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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

How not to get stuck in a jam

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Local musician and piano tuner Reuben Barkley has just launched a book, phone and tablet app (application) called JamSpeak – a sign language for musicians that enables communication while playing.

Reuben says the aim is to cut the time wasted in jamming and rehearsals by band members who have to constantly stop to arrange music.

He claims it is also a tool that can be easily utilised by large ensembles and school groups.

‘With JamSpeak you should be able to halve your practice time and rehearsals will become more fluid with less frustration,’ says Reuben.

‘The feedback has been really good. People make comments on iTunes from all over the world and everyone is really happy with it. There have been a lot of five star reviews.’

Reuben says he first got the idea for the JamSpeak sign language about seven years ago and though the basis for the signs were developed fairly quickly, he has spent the last six years refining it.

Reuben says he worked for about six weeks with a development company to create the free app for the iPhone/iPad market.

When the app was ready there was the process of getting it past Apple.

‘Once the app is finished, you have to submit it to Apple who review it and let you know if there are any changes that have to be made,’ says Reuben.

‘What I had in mind when I made the app free was to just get the idea out there.’

Last week figures showed that the app had been downloaded over 6,000 times.

The first edition of JamSpeak is basically for use among band members but Reuben says a second edition will be released at a later stage which will see a wider and more uniform language that can pass between performers and sound check, live performance, studio and lighting technicians.

For more information visit www.jamspeak.com.

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