In the mid-20th century, the electric guitar caught on in a big way. A quarter century later, it was the synthesizer. After another quarter century, Austin resident Jim Plamondon says thinks he has his thumb on the next big musical invention.

“First of all, my wife and daughter were taking piano lessons and complaining bitterly that it was too complicated, that it made them feel stupid, and they wanted to stop the pain,” Plamondon says. “So after six months, they quit. And if my wife and daughter, who are perfectly reasonable people, could not understand music, it was because music was too hard. It wasn’t their fault; it was music’s fault.”

Plamondon is a former Microsoft executive on a mission. He tells anyone who will listen that with his invention, the Thummer, there is a better way, and he’s already won a convert.

“So if you were going to play, for example, ‘Louie Louie,’ in the key of C on the piano, it’s…” says Austin musician Ian Varley, demonstrating the tune on his keyboard. “Now if I want to change to a different key, like B, it’s different shapes. On the Thummer, it’s the same shape no matter where you start. I can start somewhere else, over here.”

That kind of simplicity, Plamondon argues, will enable the Thummer to revolutionize music education.

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Photo by thummer.com.

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