history built on the accordion. Among Latin American cultures, the songs played with the accordion convey messages of common struggle, unity, hope, and political messages. In an age of globalization, the Accord-On! can help reinforce a connection to traditional cultural roots through music.


What is the market for your team’s invention?

Accord-On! will be targeted toward children, teens, and young adults who are representative of the demographic increasingly interested in playing the accordion. Accordion sales have shown a trend toward consumers who are younger and identify as female. As the diatonic accordion has a major market among Latin Americans, Accord-On! will be focusing on Latin American consumers who own a diatonic accordion or are interested in purchasing a diatonic accordion. And with a successful launch with this market, Accord-On! would expand its product line to be an add-on for other accordions such as piano accordions and chromatic button accordions that are popular in European and Asian countries.


If your team wins InventOR, what is your plan for the prize money?

If Accord-On! wins InventOR, the team will use the prize money to help fund initial costs to prepare for production of the product, creating marketing material and costs associated with getting investors interested in joining the Accord-On! Team.


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