MUBIK participates in unique AGEMUS-project to use music as medicine

Mubik Entertainment Ltd. has been accepted as a partner for a Finnish Academy Key project AGEMUS. Project is lead by Dr. Teppo Särkämö from the Helsinki University Cognitive Brain Research Unit.

The target of the project is to seek new tools for stroke patients using music as a medicine during recovery.  

On a long run the Helsinki University scientific team, together with other participants, would like to provide a set of practical tools to advance the utilization of music in supporting cognitive, emotional, and social well-being both in normal ageing and among those suffering from neurological diseases.

The rapid ageing of the population and the increasing prevalence of age-related neurological diseases, especially stroke and dementia, is a massive challenge to the health care system and society. In order to meet the cognitive, emotional, and social rehabilitation needs of the elderly, there is an urgent need for cost-efficient and widely applicable interventions that go beyond the formal rehabilitation regime. 

In his previous research Dr. Särkämö provided pioneering evidence that listening to music on a daily basis can enhance cognitive, emotional, and neural recovery after a sub-acute stroke and that regular singing can support memory and reduce depression in dementia, especially in the early stages of the illness. In AGEMUS, he will put these valuable clinical findings to practice by utilizing them in the development of stroke care practices and broadening the societal impact of music in the ageing population.

Specifically, Mubik has a major role in a subproject where a gamified approach will be used as a cognitive intervention in sub-acute phase of recovery. Mubik has developed a special music collection, the so called AGEMUS Library. This consists of songs from 1930s to 1970s, which will be validated for their emotional impact, familiarity, and autobiographical relevance. The library can be utilized both in research and in stroke and dementia care units.

The AGEMUS project started early 2017 and will last till 2018. The Mubik related sub-project will be performed in active collaboration with the Turku University Hospital Division of Clinical Neuroscience.


Espoo 15.6.2017


Further information:

CEO Ilkka Räsänen, Mubik Entertainment Ltd., Tel. +358 50 5968201,

Dr. Teppo Särkämö, University of Helsinki, Tel. +358 50 53 99 065,

Uusi teknologia musiikinopetuksessa

Kolmasluokkalaisten Mubik-orkesteri

Harvalla kolmasluokkalaisella on mahdollisuus soittaa isossa orkesterissa. Espoolaisen Soukan ala-asteen 3B-luokan oppilaat pääsivät tätä kokeilemaan. Luokan 22 oppilasta esiintyi kevätjuhlassa soittiminaan iPad-laitteet ja innovatiivinen Mubik-musiikkipelisovellus.

Tavanomaisin keinoin 20 henkisen orkesterin muodostaminen yhden luokan tai edes yhden koulun oppilaista on haasteellista. Rajoitteena on myös saatavilla olevien instrumenttien vähyys. Tässä kohtaa tietotekniikka tulee avuksi. Kun tietotekniikka valjastetaan innovatiisella sovelluksella, voidaan orkesterin harjoitukset aloittaa välittömästi. Opetuksessa nykyään käytettävät tietotekniset laitteet ovat lapsia innostavia ja entuudestaan heille tuttuja. Mubik-sovellus avautui lapsille heti.

“Musiikin opetus uudistuu samaan tahtiin kun teknologia kehittyy. On hienoa nähdä, että Soukan koulu on tälläkin alueella innovoimassa ja kehittämässä uusia opetusmuotoja. Jokainen oppilas saa soittoelämyksen hauskalla ja mielenkiintoisella tavalla,” Mubik-ohjelmiston kehittäjä ja itsekin taitava muusikko Ilkka Räsänen toteaa.

Luokanopettaja Helena Antola lausui esityksen jälkeen:

”Näen Mubikin kekseliäänä ja uusia oppimis-ja ilmaisumahdollisuuksia luovana  musiikkisovelluksena. Mubik tarjoaa erilaisen lähestymistavan soittamiseen, sillä teknistä akustisen soittimen hallintaa ei tarvita.  Luokkatyöskentelyssä jokainen luokan oppilas saa yhtäläiset mahdollisuudet kokea ja päästä osalliseksi ainutlaatuisesta musiikillisesta elämyksestä.

Saimme Mubikin avulla luokassa kokeilla, minkälaista on soittaa orkesterissa eri stemmoja ja eri soitinäänillä. Soittimia ja stemmoja oli helppo vaihtaa harjoittelun edetessä. Koko musiikillinen prosessi oman sävellyksen tuottamisesta aina valmiin kappaleen esittämiseen asti on Mubikin avulla mahdollista. Nerokasta ja motivoivaa!

Tässä taltiointi kevätjuhlaesityksestä:

Ravi Shankar Manual

Ilkka after returning from India in 1994

Ilkka after returning from India in 1994

Right before Christmas 2012 we heard a sad piece of news. The great Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar had died at the high age of 92. This brings a memory to my mind. I once had a chance to travel around a bit in India. That was in 1994. Well, I ended up purchasing a sitar. Some days after the deal I began contemplating on how to play it – were there any similarities to the guitar or not. I was in the Goa region and started looking for a book store. After a while I went inside one and asked for a “Sitar manual”. The clerk was somewhat surprised, and judging by her expression it was not an everyday request. She asked me to wait for a moment, lit incense for our convenience and disappeared behind a back door.

After a while she came back – not alone but with a guru holding a sitar. I was amazed! He looked very much like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the famous guru of The Beatles during their Indian days. He rolled a carpet for me and asked me to sit down. Then he took his sitar and set down to a half-lotusposition [1]. Then he started playing. Neither one of us said anything. I noticed that he played with only one string, leaving the 17 other strings unattended [2]. After a while I broke the silence – just to establish conversation – asking whether this was some sort of song or if he just playing around or tuning up – improvising.

He was silent for a moment before answering. Then he told me that he had just played a morning raga [3]  – their classical music – which I later recognized as being something that corresponds to our “Finlandia hymn” here in Finland. I was later ashamed at my ignorance as a westerner of their rich musical heritage. Then, he passed the sitar over to me. This was the first time I really held the instrument. He gave a Mizrab, a finger pick for the sitar, to put onto my finger. Then he corrected my posture into a proper position. Now I was ready to pick the first note!

I had the intention of amazing him from the very beginning. Secretly, back in Finland, I had learnt how to play “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles on a single string. I picked the first note, second and started playing. I felt reassured for a while until something happened. I noticed that the fret that I needed wasn’t there. I began bending the note to the proper pitch. I got confused and quickly gave up as I noticed that Indian intervals didn’t quite correspond to ours.

This was my first lesson on the rich heritage of the musical world. There is a lot of music out there beyond our diatonic music which can nicely be played with piano and put in western score notation. Finally, I purchased the book by Ravi Shankar – “My Music, My Life” as a complete manual on how to play the sitar. From the book I also found a new approach. Two thirds of the book was simply a kind of spiritual introduction to the proper mental state for starting the long path to becoming a sitarist – 20 years, 8 hours every day and so on. Not my cup of tea I decided, the hasty western youngster  I was then 😉

The sitarist told me that he played only on the first string of the sitar as he hadn’t reached the proper level of “knowledge” yet. He also told me that Ravi Shankar – my hero, (“sankari” in Finnish) – had reached the highest level to be able to play with the whole repertoire of strings on the sitar.

Cover of Ravi Shankar Sitar Manual

Cover of Ravi Shankar Sitar Manual

Understandable pages for a Western reader

Understandable pages for a Western reader

Typical exercise page

Typical exercise page

[1] Standard sitar playing position, not always so easy for western players
[2] Sitar usually has 18 to 20 strings, where 7 of them are “playing strings” as the rest are resonating strings, or “Sympathetic strings”
[3] Raga – the melodic basis of Indian classical music on which the musicians improvise. Each raga has definite melodic qualities that distinguish it from all other ragas. It is assumed that ragas create an emotional impact on the listener

Visiting Jimi Hendrix Grave

I am a big fan of Jimi Hendrix & his music!

Well, it’s been a while since my last blog.

I had the chance to have a relaxing vacation in Florida & the Bahamas, and it brought this memory to my mind. The reason for this recollection is that the great, late Jimi Hendrix would have celebrated his 70th birthday on November 27th.

In the late 90’s I visited the Seattle area quite frequently. I knew that Jimi came from same district so on one occasion I decided to find out where he was buried. Those were early days for the web, so not all information was there. Instead,  I had to do some work to find his cemetery.

Finally, I located his graveyard in Renton, a little town adjacent to Seattle to the East. It was Greenwood Memorial Park, but clear route guides didn’t exist in the mid-90’s. Also, there were no map-based GPS navigator systems for drivers’ convenience.

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon when I headed there with my friend driving and myself as a human navigator. Finally, we were able to locate Sunset Boulevard in Renton. It seemed like we were heading in right direction. A couple of turns still left…

Well, we finally found a graveyard in Renton and drove our car into the middle of the cemetery. No other persons were there though. Or at least we thought so. A van parked near us and stood still for a while. I lowered my car window and decided to speak to the person in the van. I yelled “Good evening, where’s Jimi?” The person in the van was immediately electrified and responded “Oh, man, you must mean Mr. Hendrix”. I said “Yeah, that’s correct!” The person told us that we were at the wrong cemetery, but volunteered to take us to the right one. It took us some 5-10 minutes to finally get to the right cemetery, Greenwood Memorial.

Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton.

The graveyard differed very much from European cemeteries, especially Finnish ones. For starters, it seemed that there were no grave stones until we walked deeper into the cemetery. Quickly we learned that all the memory plaques were embedded in the lawn and without proper guidance we wouldn’t have had any chance to locate Mr. Hendrix’s final resting place. Luckily, we had the van-driving friend to take us further along the lawns of the memorial park.

Jimi’s modest grave stone before the marble dome memorial place was built.

Finally, he stopped to show the modest memorial plaque in the lawn, partially covered by dirt. I wiped off the dirt and was able to read the writing:

“Forever in our hearts, James M. ‘Jimi’ Hendrix, 1942-1970.” A carved Fender Stratocaster in the stone and that was it! No big statues or anything fancy! I felt a kind of disappointment throughout my body. What on earth, the greatest electric guitarist ever lived and no-one paid more attention to his last quarter!

I left my flowers there and spent a short silent moment to feel the spirit of Hendrix come over me! ;-).

Later, having talked to the van guy we learned that he was actually a drummer who had played with Jimi before Mitch Mitchell!

The fellow also told me that the less known Microsoft philanthropist, Paul Allen, had had discussions with the Hendrix estate to build a proper Jimi Hendrix Memorial to that very same location. It came into reality about six years later, as Jimi’s body was exhumed and reburied under a marble dome memorial in another section of Greenwood Memorial Park. However, I can still feel the modest, but strong spirit of the original place where no other people than us were!

Later, I’ve had a chance to take some other of my friends to this very special place!

Jimi Hendrix grave today – Picture credit: Wikipedia –


Slush 2012 – Unforgettable experience!

Mubik team at Slush 2012 event

Slush 2012 startup event at Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki was an amazing experience. Actually I cannot describe it in words.

I met hundreds of people who were interested in new innovations and startups. And many of them were also interested in music. I enjoyed every moment, every discussions with them. Thanks to you all!

Me and my team at the stand achieved the one of the most important goals we had: We had fun! It was quite inspiring to see how people had smile in their faces when they played Mubik and recognized familiar songs. Of course, the genuine interest towards our application warmed my heart as well.

Here are some pictures from Mubik stand at Slush! Enjoy!


Press Release – Launch at Slush 2012: Mubik music game makes all of us musicians

Mubik’s founder Ilkka Räsänen & Mubik Musical Puzzle on the iPad

Our press release related to our launch at the Slush 2012 event on 21.-22.11.2012, in Helsinki.

In case you need a PDF version, here you are:

Press Release – Mubik @ Slush 2012

Lehdistötiedote – Mubik @ Slush 2012

The text versions are here below, you can find the Finnish version of the press release right after the English one.

Mubik music game makes all of us musicians

– Innovative Finnish music game is not only fun, it also helps in health care and education

Would not be great if anyone could play the piano without understanding of notes or the piano keys? Now it is possible – new innovative game Mubik Musical Puzzle™ enables anyone to play their favorite Christmas songs without any note reading skills.

The developer of this music technology innovation, founder & CEO of Mubik Entertainment, Ilkka Räsänen (51), got the original idea eight years ago. After long ideation phase the game will now before the Christmas be finally released for the public. It will be first available for iPhone and iPad.

– “The basic idea of the game is simple: you slide your finger on the colored tiles on your smartphone screen. Each tile corresponds one note and by following the tile path the song will be revealed to you step by step. When a player realize what is the song in question, it is a moment of satisfaction and delight – to be able to play the melody from start to finish correctly”, Räsänen explains.

The leading idea of Mubik Music Puzzle is the fact that the enchantment of music not only consists of a sequence of notes of varying heights, but that is about the tempo, the breaks and the timing between the notes that makes the song identifiable. When a player recognizes the song, she instinctively begins to glide on the tiles exactly to the rhythm of the original song.

– “The wonderful thing about this game is that it can be applied, for example to different kinds of therapy and educational purposes. Think about, for example that a dementia nurse could activate senior citizens in various ways with the help of the game. A neurologist can use Mubik with patients who need to improve their finger trajectories and the connections of those to the brains. Third interesting area of application is children and education where the possibilites are huge”, Räsänen says.

Mubik has already applied for a patent for its technology in the United States. There is lots of interest towards the game, for example it has already attracted researchers (cognitive sciences), and education professionals.

Here’s comments from the research and education professionals:

“Mubik is a fun and interesting music game that provides an easy and innovative way to experience and produce music and, at the same time, train cognitive functions. In my view, Mubik is a promising tool for individuals with special needs and for neurological rehabilitation. In the future, it can potentially be applied for example in the rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injury or memory impairment.”

Researcher, Psychologist, PhD Teppo Särkämö, University of Helsinki

“Mubik is an inspirational and exhilarating game of musical expression. The pupils can self-produce music tracks as they wish. The game especially activates pupils with some difficulties in producing music.

In the class room Mubik enables good social interaction between pupils, as they solve musical puzzles in the groups. With the help of the fact that Mubik is easy-to-use, it supports learning by enabling experimenting and finding the solution via exclusion.

Mubik already covers many different music genres, from children’s songs to the classical music, and thus provides suitable usage opportunities for learners of all ages. “

Helena Antola, teacher
Heli Malila, teacher

The Mubik launch

The next major step, launching Mubik for the public, will be taken in Slush 2012 event in Helsinki, in Cable Factory on 21-22. November, 2012. The Slush event is designed to find new and innovative startup companies of the Northern Europe and Russia.


Background information about the developer:

Mr. Ilkka Räsänen is a long-time IT veteran and also a talented amateur guitarist. He has been working both in the large multinational IT corporations and with the health care technology as well. Now he focuses on his music startup and wishes to make a difference, and do something good in the areas of health care and education.

He is passionate about the music and blogs about it – check his blog at

You can also follow Mubik’s Facebook page


Mubikin lehdistötiedote – Slush 2012 -tilaisuus:

Mubik -musiikkipeli saa soittotaidottomatkin onnistumaan ja innostumaan!

Suomalainen Mubik Entertainment julkaisee Slush 2012 -tapahtumassa täysin uudentyyppisen musiikkipelin Mubik Musical Puzzle™. Peli toimii iPhone- ja iPad-sovelluksena.

– Pelin ideana on, että pelaaja liu’uttaa sormeaan näytöllä näkyvien värillisten tiilien päällä. Jokaisen tiilen alle on kätketty yksi sävel ja tiilipolkua seuraamalla paljastuu kokonainen kappale. Pelaajan mielihyvä syntyy siitä, kun hän oivaltaa, mikä kappale on kyseessä ja hän voi soittaa melodian alusta loppuun oikein, kuvailee pelin keksijä Ilkka Räsänen.

Mubikin kantavana ajatuksena on se, ettei musiikin viehätysvoima synny vain peräkkäisistä nuoteista eli erikorkuisista äänistä, vaan siitä että nuotteja sitoo toisiinsa keskinäiset aika-arvot, jännitteet, tauot ja tempo. Kun pelaaja tunnistaa kappaleen, hän alkaa vaistomaisesti soittaa tiiliä eli liu’uttaa sormeaan kappaleen alkuperäisen rytmin mukaisesti.

– Peliä voidaan toivottavasti soveltaa tulevaisuudessa esimerkiksi terapia- ja opetustarkoituksessa. Voidaan ajatella, että esimerkiksi dementiahoitaja aktivoisi ikäihmisiä pelin avulla. Neurologi voisi puolestaan käyttää Mubikia potilaidensa kanssa vaikkapa sormien liikeratojen ja aivojen välisen yhteyden kehittämiseen. Ja lasten parissahan mahdollisuudet ovat rajattomat, maalailee yli 25 vuotta it-alalla työskennellyt Räsänen.

Peli luonnollisesti tarjoaa myös kanavan musiikin tekijöille ja julkaisijoille oman materiaalinsa lisämyynnille. Mubikille on haettu jo patenttia Yhdysvalloista.

“Mubik on hauska ja mielenkiintoinen musiikkipeli, joka tarjoaa innovatiivisen ja helpon tavan kokea ja ilmaista musiikkia sekä samalla harjoittaa kognitiivisia toimintoja. Mubik on lupaava työkalu myös erityisryhmien ja neurologisen kuntoutuksen kannalta, ja tulevaisuudessa sitä voidaan mahdollisesti hyödyntää mm. aivovammapotilaiden ja muistisairaiden kuntoutuksessa.”

Tutkija, psykologian tohtori Teppo Särkämö, Helsingin yliopisto

” Hieno idea – musiikkivisa, jossa soittaja esittää musiikin itse ja sen jälkeen joutuu arvaamaan, mitä soitti. Kiehtova ja kauniin näköinen toteutus. Tämä tuottaa vielä iloa ja oppia hyvin monelle!”

Tulevaisuuden tutkija, DI Risto Linturi, Aalto-yliopisto

“Mubik on innostava musiikillisen ilmaisun peli, jossa oppilas saa itse tuottaa kappaleita haluamallaan tavalla. Peli aktivoi erityisesti oppilaita, joille soittaminen yleensä tuottaa vaikeuksia.”

Luokanopettajat Helena Antola ja Heli Malila, Espoo


Tutustu Mubikiin: sekä

Yhteyden saat myös soittamalla: p. 050 5968 201 / Ilkka Räsänen

Music is a Powerful Tool

Mubik’s CEO & Founder Ilkka Räsänen performing ZZ Top 🙂

As a guitarist I have seen so many times when a person who does not play any instrument starts to find the tunes when singing together in a group. In other words, the magical moment of sharing something with help of music.

I recall reading  an article about our musical memory. I’ll find it very interesting, for example many of us remembers the familiar melodies from commercials as Silja Line or chocolate ads in TV, but only few of us know that those are Antonio Carlos Jobim’s and Mozart’s works. Mubik effectively opens these memory synapses. To recognize the musical pattern and identify the song – it is a pleasure for most of us.

Music brings people together

People who would not otherwise connect in a business encounter might share an interest towards certain music or band. And then they suddenly can start a relationship around that and it opens entirely new kinds of opportunities for cooperation where different people and complementing skills can be combined. I have personally witnessed this a few times. Amazes me again and again. And the fact is that the future of work requires new ways of finding the way for fruitful collaboration.

Another area, totally different, is music in health care. Just recently a Finnish researcher and psychologist told me that within cognitive sciences there’s a lot of research on this topic: how music can be used for training of the cognitive functions and also neurological rehabilitation. I will later on tell you more about this study.

All in all, music is a powerful tool – and can be used for so many good things! Combining fun & real-life benefits!


Me and Joe Satriani’s Plectrum

Joe Satriani’s plectrum

Back at 1996 I attended a big technology conference at New Orleans, Louisiana. We were a small delegation of Finns visiting there and after seven days of hard work it was time to head back home. At the airport I bought some guitar magazines to help me over the boredom of long journey back to Europe.

Well, luckily enough, the TWA plane from New Orleans to New York was almost empty so we were able to spread around and sit comfortably. I was talking to my friends sitting close by as an elderly lady interrupted me by asking where we were from as our language sounded quite funny. I told we were from Finland.

After a while as she passed me again, she noticed that I had some guitar magazines next to me. She told me his son is also playing guitar. I mumbled something like “guitar playing is a good hobby” or something like that. I was a bit surprised as she asked me to pass her the magazine on the top of my pile. She took it, stared the cover page for couple of seconds and then dropped a sentence I still recall clearly:

“This is my son!”

She was pointing at Joe Satriani‘s picture with her finger! “Oh my god! One of my great heroes, can this be true!”, I mumbled. Well, it was my turn to blush as I realized I had just spoke about guitar hobbyists in my previous sentence! I fell into my most humble presence saying something like “great honor to meet you, ma’am!”

Soon we started a lengthy conversation during which I told her being a big fan of Joe’s, and that I just recently struggled with my guitar on Joe’s “Surfing with the Alien” album fingering exercise. I admitted her that I never get to that level of speed & accuracy. As we started to land to JFK I asked her to bring my regards to Joe and kindly pass the wish for him to visit Finland one day as there are a lot of his fans there.

As we separated in the NYC airport the lady gave me a Joe’s plectrum from her valet as a reminder of the nice talk we had on the airplane. I’ve kept that particular Joe signed pick ever since as my Mojo!

Then, on 2004, Joe came to Finland with G3 tour and I had a chance to briefly see him in a store. He was surprised when I showed him the pick which was given to me – not himself throwing picks for fans at a gig – but her beloved mum!

I do remember that moment with warmth!



Steve Vai Guitar

During summer 2000 I spent some time in Atlanta, Georgia, for a big partner event. Atlanta is a great city and I had an opportunity to visit shops during my spare time. And well well, as an eager guitarist, I found myself at Guitar Center at the outskirts of downtown.

They told me that I just missed Steve Vai who visited there the previous day.

Steve Vai have been one of my great heroes after I started to play guitar again after about 15 years break. His pure talent, speed and creativity had made a big impression on me when I started to regain my skills.

Well, I was planning on buying a guitar during this particular U.S. visit and I had a particular guitar in mind that seemed to have a “calling” to me during my NYC visit a week ago. That was Ken Parker’s new age guitar “Fly” that had a fascinating new design.

So, once the clerk told me that Vai himself had tried one particular Classic Mahogany model of Parker Fly – guitar at their store I had made my decision – got to have it!

Well, after some years on G3 tour Steve visited Helsinki and together with his partner Joe Satriani had an autograph session at late-great Free Record Shop Helsinki. I took my Steve Vai Passion & Warfare notebook and rushed to record shop to meet the guy himself! After a 45 minutes of waiting I had a chance to change some words with him as I passed on the notebook to him for signing. He shook my hand as I told the story of myself buying the guitar he had touched in Atlanta! A connection established 😉

I have had an honor to listen him live many times. Last week he was again in Helsinki. Here’s a short video from the gig. Must admire!


Steve Vai picture credit: Wikipedia / RodrigoDC


How Music Can Affect Us

Beautiful landscape as well as music can affect our minds.

One of the background factors behind my startup is the fact that I do believe in positive effect of music – on many things. One of my favorite areas is how it affects elder people, especially elder people with memory issues.

Let me share a story about my fathers last trip home.

Back in the days of the original innovation of Mubik I paid a visit to the Kuopio region to bring my father home. Something extraordinary happened during this visit that I want to share with you.

My father had got a serious illness called LBD – Lewy Body Dementia, from which he suffered the last 10 years of his life. The illness had taken away his ability to express himself verbally, but he could smile vaguely once in a while to indicate positive feedback.

I had spent quite a bit of energy to engage his mentality. I had tried to bring audio books, video cassettes, CD-records etc. but none of them seemed to have a positive impact on him. When he was younger he loved going to the sauna and therefore I had a habit to go to sauna with him once per week when I visited his nursing home at in eastern Helsinki.

Now, in the summer of 2004 I decided to take him back to his childhood environment where some of his siblings still lived. Even though the visit went well in many ways, no major breakthrough occurred. This all changed as we went to visit my uncle at Siilinjärvi near Kuopio. After a coffee break my uncle suddenly started to sing an old melody that wasn’t familiar to me. Then something happened, my father started to sing the same melody together with him and I could see the blink in his eye and a happy smile on his face. I witnessed a miracle of the magical effect of music!

This is one of the meaningful moments behind my startup, I will share more with you later on!