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Johns Creek HS Alumni Create COVID-Defying Music App
Sudarshan Muralidhar and Seth Radman, co-creators of UpBeat Music App
Of the countless innovations that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, a practical tech tool was developed for musicians and educators by two Fulton County Schools’ alumni, Seth Radman and Sudarshan Muralidhar. Friends since Autrey Mill Middle School band class and 2012 graduates of Johns Creek High School, they teamed up to create an app called UpBeat Music App designed to sync pre-recorded and live musical content from numerous sources. Muralidhar’s observance of fellow musicians’ sudden loss of employment and social life during the March 2020 shutdown sparked the idea. Radman and Muralidhar, still avid musicians, hold degrees in technology, and Radman had experience in app development. Following a fruitless search for appropriate software, they began designing.
Upbeat Music App allows large groups of musicians to collaborate from individual locations synching the music with neither internet lag from their connections nor video editing skills or professional equipment required. The duo approached the challenge with Design Thinking - seeking a compassionate solution to a problem through technology – a method currently taught in FCS schools. “Our mission has always been to help foster human connection through music, and we plan to continue doing exactly that,” said Muralidhar.
The app has two functions: Upbeat Live which allows up to 16 users playing in real time and Upbeat Perform which supports 140 users with post-processing effects. Synchronizing the videos takes minutes.
The collaboration has been entirely remote; Muralidhar was in Seattle and now resides in Brooklyn, NY and Radman lives in Atlanta. Music teachers from over 15 FCS middle and high schools were early adopters as they were scrambling for software to keep student musicians engaged. They appreciated being able to hold effective rehearsals safely, and many presented online concerts. Schools in seven metro Atlanta districts eventually caught on. Currently, over 4,000 schools and 200,000 users, including many adult musicians, are utilizing Upbeat. Radman, and Muralidhar did their homework and ensured their product was compliant with privacy protection laws to give parents peace of mind knowing their children’s images were protected.
Though schools and performing ensembles are returning to in-person rehearsals and productions, Radman assures that the app will continue to have practical applications for musicians and educators interested in virtual collaboration, creative assignments and district-wide concerts. “We’re just happy and excited users,” Muralidhar concludes. “It's an incredible privilege to be a part of the musical journeys of so many people.”
Sudarshan and Seth in high school playing for tips during the holiday season